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Professionalism and Ethics - A Members' Obligations

Regulation made under the Teaching Profession Act – Ontario Teachers’ Federation

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Section 18(1)(b) of the Regulation made under the Teaching Profession Act states that a member shall, “on making an adverse report on another member furnish him (her) with a written statement of the report at the earliest possible time and not later than three days after making the report.”

Does This Include Principals and Vice-Principals?

Principals and vice-principals are not members of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and therefore do not meet the criteria of 18(1)(b).

However, members are encouraged to inform principals and vice-principals if they make an adverse report about a principal or vice-principal. It is the professional thing to do.

Ontario College of Teachers

Principals and vice-principals are members of the Ontario College of Teachers. A principal or vice-principal could make a complaint of professional misconduct concerning another member of the College if they believe that a member has not acted ethically.

Does 18(1)(b) Apply to Teachers in Their Role as Parents?

Yes, you would have to inform the teacher in writing within 72 hours as outlined in Section 18(1)(b) of the Regulation made under the Teaching Profession Act. You should go to the teacher to discuss whatever concern you have, just as you yourself would expect any parent to come to you first, rather than going to the principal. It may be that your concerns could be cleared up at this point. If not, you still have the option of going to the principal, but you must then inform your child’s teacher of the substance of your conversation in writing within three days, assuming that this conversation is critical of the teacher. It would also be appropriate to inform the teacher if you intend to discuss matters further with the principal. You may also wish to consider including the teacher in the meeting with the principal.

Are There Any Exceptions to The 18(1)(b) Obligation?

Yes. The Student Protection Act 2002 added a new subsection (2) to s.12 of the Teaching Profession Act … a member who makes an adverse report about another member respecting suspected sexual abuse of a student by that other member need NOT provide him or her with a copy of the report or with any information about the report.

This makes it clear that the obligation to notify another teacher in writing of an adverse report does not apply to allegations of sexual abuse of students.

What to Do

If you have reason to believe that a colleague has made an adverse report about you and has not informed you of this within 72 hours, consider:  

  1. speaking to the teacher about your concerns; and
  2. calling ETFO’s Professional Relations staff for advice.

Professionalism is at the core of our being as teachers. Professionals support each other and approach problems with the attitude that they can work together to solve their concerns. Maintaining professionalism should be foremost in the way you conduct yourself in the workplace.

If you have any questions or concerns about your ethical obligations, contact Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at 416-962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836 for additional advice.