Governing Ourselves

The College investigates and considers complaints about members that relate to alleged professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. If the Investigation Committee concludes that a complaint does not relate to one of those three matters or is frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of process, it does not proceed with the complaint.

Approximately four out of five complaints are not referred to the Discipline Committee but are dismissed or resolved by other means. Examples of cases considered by the Investigation Committee and not referred to a hearing are provided here.


Case #1

Complaint: Inappropriate classroom management techniques

Outcome of investigation: Not referred and no further action

The Investigation Committee (IC) reviewed an investigation stemming from a parent’s complaint about a teacher’s classroom management techniques and chose to take no further action.

The parent claimed that students were humiliated, embarrassed and bullied by the teacher’s methods, which included instructing them to do a set of exercises in class before being allowed to use the washroom, and requiring them to leave a personal item when borrowing classroom resources.

The member said she granted washroom access customarily without requiring physical activity, but that a small group of students frequently asked to leave to avoid work or classroom participation. The member said she asked the students to show her their work and encouraged them to take breaks by doing a few exercises at their desk before going to the washroom. Consequently, they said they didn’t need to go to the washroom at all, she said. The teacher also explained the process for borrowing classroom resources.

The IC panel decided that the information presented did not support the parent’s allegation and that the member had used appropriate judgment. Teachers try a variety of different techniques in the classroom to maintain proper decorum and a safe learning environment, the panel said, adding that not all techniques are effective for every student. Furthermore, the panel noted that the school administration had coached the member and suggested alternatives.

Case #2

Complaint: Inappropriate physical and sexual contact with a student

Outcome of investigation: Written admonishment

An Investigation Committee panel admonished a member in writing for inappropriate physical contact with a student.

The Registrar filed a complaint following a board report that the member had been charged with sexual assault and sexual interference relating to a preteen student. Police services indicated that the alleged assaults took place at the school on two occasions. The charges were eventually withdrawn, but the board suspended the member without pay for a number of days and transferred him to a different school.

In response to the Registrar’s complaint, the member denied engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct, but did admit to inappropriate physical conduct with the student. The member said that the student and another student responded best when he engaged with them in a playful way. The students often pretended to fight with each other, simulating martial arts actions, and the teacher said he eventually began to participate by blocking their punches. He recalled two incidents where he admitted he might have made light contact with the student’s buttocks with his hand or foot.

The panel said that the investigation did not support the allegation of sexual contact and admonished him regarding physical contact with students.

Case #3

Complaint: Not teaching a program as required by the curriculum, and not responding to written communication from a parent

Outcome of investigation: Written admonishment

An Investigation Committee panel admonished a teacher in writing for failing to teach parts of the curriculum and not responding to a parent’s communication.

A parent complained to the College that the teacher had not properly taught the required high school curriculum and that he did not respond to attempts to talk to him about it. Upon learning that his child was failing the course, the parent found that the teacher had taught some of the required chapters, but that questions about untaught material were still included on tests and exams. Furthermore, the teacher didn’t respond to the parent’s written notes.

The member said he wasn’t required to teach all the chapters in the course text, but was expected to use his professional judgment in assisting students. He said he did so by proceeding at a slower pace with the class. He also said he couldn’t recall including test or exam questions on uncovered topics and, if he did, it was inadvertent.

The teacher said he responded to the parent’s email by speaking to the student and eventually to the complainant during a parent-teacher interview. The member didn’t respond to a subsequent email from the parent because he said he had to leave the school for personal reasons the day it was sent, and that he returned two weeks later. He said he wasn’t aware of any other written communications from the complainant.

In its review of the investigation report, the panel said that information provided by an administrator at the school supported the complaint that the curriculum was not taught in full. The panel also said that the teacher should have communicated directly with the complainant upon receiving the email.