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Governing Ourselves

This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.

Investigation Committee Case Study

Letters of Support

The College’s Investigation Committee considers all complaints made to the College about its members and reviews all information resulting from investigations. The committee can dismiss a complaint or refer the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committees for a hearing.

The Investigation Committee may also caution or admonish the member in writing or in person, or provide written reminders or advice, or ratify a Memorandum of Agreement reached through the complaint resolution process.

By law, cases under investigation are confidential. For the education of members, the following account, based on facts from real cases, raises important questions about teacher conduct such as what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.

One day in December 2013, a teacher named Bob (fictional name) was asked by a lawyer to write a letter. He was asked to explain, in a letter of support, his personal observations about another teacher’s relationship with her ex-husband, Andy (fictional name).

Bob wrote the letter and used the school letterhead, as suggested by the lawyer.

The letter was subsequently submitted in court in legal proceedings related to family issues. The school board’s investigation revealed that the principal of the school was unaware of Bob’s use of the school letterhead. It also revealed that Bob fully co-operated with the investigation and that he showed remorse for using the school letterhead.

During the winter of 2015, Andy complained to the College. He made two allegations about the teacher: that the teacher submitted “evidence” to the court on behalf of the board, and that the letter contained negative comments about him.

If you were a member of the Investigation Committee, what would you do?

The Outcome

The committee decided not to refer the matter to the Discipline Committee. However, it decided to issue an admonishment to Bob in response to the first allegation. An admonishment is a way to communicate the concerns of the Investigation Committee and is not disciplinary in nature.

The committee noted that Bob used the school letterhead, without receiving permission from the school administration, to write a letter to support another College member. It said this was inappropriate because the use of the school letterhead implies that the information contained in the letter is sanctioned by the school.

On the second allegation, the committee decided to take no further action. It felt that it is not inappropriate for College members to provide such a letter of support expressing their personal opinions about an individual.

If you want to use the school letterhead, check the school/board policy or ask the administration for permission.