Committees at Work

Investigation Committee, Discipline Committee, Fitness to Practise Committee

Investigation Committee, Discipline Committee, Fitness to Practise Committee

Three College committees share the responsibility of disposing of complaints against members of the teaching profession. This report provides detailed statistical information on the committees’ activities in 2016.

The Investigation Committee conducts reviews of information related to all complaints. The Discipline Committee holds hearings on complaints related to alleged professional misconduct or incompetence. The Fitness to Practise Committee holds hearings on complaints related to alleged incapacity.

Three-member panels make decisions by considering the information related to a complaint. The College maintains a roster of experienced panel members who may be called to serve on a panel, even though they may no longer be members of Council. The panels are comprised of a combination of elected and appointed Council members, and may include one member of the roster.

The College receives approximately 1,000 contacts annually from members of the public and the profession who raise issues concerning College members. About half of these concerns are resolved appropriately at the school or the local school board. The remaining half represent public and member complaints, as well as board reports, of which approximately 40 per cent are resolved at intake while the rest are dealt with by a panel of the Investigation Committee.

In 2016, the Investigation Committee disposed of 264 complaints, and the Discipline and Fitness to Practise committees disposed of 106 matters.

Introduction of The Protecting Students Act

In December 2016, the provincial government passed Bill 37, the Protecting Students Act, bringing long-sought changes into law to protect students. It will also make the College’s investigation and hearings processes and practices more efficient and open.

In addition to the passing of Bill 37 — and in line with its commitment to transparency and accountability — the College extended the availability of its disciplinary decisions on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) database. This free, bilingual and easily searchable database enables more efficient access to our decisions by the public and legal professionals.

Investigation Committee

Under the direction of the Investigation Committee, College staff investigate complaints in a fair and impartial manner.

College investigators present the information gathered to an Investigation Committee panel. The panel has the authority to take one of the following actions in a complaint:

Discipline Committee

The Discipline Committee considers allegations of incompetence and professional misconduct that are referred to it by the Investigation Committee (and sometimes by the Executive Committee). If a panel of the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence it may do one or more of the following:

Following findings of professional misconduct only, the committee may also:

As at least one panel member is an appointed member of Council, the public is ensured a role in the hearings process. The panel is also comprised of at least one elected member of Council. The panel makes decisions by considering the evidence related to the allegations and submissions of the College and the member.

Discipline Committee hearings are open to the public.

Fitness to Practise Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee hears matters and determines if a member’s physical or mental condition makes them unfit to carry out professional responsibilities, or if a member’s teaching certificate should be made subject to terms, conditions or limitations. Fitness to Practise hearings are not open to the public in accordance with the Ontario College of Teachers Act. The panels make decisions by considering the evidence related to the allegations and submissions of the College and the member.

If a panel of the Fitness to Practise Committee finds a member to be incapacitated, it may direct the Registrar to revoke the member’s teaching certificate, suspend the certificate for up to two years, or impose terms, conditions or limitations on the certificate.

Complaint Resolution

When a case is deemed suitable and the parties agree, the College uses voluntary complaint resolution to resolve complaints. The Complaint Resolution program is available at all stages of the complaint process and may be an effective alternative to an extended investigation. Complaints are disposed of through the ratification of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by a statutory committee of the College. Participation in the program occurs without prejudice to the parties.

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