Minister requests term extension
At its September meeting, College Council considered a written request from Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy to extend the term of its elected members by six months.
Kennedy made the request in order to introduce legislation that will change the governance of the College and to "engage in discussion of the proposed changes."
Council approved the extension. The Minister's letter said the government plans to table legislation in the fall to "reconfigure the Council structure to give teachers a stronger professional voice in regulating themselves."
As a result of the Council's motion, the life of the current Council will be extended until November 9, 2006. The Council's election regulation will also be changed to cancel the April 2006 vote and require an election sometime before the November date.
Under the Ontario College of Teachers Act and its regulations, 17 Council members representing regional, sector and category positions are elected for three-year terms. Changing the number elected to Council or whom they represent will require changes to the Act.
Extending the term of the current Council and changing the date of the next election is done by regulation, which Council must approve. At present, the regulation requires that the next election be held in April 2006. A new regulation will be drafted for approval at the December meeting of Council.
Chair of Council Marilyn Laframboise, Registrar Doug Wilson and other College staff met with the Minister recently.
"We pointed out to the Minister that the College needs five months to hold an election," said Laframboise. "We asked him to let us know if there was any reason why we should not go ahead with the April 2006 election. The result of that discussion was the letter to Council asking that its term be extended."
Laframboise told Council that the Minister had not provided any details about the changes he would be proposing.
Council members noted that only one extension is possible and in the event the legislative changes are not in place by June 2006 an election under the existing statute would be conducted in May 2006.
"In that case," says Council Chair Marilyn Laframboise, "while some committee work would be able to proceed, there would be a period when Council would not be able to establish the quorum necessary to conduct any business.
"So timing is tight and the Minister will want to move quickly."