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December 1998

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College Will Require New Applicants
to Pass Criminal Record Check

New applicants to the College will be required to provide a police report of a criminal record check before they are licensed to teach in Ontario effective January 1, 1999.

The new policy applies to about 7,000 applicants annually – teacher graduates from Ontario faculties of education and out-of-province graduates and teachers applying for College membership. Current College members are not affected by the new requirement.

The College Council agreed to the principle of a criminal record screening policy at its February 1998 meeting to ensure greater public protection. Council struck a special committee to develop a policy that complies with the Ontario Human Rights Code and is based on the requirements of organizations in Ontario, in Canada and abroad. The committee also developed guidelines to assist the Registrar in determining whether or not a past conviction should bar an applicant from teaching in Ontario’s publicly-funded schools.

The final policy adopted by Council on September 24 also included a requirement – recommended by the committee – that new applicants make a declaration about any past offences that might affect their suitability for teaching, as well as resignations to avoid discipline in other jurisdictions.

"The College’s mandate is to establish and enforce professional and ethical standards, and protect the public interest," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "The College ensures that teachers are, and remain, highly skilled to practise their profession and that they are worthy of the trust placed in them by students, parents and their professional colleagues."

The policy will be evaluated one year after its implementation.


While current members are exempt from the requirement, the Ontario College of Teachers Act requires school boards to report to the College any criminal conviction of a member that indicates students might be at risk.

Applicants for registration in 1999 will be required to seek a criminal record check from their local police service and include the original of the police report with their application. The cost of the criminal record check varies between $15 and $53 in Ontario and is paid for by the applicant. Depending on the agency used, a record check generally includes searching the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), local and regional police databases and, occasionally, overseas information through the RCMP. Pardons do not appear on criminal record check reports.

Being convicted of a criminal offence does not necessarily mean that a person will not be allowed to teach. The Ontario College of Teachers Act gives the final decision on registration applications to the College Registrar.

"Each case will be reviewed on its own merits," said Registrar Margaret Wilson. "The College will consider factors like the nature of the offence, the time elapsed since the conviction, rehabilitation efforts and behaviour since the offence was committed. Applicants will be informed of the reasons why they have been refused membership and have the opportunity to appeal through the Registration Appeals Committee of the College."


A key issue for Council was to make sure that the policy complied with the Ontario Human Rights Code. In Section 6, which deals with membership in professional organizations, the Code is very specific, but does not include a record of offences as possible ground for discrimination.

It says, "Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to membership in any trade union, trade, or occupational association or self-governing profession without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place or origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap."

Criminal record screenings have become common practice in Ontario and abroad. Most of Ontario’s 35 self-regulated professions – including doctors, nurses, architects and accountants – require a declaration of criminal record upon registration, and some seek updated information on an annual basis. A number of school boards in Ontario already request criminal record screening reports, as do 37 U.S. states and school authorities in England, Scotland and Australia.

Health professionals in Ontario are not only required to make a declaration of criminal record, but professionals in health disciplines are also required by regulation to report any criminal offence they have been convicted of. In addition, health professionals must report another member if they are aware of that member sexually abusing a client.

The British Columbia College of Teachers has systematically required criminal record checks of all of its members since 1995 under the province’s Criminal Record Review Act, which lists 56 relevant offences that can bar someone from holding a specific position, particularly in situations where children are involved. The list includes offences like uttering threats, abduction of a person under 16, criminal harassment, sexual exploitation, indecent acts and vagrancy.

The B.C. College has invested $250,000 in the program since its planning stages. So far, it has come up with about 10 positive searches out of a membership of about 50,000, and none of the positive findings has warranted the removal of a teacher from the classroom.


Canada’s courts have ruled on many occasions that because of their important position in society, teachers are expected to follow high ethical standards inside and outside the classroom.

The June issue of Professionally Speaking reported a ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1996 that stated, "It is on the basis of the position of trust and influence that we hold the teacher to high standards both on and off duty, and it is an erosion of these standards that may lead to a loss in the community of confidence in the public school system."

The Council vote in favour of the new policy was unanimous, with both teacher and public members supporting the committee’s recommendations. College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy said, "The profession is responding with a concrete and reasonable measure to a call from the public for increased vigilance."

British Columbia College Checks Records of All Members

The British Columbia College of Teachers requires a criminal record check of all of its members to comply with the province’s Criminal Records Review Act, which requires all professional groups in the province to undergo record checks. The B.C. government passed the legislation in 1995 as one of a series of measures to protect children.

The act lists 56 offences relevant to the consideration of a candidate’s suitability as a teacher. The list includes offences ranging from aggravated sexual assault and uttering threats to vagrancy and trespassing at night.

Information from the College is transferred electronically to the province’s Criminal Records Review Agency for review. As of May ’97, only 10 of some 50,000 members of the College were found to have a criminal record. Upon review, no member was found to pose a threat to children.

From the early planning stages in 1995 to May 1997, the screening process has cost the B.C. College about $250,000. The College pays for the cost of the screening.

College Will Grant Recognition to Retired Teachers

The Ontario College of Teachers Council has voted to recognize the contributions to students and society of retired members of the profession. At its September meeting, Council decided that members of the College who inform the College in writing of their decision to retire and withdraw from teaching will be recognized with a Certificate of Recognition suitable for framing.

"Individuals’ dedication to education in this province should not go unnoticed," said College Registrar Margaret Wilson. "We have developed this initiative after consulting with the Retired Teachers of Ontario so that members who retire will be recognized by their professional body for their valued contributions to our schools and our communities over the years."

Should a member decide later to return to the ranks of teaching, they will be required to reinstate their membership, whether they’re teaching full-time, part-time or occasionally.

Retired teachers who wish to stay abreast of teaching developments in Ontario can also receive a subscription to the College quarterly Professionally Speaking for $10 annually or $20 for subscriptions outside Canada.

Thames Valley Superintendent is New Council Member

The College member who finished second in the supervisory officer category in the 1997 Council elections has stepped in to fill the vacancy created by the incumbent’s resignation.

Bill Bryce is the superintendent of human resource services with the Thames Valley District School Board in London. Before school board amalgamation, he had been superintendent of personnel with the Middlesex County Board of Education since 1990.

Bryce has his BA and MA from the University of Waterloo and his BComm and MEd from the University of Windsor. From 1971 to 1989, he was a secondary school teacher and administrator in Windsor and is a frequent presenter at supervisory officer and principal’s qualification courses.

Bryce replaces Lynn Daigneault who resigned from Council when she retired from the profession. "We are all grateful to Lynn for her many contributions to the College and to education," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "We will miss her and we all wish her the best for a very enjoyable retirement."

Hamilton Member Joins College Council

Ronald Rambarran is the vice-principal of Columbia International College in Hamilton and a new member of the Ontario College of Teachers Council.

Rambarran was the runner-up in the 1997 Council election for private and independent schools representative and assumed his seat on Council when Frances Hill resigned. The regulations that govern the Ontario College of Teachers specify that if an elected member of Council resigns, the College member who received the second-highest vote is automatically appointed if they are still willing to serve.

The new Council member has taught computer science, science and co-operative education since 1980. He earned his BSc at McMaster University in 1975 and his BEd at the University of Toronto in 1976. He has also taught continuing education with the Hamilton Board of Education. Rambarran has also served on community boards including the Hamilton-Wentworth Local Housing Authority, Hamilton-Wentworth Crimestoppers and the Hamilton-Wentworth Training Board.

The first private school representative on Council, Frances Hill, resigned because she is now teaching in the separate school system. College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy thanked Hill for her energy and many contributions to the Council’s deliberations. "On behalf of all College members, I want to recognize the very significant time and effort that Frances put into her professional body and her vigorous advocacy for private school members. We all wish her well in her future career."

Lawyer and Former Science Teacher
is College’s New Senior Investigator

A former Toronto teacher who returned to school to become a lawyer has joined the College as senior investigator with the Investigations and Hearings Department.

Karen Spector took over in September as head of the team of investigators who investigate complaints of professional misconduct, incompetence and fitness to practise against members of the College. She also provides assistance to the Investigation Committee and to College counsel during hearings.

From 1970 until 1983, Spector taught biology and physics in Toronto. In 1984, she successfully completed her master’s degree in education from Harvard University, where she concentrated in interactive technology and developed educational software in the area of physics.

In 1990, Spector returned to school to study law and was called to the Ontario bar in 1995. Since then, among other cases, she has assisted senior counsel before the Krever Commission and represented health care professionals in disputes with their colleges.

"I believe my knowledge and experience as both a teacher and a lawyer will add further credibility to this very important part of the College’s mandate," Spector said. "I’ve been very impressed with the high degree of professionalism here – both among staff and committee members."

Spector still treasures the professional and personal relationships from her teaching career and notes that even former students continue to be close friends. One of Spector’s fondest memories involves an annual reunion hosted by her former department head, which she attended for more than 20 years. "I enjoyed teaching a great deal and have come to appreciate the value of the skills and experience that I acquired in the classroom. I welcome the opportunity to apply them in my new position."

Spector replaces Claire Barcik, who left the College to pursue a personal project. Patrick O’Neill, Co-ordinator of the Investigations and Hearings Department, said Barcik will be missed for her warmth, wit and extraordinary capacity for work. "Claire made an outstanding contribution to the startup of our new investigation process and her influence will be felt here for years to come."

Forged Credentials Bar Two From Classrooms

Two school teachers in Niagara and Toronto have been ordered out of the classroom after the College discovered they forged their teaching credentials. The two are among seven full-time teachers and many supply teachers removed from classrooms because they do not meet Ontario teaching requirements.

The College turned over the documents submitted by the two to local police after staff determined the documents were not authentic. The documents appeared forged and displayed the signatures of ministers and deputy ministers not in office on the date of issue.

A Toronto Catholic School Board teacher created a forged OntarioTeacher’s Certificate in 1993 from another she had received in error. She later submitted the forged certificate to the College with her membership application.

Toronto police decided not to lay charges against her because she has no previous criminal record and will no longer be allowed to teach in any publicly-funded school in Ontario.

The other individual taught for the Welland County Roman Catholic Separate School Board for two years while she was not certified by the College or the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training.

When asked to submit her certificate by the College in June 1998, the woman supplied a Temporary Letter of Standing she claimed was issued by the Ministry of Education and Training in November 1997. However, the College had taken over issuing these credentials from the ministry six months earlier.

In addition, she could not have obtained a Temporary Letter of Standing as she had failed to meet requirements of the U.S. college where she studied.

Niagara police decided not to lay charges against the woman as she has no previous criminal record and will no longer be allowed to teach in a publicly-funded school in Ontario.

Discipline Panel Decisions

A panel of the College’s Discipline Committee has rendered their decisions in two cases. The panel directed that a summary of the decisions and the reasons be published in Professionally Speaking.


Decision: Certificates of Registration and Qualification Revoked

Former Kent County teacher John Arthur Sanderson did not attend a public hearing on October 19 on allegations of professional misconduct against him. Sanderson, 39, had been certified in 1985. The Chatham resident agreed through a signed statement of facts to have his Certificates of Registration and Qualification revoked.

The allegations of professional misconduct against Sanderson included abusing a student physically, sexually, verbally, psychologically or emotionally, contravening a law if the contravention has caused or may cause a student who is under the member’s professional supervision to be put at or to remain at risk, and engaging in conduct unbecoming a member.

The panel heard that Sanderson used his position of trust and authority to sexually exploit one of his Grade 8 students. He engaged in sexual touching with the 13-year-old girl and progressed to more intimate contact after her fourteenth birthday.

Sanderson was convicted in August 1994 of three charges under the Criminal Code and sentenced to one year in jail on one charge, two years less one day on the second charge and an additional two years less one day on the third charge. The concurrent sentences were followed by a two-year probation period.

The panel found Sanderson guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the revocation of his Certificates of Registration and Qualification. The decision of the panel will appear on the College’s public register.


Decision: Certificates of Registration and Qualification Revoked

Former teacher Robert Gordon Warren did not attend the College’s October 19 disciplinary hearing on allegations of professional misconduct against him. Warren, who is 61 and now resides in British Columbia, graduated as a teacher in 1960. He agreed through a statement of facts to have his Certificates of Registration and Qualification revoked.

Warren taught in British Columbia and in Ontario for the Haliburton County Board of Education in 1964–1965, the Brampton Separate School Board between 1965 and 1967 and the Toronto Board of Education between 1976 and 1984.

The allegations of professional misconduct against Warren included abusing a student physically, sexually, verbally, psychologically or emotionally, contravening a law if the contravention has caused or may cause a student who is under the member’s professional supervision to be put at or to remain at risk and engaging in a conduct unbecoming a member.

The panel heard that Warren was found guilty of indecent assault on an 18-year-old male in the mid-1960s.

In June 1988, he also pleaded guilty to a charge of gross indecency for an incident involving two 15-year-old boys in Golden, B.C. He was sentenced to six months in custody and three years of probation.

In June 1994, Warren pleaded guilty to a charge of indecent assault on a young Toronto student dating back to 1976. He was sentenced to 18 months in custody and a three-year probation period. In these last two cases, the panel heard that Warren supplied drugs and alcohol to his victims before the assaults.

The panel found Warren guilty of professional misconduct and ordered the revocation of his Certificates of Registration and Qualification. The decision of the panel will appear on the College’s public register.

Members, Public Invited to Comment on
Accreditation of Four Faculties

The College’s Accreditation Committee is seeking the views of graduates, parents, schools, community organizations and members of the College on the pre-service teacher education programs at the University of Ottawa (French and English), the University of Windsor and York University.

The four faculties will be reviewed for initial accreditation by the College of Teachers this winter. Both the College and the faculties of education involved in the pilot accreditation program this year recognize that a wide range of people and groups across the province have valuable perspectives on the quality of programs that prepare teachers to work in Ontario classrooms.

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments or request an opportunity to make a presentation during the College accreditation panel’s visits to the faculties. Comments or requests should be submitted by February 1, 1999, to:

Dr. Janice Thomson,
Manager, Accreditation Unit
Ontario College of Teachers
121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor,
Toronto ON M4W 3M5

Comments or presentations must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered at the University of Ottawa (French and English), the University of Windsor or York University. Respondents must identify themselves and must specify their relationship, if any, to the institution (for example, graduate, present or former faculty member, associate teacher). Copies of all correspondence will become part of the accreditation review documents.

The College accreditation panels will visit the faculties to conduct their reviews on:

  • February 7–11
    University of Ottawa,
    English language program
  • February 14–19
    University of Ottawa,
    French language program
  • March 7–11
    York University
  • March 21–25
    University of Windsor

Teaching Qualifications Top Agenda at College Seminar

More than 100 directors of education and human resources representatives from across the province attended a College seminar on October 16 to discuss teaching qualifications, College membership requirements and disciplinary issues.

The College organized the meeting to inform school boards of the work and accomplishments of its first year, discuss the roles and responsibilities of the boards and the College, and encourage continued co-operation.

"I am pleased by the level of co-operation between school boards across the province and the College," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "We are working very closely together to ensure that Ontario teachers are highly-qualified and that teachers trained outside the province take the courses they need to meet Ontario’s standards, which are more stringent than those of many other jurisdictions."

The College stressed the importance of making sure that all teachers in publicly-funded schools are members in good standing of the College to ensure the best education possible for Ontario students. As the profession’s regulatory body, the College is the only organization in the province that can assure parents that teachers are fully qualified.

The meeting is part of a series of meetings with school boards, faculties of education and the general public to explain the mandate and responsibilities of the College. The College will host a community information session early next year for parents, community groups and the general public.

Members Must Pay Annual Fees by April 15
to Maintain Certification

April 15, 1999 is the deadline for Ontario College of Teachers members to pay next year’s $90 membership fee.

College membership fees – as in other professional bodies – are the responsibility of individual members. However, the majority of College members who are employed by school boards will continue to have their membership fee deducted from their pay in early January.

About 40,000 members who pay their fees by invoice will receive only one invoice this year as the College streamlines the payment process to simplify it for members and employers and to cut administrative costs.

In February, the College will reconcile member information and payments received from school boards with the registry of members and then mail an invoice to any teachers who have not paid their 1999 membership fee by payroll deduction. Occasional teachers who are unsure about how they pay their fees should check with their school board’s payroll department.

The College mails invoices to home addresses listed on the registry. Members must notify the College in writing within 30 days of any change of address. Members can fax the form on page 39 of this magazine to the College at (416) 961-8822 to change their address.

Any members who have not had their membership fee deducted from their pay or received an invoice in the mail by early March should call the College’s Membership Services Department at (416) 961-8800 or toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222 and arrange direct payment. Membership fees can be paid over the telephone by VISA, MasterCard or American Express.

When payment is received – either through payroll deduction or individual payments – the College will mail a 1999 Certificate of Qualification, a 1999 membership card and a 1999 income tax receipt to every member with a valid home address on the registry.

Members who do not pay their fees by the deadline will be automatically suspended from the College. Suspended teachers are not permitted to teach in any publicly-funded school in Ontario.

Teachers who are suspended for non-payment of fees will have to apply in writing for reinstatement and pay the reinstatement fee of $100 plus the annual membership fee of $90, for a total of $190.

Members Will See Improvements as College Streamlines and Establishes Internal Standards for Services

Members should soon see the effects of a wide range of measures that the College’s Membership Services Department is taking to reduce long waiting times on the phone and delays in processing members’ requests.

"We’re making steady improvements," Membership Services Co-ordinator Lynda Palazzi says as she explains that her department is refining systems and establishing standards to improve client satisfaction while maintaining the College’s integrity as the licensing authority for the teaching profession in Ontario.

"We looked at all our processes and asked ourselves what do we have to do to improve services and make sure that we remain entirely accountable to our members and the public."

Palazzi and members of the department articulate their commitment to customer service in their new mission statement – to ensure a courteous, accessible, consistent and accurate response to member questions and requests within both specific timelines and College regulatory parameters.


Membership Services offers clients direct services in English and in French that range from answering requests for information to processing and evaluating applications for registration and updating members’ files and certificates. The department is divided into three units – Client Services, Membership Records and Evaluation Services.

Client Services is the first point of contact with the College and receives on average 1,020 calls and 65 visits a day. The unit’s call centre has been a whirlwind of activity since day one, and the irregular distribution of calls through the day has meant that callers have endured waits that could go up to 30 minutes at peak times.

"With the help of feedback from members, we have determined how we need to reorganize," says Marina Brasil, Client Services Manager. "We will no longer operate on a case-by-case basis, but rather on a streamlined process. Our goal over the next six months is to be able to answer 70 per cent of the calls we receive within three minutes, an industry standard for the kind of business we conduct."

In the future, client services assistants working at the call centre will only take incoming calls, answering straightforward questions and providing updates on the status of client files. To cut waiting times for caller, they will refer any case that requires additional clarification to a client services researcher and get back to answering calls. The researchers will call back to follow up with clients with complicated cases.


The Membership Records Unit is the backbone of the organization. It keeps track and records the degrees, qualifications and specialization of every College member and is critical to the work of client services assistants.

"Our database is enormous," says Anna Di Rezze, unit manager. "We have more than 170,000 members who each have on average 10 documents linked to their file. Last summer alone, we added about 12,000 Additional Qualifications to teachers’ records."

This unit is also streamlining operations and adopting specific timelines. Di Rezze’s goal is to process new applications from Ontario graduates and additional qualifications within two weeks and to keep to a turnaround of six working days to batch, scan and link documents to a specific teacher’s file. On average, the unit receives six bins each containing 650 documents per day.

Such definite timelines mean, however, that the unit cannot process files that do not have all the required information, a point of particular interest to new applicants. Files received with incomplete information will be returned to the sender with a letter detailing the missing documents.

Corrections for existing members will be made within six to eight weeks from the time the College receives all the necessary information. The College will not send a corrected certificate for the current year unless the member requests one. A new Certificate of Qualification costs $25.


Evaluation Services is the trouble-shooting arm of the department, called in to resolve the most complex issues and deal with other licensing bodies and governments around the world. Evaluators have specialized areas of expertise, for example, the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, the United States or countries that offer teacher training in French.

"There is not a day that we don’t face complex issues," says Evaluation Services Manager Barbara Robinson. "Ontario is a destination of choice for immigrants and we have teachers from all over the world applying to the College. We have to have highly-specialized staff to evaluate their credentials and confirm the validity of the information presented to us."

The unit has set a goal of 10 working days to evaluate credentials of out-of-province and out-of-country applicants and to determine Additional Qualifications equivalencies. However, these processes cannot start until all the required documents have arrived at the College. It can take a considerable amount of time – sometimes up to a year – for the College to receive the required original documents necessary to evaluate credentials for out-of-province or out-of-country applicants.


The re-alignment of services and the new timelines are tools for the department to evaluate its performance. The most important performance measure, however, remains the assurance that only fully-qualified teachers are certified to teach in Ontario.

"When I look at the registry and I see that this person has this certificate, I want to know that I have all the documents to prove it and that they are authentic," says Palazzi. "Timelines are important, but integrity is even more important. It’s in the best interest of the public and the profession."

Client Services Answers the Phone

By Rebecca Cossar

"Good morning. Client Services. How may I help you?" "Oh, hello. Finally. I’ve been on hold for 15 minutes. I was just about to put the phone down."

"Sorry to keep you waiting. Our registry system was down earlier and it’s created a bit of a backlog."

"Well, that’s fine but I’m teaching in five minutes and it’s taken me forever to get access to a phone. Three other teachers weren’t so lucky."

"Well, yes, the phones are very busy at lunchtime. Is there something I can help you with?"

"OK. It’s my certificate. I took my BA at Windsor, not York, in 1982, not 1986, and it’s an Honours degree. I didn’t do the fourth year for nothing."

"No, of course not. Now, if I could just have your registration number please, I’ll check up on your file for you …"

Exchanges like this take place hundreds of times a day at the College. Client Services staff interact with teachers, school boards, faculties, parents, and members of the public on a myriad of different topics ranging from certificate corrections to fee payments to complex qualifications issues.


The College call centre, equipped with state of the art Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) technology, is capable of handling and distributing 1000 calls a day to 20 agents, providing continually updated information on system conditions (wait times, call handling times, abandoned calls) and sophisticated agent and supervisor features.

Sounds impressive. But not when callers wait 20 minutes. And not when the calls that do get through turn out to be complicated document authentication inquiries requiring further communication with outside agencies or detailed qualification questions requiring extensive research in College archives.

Like this one …

"But I’ve been teaching Grades 9 and 10 science for the past 20 years and now I want you to add it to my Record Card, I mean my Certificate of Qualification. My board has asked all of us to get our qualifications updated."

"Well, according to your teacher record, you have Intermediate and Senior Math and Geography."

"But, I haven’t taught Math for years. My degree was in Science. I graduated teacher’s college in 1975 with my HSA (High School Assistant’s Certificate) Type B and I’ve been teaching science and geography ever since. What I want you to do is delete Math and add Science. I couldn’t teach Math to save my life."


"I’m sorry, but we can’t add a qualification to your certificate unless you take the Additional Basic Qualification at a faculty of education. And we can’t remove a qualification either."

"But, I’m telling you, I can’t teach Math. My board will ask me to teach Math if you leave it on my certificate."

"What I can do is request a search for your records from teacher’s college in 1975 and we can check up on your original qualifications. I can also let you know when Intermediate Science – General is being offered by the faculties so that ..."

Certification questions and qualification inquiries have become key issues for a profession that now has to regulate itself. With the release in August 1997 of 160,000 teaching certificates, the Membership Services Department of the College has been swamped with requests for information, clarification, and correction of qualifications dating back to the 60s, and with applications for equivalent standing and reassessment of qualifications based on teacher education courses completed in all parts of the world.

It’s little wonder that teachers are scrambling to get their credentials in order as they begin to see the staffing implications of school board mergers, new funding models, revised legislation, teacher retirements, new curriculums.


The College’s call centre consultants quickly realized that this is no ordinary call centre. Yes, there were the usual requests to change names and addresses, to order registration guides and duplicate certificates. But many of the members and applicants who call have complex questions on the qualification requirements for particular teaching assignments or for taking Additional Qualifications, and on the regulatory requirements for moving from one level of certification to another.

"No, your Letter of Eligibility is not a licence to teach."

"So how do I get a teaching certificate?"

"Do you have a job offer?"

"No, I can’t get a job without a teaching certificate."

"Actually, a board can offer you a job based on your Letter of Eligibility. It’s an indication to prospective employers that your teacher education program completed outside Ontario has satisfied the academic and professional requirements for certification in Ontario."

"So why can’t I teach?"

"Because the Letter of Eligibility means eligibility to seek employment in publicly-funded schools in Ontario. It allows you to apply for teaching positions, attend interviews and accept a teaching assignment. But before you begin teaching, you have to get the Letter of Eligibility signed by a Supervisory Officer and converted into an Interim Certificate of Qualification."

"So that’s when I get my real certificate?"

"Your Interim Certificate of Qualification is valid for six years and qualifies you to teach but within that time you need to accumulate the equivalent of one year of successful teaching experience, certified by a Supervisory Officer, to convert your Interim Certificate to a permanent certificate ..."

New Principals’ Duties Include Communications

An amendment to Regulation 298 of the Education Act regarding the duties of principals came into force this July, requiring principals to communicate and distribute to school council members any information he or she receives from the Ministry of Education and Training pertaining to school councils.

Principals are also required to communicate the names of council members to parents by the end of September of each school year, either through a school newsletter or in such a way that it "is likely to bring the names to the attention of the parents." As well, supporters of the local school board who ask for the names of school council members have the right to those names under the amended regulation.

Council Approves 1999 Budget

The Ontario College of Teachers membership fee for 1999 remains unchanged at $90 after Council set the College’s operating budget for next year at $16 million.

The College’s 1999 revenue budget is based on an estimated membership next year of 165,200. Although the current membership has passed 170,000, the Finance Committee recommended a more conservative number in light of the high numbers of teachers retiring this year.

The expense budget approved by Council on September 25 is very similar to the budgeted amounts for 1998. Council members approved a Finance Committee recommendation to budget for a slight reduction in the number of cases heard by the Discipline Committee next year. However, the Council recognized that Investigations and Hearings Department activities could run over budget in any one year depending on the number and type of cases being heard. The Finance Committee recommended that Council approve a conservative budget and dip into reserve funds if there are an unusual number of expensive discipline cases.

Revenue that is generated as a result of a higher than expected membership is collected in a reserve for working capital. Should membership in the College exceed 165,200 next year, Council approved the allocation of additional revenue to the reserve fund.

The College was also able to save over $100,000 in costs associated with producing and mailing Professionally Speaking.

"I am very pleased with this year’s budgeting process," said Paul Charron, Chair of the Finance Committee. "It moved forward in a very orderly fashion, allowing for the input and full participation of the committees of Council and the departments within the College.

"It is a conservative budget, as many budgets are," said Charron, "but it is one that allows the College to hold membership fees at their current level."

Ontario College of Teachers
1999 Budget

(Amounts in thousands of dollars)

1999 1998
1. Annual Membership Fees 14,868 14,660
2. Other Fees 695 695
3. Interest and Other Revenue 520 425
16,083 15,780
4. Employee Compensation 8,055 7,680
5. Council and Committees 291 331
6. General Services to Members (1) 1,427 1,534
7. Professional Affairs 319 271
8. Investigations and Hearings 1,210 1,265
9. Operating Support (2) 3,793 3,810
10. Financing 21 21
11. Asset Amortization and Depreciation 911 818
16,027 15,730
Excess of Revenue over Expenses 56 50

Note 1: Includes printing and mailing of Professionally Speaking/Pour parler profession, Certificates of Registration and Certificates of Qualification. Also includes printing and distribution of all College registration guides, brochures and the annual report.

Note 2: Includes information technology, computer leases, telephone, paper, copying, office supplies, premises rent, professional fees for auditing, corporate legal, and member fee invoicing and collection costs.

12. Leasehold Improvements 160 190
13. Furniture and Equipment 95 98
14. Equipment under Capital Lease 30 315
15. Election Costs (Deferred Charges) 100 50
385 653