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September 1998

Blue Pages

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Front Page


College’s First Annual General Meeting
Draws Capacity Crowd

The Ontario College of Teachers first-ever annual meeting on May 30, which filled the Council chamber at the College’s downtown Toronto offices to capacity, featured a question period that demonstrated members’ lively interest in a wide range of issues raised by their professional regulatory body.

More than 180 members and staff crowded into the College meeting room to hear reports on College activities in 1997, as well as presentations from the chairs of College committees.

Chair Donna Marie Kennedy welcomed members and reminded them of the College’s mandate and teachers’ role in helping to chart the course of the profession in Ontario. "A self-governing, self-regulating body needs to hear from its members, and we have. Many partnerships have developed in the College’s first year. And I look forward to hearing many more thoughts and suggestions as we continue to shape the future of our profession.

"Public accountability is an important part of the College’s mandate," said Kennedy, "and public members on Council have demonstrated a keen and responsive understanding of our profession. Indeed, all Council members recognize the importance of operating in both the public and the profession’s interest."

Kennedy highlighted the College’s successful presentation during the Bill 160 debate to ensure that Ontario students continue to be taught by qualified teachers. She also reviewed other major events for Council in 1997, like the adoption of a code of ethics for Council members, the passage of the Professional Misconduct Regulation and the work being done on the development of a professional learning framework.

College Registrar Margaret Wilson reported on other key accomplishments in the College’s first year – from holding the province-wide elections for Council and taking over teacher qualification regulation 184/97, to launching the College’s web site.


Members received a copy of the College’s annual report – including the financial statements – as they arrived in the morning. Finance Committee Chair Paul Charron put the College’s finances in perspective by explaining the principles that guide the work of his committee.

"The committee ensures that services are appropriately funded to meet legislative requirements, that membership fees are set at reasonable levels and that financial resources are accumulated to ensure stability and independence of the College," said Charron.

As expected, the College’s disciplinary process drew a lot of attention and questions from members and the public in 1997.

Investigation Committee Chair Harry Mulvale provided answers to a number of questions by explaining, clearly, the role and authority of the committee to dismiss a complaint, admonish or caution a member, refer a complaint to the discipline or the fitness to practise committee or take appropriate action consistent with the legislation.

Mulvale reported that the College undertook 54 investigations in its first year, with over half of the investigations dealing with sex offenses. The committee rendered seven decisions after the Professional Misconduct Regulation came into force in December 1997. It referred six cases to the discipline committee for a public hearing and cautioned one member about professional conduct.


The freedom of members to speak out on the funding formula without fearing that they will be the subject of a complaint was one of the first issues raised in the lively question period. "We count on the College speaking out against the negative impact of the funding formula in the future."

Chair Donna Marie Kennedy carefully explained the specific mandate of the College as a licensing and self-regulatory body. "When Bill 160 came out," she told the meeting, "we did comment on the areas of the bill that affected teachers and we did go forward to the minister with that and we had those four clauses removed."

Registrar Margaret Wilson pointed out that she does not have or want the authority to censor or to pre-judge complaints against members. "I think I can give you assurances that the Investigation Committee is well aware that our legislation is such that it does not have to deal with either frivolous or vexatious complaints," she said.

Members also raised the question of keeping on file complaints found to be vexatious or frivolous. Investigation Committee Chair Harry Mulvale explained the importance of scrupulous records management for a publicly-accountable regulatory body and pointed out that it is likely in the best interest of a teacher to have a record of a frivolous complaint.

Participants had many more questions on the membership fee, Professionally Speaking, teachers’ qualifications and professional standards before participants broke for a light lunch and cooler air in the lobby of the College offices. Shortly after Donna Marie Kennedy had opened the meeting, it became clear that the building’s air conditioning system was not coping well with the heat from the crowd, TV lights and an unseasonably warm day as the Council chamber grew oppressively warm.

All of the questions and answers from the Annual General Meeting have been posted on the College web site.


College Grants Initial Accreditation to Queen’s, Laurentian and Nipissing Teacher Education Programs

Panels of the College’s Accreditation Committee visited three university campuses this spring to conduct the first accreditation of the province’s faculties of education by the teaching profession. The accreditation panels conducted a wide-ranging review of the programs with the faculties and submitted reports to the Accreditation Committee of the College Council. On June 12, the committee approved:

That the Chair of the Accreditation Committee, in compliance with clause 5.03(h) of the Bylaws of the Ontario College of Teachers, direct the Registrar to award the status initial accreditation granted to Queen’s University for its one-year consecutive program and the four/five-year concurrent teacher education programs, including those operating in partnership with the University of Waterloo and Trent University.

That the Chair of the Accreditation Committee, in compliance with clause 5.03(h) of the Bylaws of the Ontario College of Teachers, direct the Registrar to award the status initial accreditation granted with conditions to Laurentian University for its one-year consecutive teacher education program.


That the University set up an action plan for enforcing the recommendations of the accreditation report. The plan must be submitted to the Ontario College of Teachers by December 1998. An annual report must be submitted to the College in June of every year until the initial accreditation period has ended. The report must outline the steps taken to carry out the recommendations, and the progress made.

That the Chair of the Accreditation Committee, in compliance with clause 5.03(h) of the Bylaws of the Ontario College of Teachers, direct the Registrar to award the status initial accreditation granted to Nipissing University for its one-year consecutive teacher education program.

For more information see Preparing Ontario’s Teachers.


College’s Scrutiny Protects the Public
and Upholds Teachers’ Qualifications

School boards across Ontario have assured the College that about 108 teachers will not be returning to the classroom in September because they are still not members in good standing of the College despite an intense months-long effort to validate their credentials.

The 108 are the only ones left from the 2,200 persons who held teaching positions across the province in February even though they were not College members in good standing. A special team of College staff worked with school board HR staff and the affected individuals to gather and evaluate their credentials.

Fraud investigators from two police forces are following up on the files submitted by two teachers after College staff discovered that the documents they had submitted appeared to be forged. The two have been employed by large school boards in southern Ontario.

The College undertook the massive verification of teachers’ credentials in February after school board payments for teachers were matched with qualified teachers on the College registry. About 2,200 teachers in Ontario classrooms were not on the College’s register, raising concerns that some of these teachers didn’t have the qualifications to teach in Ontario.

At the same time, parents complaints and media reports focused on the issue of non-teachers being routinely employed as supply teachers. Media scrutiny centred on the Dufferin-Peel Roman Catholic School Board, one of the largest in the province with more than 4,500 teachers, which had numerous non-teachers on its supply list despite a surplus of fully qualified and unemployed teachers in the region.

College Registrar Margaret Wilson praised the co-operation of school boards across the province. "Clearing up the problems with teachers’ credentials required considerable effort from the school boards and College staff. We appreciate the help we’ve received from the boards at a time when they were dealing with many other challenges.

"It appears the College will not need to pursue legal action and we’re very satisfied we could work with the boards to reduce the number of cases to 108."

Most of the 2,200 teachers identified in February were either not registered, held expired interim certificates, were suspended for non-payment of fees in 1997, had a letter of eligibility but no interim certificate, or were graduates of Ontario faculties in 1997 and had not completed the application process.

The College is Canada’s largest self-regulatory body with 165,000 members.


Jim Sherlock Appointed to College Council

sherlock.jpg (9984 bytes) Jim Sherlock was appointed as a public member of Council in May, replacing Alfred Lorenzi. Sherlock is a business administrator with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton and board chair of the Halton Catholic District School Board.

Sherlock holds an MEd from the University of Toronto and an MBA from McMaster University in Hamilton. He has also been

director of personnel with the city of Mississauga,the superintendent of business administration at the Hamilton-Wentworth Separate School Board and was a teacher and coach at Bishop Macdonell High School in Guelph.

Committees that Sherlock will sit on will be determined at Council’s next meeting on September 24.

Veteran Teacher Leads Membership Services Department

palazzi.jpg (15094 bytes) Lynda Palazzi is the College’s new Co-ordinator, Membership Services. She joined the College in July after serving as superintendent of schools with the Peel District School Board.

Palazzi is the executive in charge of the department responsible for evaluating credentials of new members, issuing certificates of registration and qualification, maintaining members’ records, and responding to telephone inquiries from College members, potential members and the public.

"Teachers in Ontario deserve the highest quality service that Canada’s largest regulatory body can provide them," says Palazzi. "Every member is unique and each has their own set of circumstances. When they call or write the College, they expect nothing less than professional service. The College will continue to provide that level of service.

"This is a new body. I realize many certificates contained errors when they were originally mailed to members. Staff have worked very hard to correct those errors. After all, ensuring that teachers’ certificates reflect their qualifications is paramount to the College’s mandate of serving the public interest."

Palazzi has been a teacher, academic director, principal, as well as superintendent in a number of different portfolios, including program and human resources. In May 1998, she was awarded the Brampton YMCA’s Women of Achievement Award in the category of education and training.


Discipline Panels Render First Decisions

The panels of the Discipline Committee involved in the College’s first disciplinary hearings have rendered their decisions in eight cases. The panels directed that a summary of the decisions and the reasons should be published in Professionally Speaking.

The Discipline Committee establishes panels to hear cases where complaints against College members of misconduct or incompetence have been referred for a hearing by the Investigation Committee. Each panel is composed of three members of the College Council – two elected teachers and one public member. The schedule of future hearings is posted on the Investigations and Hearings page of the College web site two weeks before the hearing date.

Summary of Decisions


College Authority Reaffirmed

The authority of the College in discipline matters applies to events that occurred before the creation of the College and the filing of the Professional Misconduct Regulation, a panel of the Discipline Committee ruled at a July 13 hearing.

Lawyer Paul Cavaluzzo, representing teacher George Fred Abdallah of Kent County, argued that the College did not have jurisdiction in the case as the College was created in 1997 and the Professional Misconduct Regulation did not come into force before December of the same year. Abdallah is facing seven counts of professional misconduct relating to sexual assault and confinement. The events took place in 1994.

Cavaluzzo challenged the College’s jurisdiction based on a number of judgements limiting the retrospective and retroactive authority of labour-related laws in Alberta and Ontario. He questioned the fairness of applying newly-adopted rules and taking punitive action for events that occurred before the rules were adopted.

College lawyer Tom Forbes contested the motion on two fronts. Citing Section 3 (2) of the Ontario College of Teachers Act, which states, "In its objects, the College has a duty to protect the public interest," Forbes argued that it would be fair to assume that the Ontario Legislature meant to give the College retrospective authority in serious matters like the one under consideration. Forbes said the College needed the retrospective authority to protect the public interest and not to punish people unduly.

Forbes added that while the College did not exist at the time the events occurred, the acts that resulted in the misconduct charge were a serious breach of the Education Act and would have resulted in disciplinary action under the previous system. He argued that in the Abdallah case, the Professional Misconduct Regulation did not put into place standards that did not exist before.

The hearing of the misconduct charge against Abdallah will resume later this fall.

Council Member Lynn Daigneault Steps Down

Elected member Lynn Daigneault resigned her position from Council on August 31. Daigneault was elected in February 1997 as a representative of supervisory officers. William Bryce, who finished second in the election, has indicated his willingness to represent supervisory officers on Council, replacing Daigneault.

"Lynn worked very hard with Council in helping to establish policies to guide the professional practice of teachers," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "We wish Lynn all the best in her future endeavours."

Daigneault served as a member of the Investigation Committee. She has taken early leave as superintendent of schools for the Earl Haig/Newtonbrook Family of Schools with the Toronto District School Board.

"It has been a professional honour representing supervisory officers on the first Council of the College," said Daigneault. "The processes now established by the College for accreditation, standards of practice, and investigations and discipline are of the highest calibre and will shape and strengthen the teaching profession in Ontario."

Change of Name Policy

The College can provide updated certificates free of charge for members who request a name change on the College’s records and their certificates. However, before the College can change names, members must provide the College with the information required by the Change of Name Act and College bylaws.


A member who has legally changed his or her name must provide either an original or a notarized copy of one of the following documents:

•a change of name certificate issued by Ontario’s Registrar-General

•a birth certificate

•a baptismal record (Québec)

•a Canadian Immigration Record

•a passport used to enter Canada.

Members married before April 1, 1987 may request the change of name on the College’s records by providing a document that provides proof of:

•the date and place of the marriage

•the surname of the member immediately before the marriage

•the surname of the member adopted on marriage.


Members married after April 1, 1987 who have chosen to take their spouse’s surname without following the legal procedure must provide a copy of the marriage certificate for the College to change their name on the College records.

This new policy, adopted by Council at its May 27 meeting, is effective immediately.

Members’ documents will not be returned. Original documents presented in person at the College’s walk-in counter can be authenticated and returned.

Clarification on Special Ed Requirements

In a story that appeared in the March 1998 edition of Professionally Speaking, "College Requirements for Special Education, Part 3," readers may have been left with the impression that only one year of teaching experience is required for a Special Education, Part 3 Additional Qualification.

This is not the case.

Teachers are required to hold a Special Education, Part 2 AQ and must have two years teaching experience, one of which must be in Special Education. The College will accept experience in either an integrated or segregated special education setting.

There is no change to Regulation 184/97. The only change is that the College will accept Special Ed experience gained in an integrated setting. The College regrets any confusion this may have caused.