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Governing Ourselves

Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. 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.

College news

Education Minister addresses College Council

Photo of Ontario Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris.
Ontario Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris spoke to College Council members in March about the College’s role in promoting teacher professionalism.

“You ensure we are on track in a very real way,” said Ontario Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris in her address to Council in March.

In her first meeting with Council since becoming Minister, Naidoo-Harris recognized how valuable the College’s work is and said that she “looks forward to working together to build strong learning environments for students, educators and communities.”

The Minister provided insight into her vision of what Ontario’s public education system should look like, including greater equity and inclusivity in learning environments, increasing student and teacher well-being, and greater student protection from sexual abuse. “Protecting students is vital, because children are vulnerable,” she said.

While 2016’s Protecting Students Act strengthened student protection, the government proposed additional changes including: expanding the list of acts constituting sexual abuse that would result in mandatory revocation of a teaching licence; stricter penalties for those found guilty of sexual abuse; and ensuring students have access to support services when abuse is alleged.

The proposed changes to the Protecting Students Act are similar to what was recommended by the College of Early Childhood Educators. Further, they bring the Ontario College of Teachers Act into alignment with the Regulated Health Professions Act.

“Any sexual abuse is unacceptable,” said the Minister, adding she wanted to “strengthen the College’s ability to respond to cases of professional misconduct” and its “authority to revoke licences in the best interest of student safety.”

Throughout her address, the Minister stressed the importance of partnerships between all education stakeholders to ensure that there is a collective vision for student success. “Decisions can’t be made in silos,” she said.

Naidoo-Harris also identified teacher supply shortages for French-language, Indigenous and technological education, student mental health, and more customized curricula as issues her ministry would focus on.

Throughout her address, the Minister stressed the importance of partnerships between all education stakeholders to ensure that there is a collective vision for student success. “Decisions can’t be made in silos,” she said.

Naidoo-Harris recognized the College’s leadership role in education, in particular its contribution toward creating inclusive learning environments through its development of an Additional Qualification for teaching LGBTQ students.

The Minister also acknowledged some of the challenges faced by Council, such as lengthy timelines related to filling public appointment vacancies on Council. She has said her team was working to expedite requests while looking at how her ministry can improve its internal processes.

In addition, she promised to discuss and examine title protection of the Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT) designation.

Naidoo-Harris concluded by thanking the College for its continued efforts to increase transparency, its dedication to teacher professionalism and for its “invaluable guidance” to Ontario’s certified teachers.

College supports legislative changes to better protect students

At its March 1 meeting, College Council approved a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Education to amend the Ontario College of Teachers Act.

“We want to assure Ontario parents that nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of their children,” said Council Chair Angela De Palma, OCT. “We applaud the government’s continued examination of laws that safeguard students and provide for a system of fair, transparent and timely justice.”

If approved, the legislation would:

In addition, Council also urged the government to amend the legislation to further expand the definition of sexual abuse acts that would result in mandatory revocation. This would include:

The College of Early Childhood Educators has recommended similar changes.

The College has also called for an additional amendment to the Act that would fine employers for failing to provide additional information to the College in a timely manner.

“We’re always keen to collaborate with the government to improve the processes and practices that best serve students and the community,” said College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT.

The proposed alterations would enhance the Protecting Students Act, aligning it with recent changes to Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act.

College signs French language services agreement

Photo of College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, Ontario Certified teacher, shaking hands with
French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau
College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT, with French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau.

The College is enhancing its French-language services by establishing a protocol to address any complaints the French Language Services Commissioner may receive in the future about the College’s services.

“This confirms the College’s continuing strong commitment to offer services of high quality in French and English,” said College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori.

The second Ontario regulator to establish such a protocol, the College will now report the outcome of an investigation, as well as any action it takes to resolve or address a complaint, to the commissioner.

While the College is not subject to the French Language Services Act, nor does it fall under the commissioner’s jurisdiction, it is voluntarily entering into the agreement because of its commitment to provide services of equal quality in French and English. This is in keeping with its values of quality, excellence and professionalism.

The protocol lists the terms and conditions under which the commissioner may refer a complaint to the College for investigation. It also details the process by which the College will investigate a complaint. Through this agreement, the College guarantees that it will investigate any complaint the commissioner may receive in a timely, efficient and fair manner.

Whether through its French-language publications, human resources or client services, the College’s duty to offer services of equal quality in French and English remains central to the public service ethic and organizational values of efficiency, effectiveness and excellence.

College granted intervenor status

The College intervenes at the Supreme Court of Canada to provide its perspective on student privacy and what constitutes acceptable professional conduct for teachers.

On April 20, 2018, the Ontario College of Teachers intervened to provide its perspective of students’ privacy at Canada’s highest court (SCC File No. 37833).

In the appeal of a criminal case involving a teacher who was charged and acquitted in two courts with voyeurism after using a pen camera to take secret videos of his female students at school, the College addressed student privacy in learning environments at the Supreme Court.

The College has a legislated responsibility to protect students, and provided all necessary background and information to enable the Court to make an informed decision on the appeal.

“Schools should be safe places in which students’ privacy is protected,” said CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT . “We want to make sure that the law is clear about when students and teachers can reasonably expect privacy at school.”

During the intervention, the College provided the Court with:

“Care, trust, respect and integrity are the cornerstones of the ethical standards that guide the teaching profession,” said Chair of Council Angela De Palma, OCT. “We want the Court to understand that all teachers are expected to meet and uphold these standards.”