(from the chair , Liz Papadopulous )

THERE ARE MANY CERTAINTIES IN A teacher’s life. Witnessing students’ success, boisterous hallways and report cards are just a few. You are probably in the middle of carefully drafting your report cards or you’re about to. The College is also going through a similar exercise.

May 20, 2012 was our 15th birthday as the regulatory body for Ontario's teaching profession. It is therefore timely — in reflecting on our 15 years in existence — to recognize our strengths, but, most importantly, to look at areas where we can improve.

That’s why last summer the College sought outside expert advice to review some of our regulatory processes. There’s nothing particularly new about that. Reflection and review are cornerstones of our operational structure. We continually examine what we do and how we do it.

We want to improve. We want to recognize our strengths and correct weaknesses wherever we find them. Our goal in all cases is to serve the public interest better.

To that end the Registrar, with the support of Council, commissioned the Honourable Patrick J. LeSage, former Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court, to review the College’s investigation and disciplinary procedures and outcomes, including the dispute resolution program. His report is due on May 31.

LeSage’s reputation and experience in these matters is impressive.

Our goal in all cases is to serve the public interest better.

The former Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court retired from the bench after 29 years of distinguished service and joined the Toronto law firm Gowlings in February 2004. His practice is focused on providing advice on complex disputes, and he also acts as a mediator, arbitrator and/or fact-finder in significant private-and public-sector matters.

LeSage began his career as a Crown attorney in the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, where he rose to the position of Director of Crown Attorneys for Ontario. In 1975, he was appointed to the County and District Court and became Associate Chief Judge in 1983. In 1994, he became Associate Chief Justice and in 1996 was appointed Chief Justice of what is now the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario, a position he held until September 2002.

In almost three decades on the bench, Justice LeSage presided over some of Canada’s most publicized and complex cases.

The College regularly asks independent experts to review key aspects of the College’s practices to ensure that we continue to serve the public interest effectively and to inspire public confidence in the education system.

Transparency and openness are at the heart of this independent review as members of the profession and the public were engaged in providing their input on how we can improve our practices. Teachers, principals, parents, education partners and other regulators took part in the LeSage consultations and gave their feedback on the College’s disciplinary practices. We take their observations and meaningful advice seriously.

The men and women who are part of the fifth Council have one month of work, as their term will be completed at the end of June, and a newly constituted sixth Council will be in place.

Council members will look at the report and use their experience to see how the recommendations may serve the public interest and to consider areas of improvement.

As the end of my term as Chair of the fifth Council draws near, I must conclude by saying that it has been my privilege to serve as your Chair since the summer of 2009.

I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow members on Council, who work on fulfilling the College’s ethical and legal responsibilities to be accountable to the public and to be transparent in how we regulate the profession. Together we have made a difference in the lives of teachers and students in Ontario’s schools.

by Liz Papadopoulos, OCT