Professionally SpeakingThe Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers
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Governing Ourselves


Services to members and applicants a College priority

Most of you are positive about your contact with the College – but we always strive to do better.

by Brian McGowan

We have always considered it important that the contact our members and applicants have with the College is as positive as we can make it.

The College has led the way among regulatory bodies in using the Internet to provide an array of cost-effective services – online registration for Ontario graduates that will be extended to include internationally educated teachers during the next development stage, an education library that offers mail services and an online catalogue, an electronic newsletter that members can subscribe to, members' online access for printing their certificates and tax receipts, and many other services available 24/7.

All this in addition to an extensive inventory of print publications available for downloading through the College's web site, including Professionally Speaking, a quarterly magazine full of useful resources and necessary information.

We have introduced video conferencing to overcome geographic barriers in providing information to members and soliciting feedback and input on important College initiatives.

We have streamlined our interactions with employers to benefit members. Most notably, the public register provides our members seeking employment with easily accessible proof of their qualifications.

What is most likely to boost or damage our reputation, however, is our one-to-one contact with you. Most of that work is handled by our Membership Services department.

The department handles up to 20,000 contacts monthly via telephone, e-mail, personal visits and meetings. Much of it is with internationally educated teachers (IETs), who account for 53 per cent of the telephone calls received by the Client Services unit.

Our staff are proficient in more than 10 languages and represent as many cultural groups. We provide significant help to applicants to understand and navigate a registration process that requires them to fulfill very demanding requirements set out in laws and regulations we are required to enforce.

“We are committed to being responsive and forward-looking in our interactions with you.”

The section of our web site dedicated to IETs provides information on the application process and on how to obtain documents such as academic records from more than 80 jurisdictions around the world.

Over the years we have developed a number of flexible approaches to evaluating international teaching credentials. As a result of our partnership in Teach in Ontario, we have instituted several procedural changes that facilitate registration for IETs. Each day about 40 applicants visit the College's walk-in centre, where they can have their applications reviewed by staff on the spot.

If an applicant is having difficulty obtaining documents, we will send a letter directly to the granting institution of the country. To help increase the response rate in challenging jurisdictions, we have translated these letters of intervention into 10 different languages.

When applicants are denied certification, they receive very specific information in writing as to what they need to do to satisfy requirements for certification.

We hold separate information sessions monthly where successful and unsuccessful applicants or potential applicants can ask specific questions pertaining to their personal circumstances. These sessions regularly draw between 50 and 80 participants.

All of the feedback we receive from you and from applicants – plus a customer satisfaction survey conducted by an external body – tells us that you are generally satisfied with the level of service you receive from the College and find our communication clear and helpful. But we are constantly striving to do better.

We are currently exploring the development of an automated telephone survey that callers may complete after talking with Client Services and we will continue to introduce more precise ways of measuring and improving our performance.

Teachers are expected to be responsive and forward-looking in their interactions with their students and colleagues. We are committed to being responsive and forward-looking in our interactions with you.