Our Mandate column offers members information about particular aspects of the College’s responsibilities as a self-regulatory body and explains how we carry them out.

Eight FAQs to keep you informed

Q: Why does the College continue to certify teachers when thousands are unemployed?

A: We are required to certify qualified candidates to become teachers in Ontario. It is part of our mandate. Licensing teachers is one of 11 responsibilities defined in the Ontario College of Teachers Act, which the legislature approved in 1996.

The College complies fully with the interprovincial labour mobility agreement and the Ontario Fairness Commissioner’s recommendations about the certification of internationally educated professionals.

Q: What are you doing to address the lack of jobs for teachers?

A: Since 2001 the College has conducted annual Transition to Teaching studies that take the pulse of the teaching profession in Ontario. We survey teachers in their first five years in the profession.

The Ministry of Education uses the information about trends and directions in these studies for policy decisions. We write about the results every year in this magazine, and the full study is posted on our web site. The College is committed to providing relevant information to our membership so that you can remain informed about your profession – past, present and future.

Doing this research and publishing the results falls within the College’s mandate. Creating jobs for teachers, however, does not.

Q: How many teachers are currently certified in Ontario?

A: More than 225,000.

Q: What are my best chances for finding work?

A: New graduates who can teach in French continue to enjoy more first-year success than others, with over half of them finding regular teaching jobs. But our statistics show that for the first time in six years the rate of first-year, regular job success for French-language teachers has plunged – to 51 per cent from 72 per cent the previous year.

You can accumulate further skills and improve your job prospects by taking some of the 350-plus Additional Qualification courses accredited by the College.

Q: Are teachers struggling to find work just in Ontario or in other parts of the world as well?

A: New teachers are facing tough job prospects worldwide. In Scotland the number of new teachers finding permanent employment has dropped to one in five. In Queensland, Australia nine out of 10 teaching graduates were unable to secure permanent jobs. England’s Training and Development Agency for Schools says that fewer than 45 per cent of new primary teachers in England have found permanent jobs.

Q: Has the new labour mobility law led to an influx of teachers applying to teach in Ontario?

A: No. We’re monitoring the situation, and our statistics to date for 2010 reflect no jump in the number of applicants from other Canadian provinces or territories. The College certifies 400 to 500 teachers from other Canadian jurisdictions every year.

Q: Why did you remove the 194-day teaching in Ontario requirement for applicants and teachers from other jurisdictions? Don’t they need some experience in Ontario classrooms?

A: Removing the 194-day teaching requirement reduces barriers for teachers from other jurisdictions and allows internationally educated teachers to obtain permanent certification faster.

There is a new requirement that they must attest to knowledge of teaching in Ontario.

We’re honouring the credentials that internationally educated teachers have worked hard to achieve.

Q: Why are people still applying to universities to get their teaching degrees if job prospects are poor?

A: Applications to teacher education programs have dipped. There were fewer than 12,000 applicants to Ontario’s consecutive teacher education programs in 2009, down from about 16,000 applications in the previous three years.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities plans to cut 1,000 spots from teacher education over the next couple of years. That’s the Ministry’s mandate, not the College’s.