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Transition to Teaching

By Frank McIntyre
Infographics: Studio 141 Inc.


The 2013 Report

It’s tough out there for newcomers to teaching in Ontario. Teacher unemployment and underemployment rates rose yet again in 2013 — a shaky start that lasts three to five years for most of Ontario’s teacher education graduates. Every year more of them look beyond Ontario’s borders to gain a foothold in the profession. Many of them take up non-teacher jobs to meet their financial needs (see “Unearthing Opportunities” on p. 40). And no region of the province or division of qualifications escapes this challenging employment market predicament.

The latest Transition to Teaching survey of Ontario’s education graduates shows unemployment at 38 per cent and underemployment at 34 per cent among job-seeking first-year teachers. Little more than one in four (28 per cent) now find as much teaching work as they want in their first year.

Almost one in three who find some teaching employment in their first year now teach outside Ontario’s publicly funded school system. More than half of these teachers move to jobs in other provinces and countries. Ontario’s independent schools hire first-year teachers in numbers greatly disproportionate to their share of the school population. Almost half of first-year teachers who land the gold standard regular teaching jobs now find them outside Ontario’s publicly funded school system.

The situation is precarious even for those graduates who do find work as teachers in Ontario. More than two in five of them worked as daily occasional teachers at year-end and similar proportions taught in multiple schools and part-time. Almost three in five of them taught through one or more of these piecework arrangements.

And three out of four were in non-continuing contracts with definite end dates. On all these job quality measures, new teachers working in Ontario now are far less secure than the pre-surplus era teachers of 2006.

Rates of unemployment vary across Ontario from just 20 per cent in the north to over 50 per cent in the greater Toronto region. But no region of the province enjoys a combined rate of under/unemployment for first-year teachers of less than 70 per cent.

French-language program graduates and French as a Second Language (FSL) teachers enjoyed more job success in 2013 than their English-language counterparts. They are not faring very well, however, as half of each of these French-language teacher groups now report they are unemployed or underemployed in the first school year following graduation. And just one in three of them secured regular jobs by first school year-end.

Very few new-Canadians can now find teaching jobs after being licensed in Ontario in this challenging employment market. Four in five of them who were certified in 2012 were unemployed throughout the 2012–13 school year. They could not find even some daily supply teaching work. Candidates certified in 2011 did not do much better in their second year on the Ontario job market — almost three in four of them still could not find any work as teachers.

With Ontario transitioning to an extended teacher education program in 2015–16 and a planned halving of the annual Ontario teacher education intake each year, many Ontario Certified Teachers from the already vast pool of unemployed and underemployed teachers will be available to meet school board hiring requirements.


About Our Survey

The Transition to Teaching survey of new teachers in the 2012–13 school year examines the job-entry success and professional experience of teacher education graduates of 2002 through 2012 and new-to-Ontario teachers educated elsewhere and certified in 2011 and 2012. Web-based surveys were used with large samples from each of these groups of new teachers.

Responses were received from 4,428 teachers. Response rates varied from 16 to 35 per cent of the samples, with an average 25 per cent return overall. Accuracy rates for the surveys range from 2.6 to 6.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The Transition to Teaching study is made possible by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Education. This report does not necessarily reflect the policies, views and requirements of the Ministry.

The full report of this year’s study is available on the College website,