101 Bloor Street West
Toronto ON, M5S 0A1
P: 416-961-8800
Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222
F: 416-961-8822
info@oct.ca

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Find a Teacher

Your Membership

Register in the Members' section

You can find up-to-date information about College affairs on our website, where you can also open a personal password-protected account in the Members’ section. 

When you activate or establish your account in the Members’ section, you gain secure access to a range of growing services that will help you maintain and track information important to your membership in the College. You can print your updated Certificate of Qualification and Registration, see your member profile page, print a tax receipt or inform the College of any change to your home address and other personal information.

You can also receive the College’s electronic newsletter, Your College and You. It gives you early access to new developments in the activities of the College and the profession.

Update your email address

Have you updated your email address on the College website? An up-to-date address allows us to send you the latest College and professional news that may affect you as a teacher in Ontario. And if you keep your email address current,we can also send you an email every time your Certificate of Qualification and Registration is updated with Additional Qualifications. 

Tell us about changes

For the College to maintain accurate and current records, it is essential that you inform us about changes to your personal information or qualifications. College bylaws require that you notify the College – within 30 days – of any change of information, such as an address or name change. The name you are practising under must be the same name that appears on the College’s register Find a Teacher. 

Need-to-know news

To participate in the College’s activities and to learn more about interesting initiatives in our profession, turn to the College’s award-winning quarterly magazine, Professionally Speaking, where you will find inspiring stories from your colleagues across the province, useful articles and resources, and news about changes to education policy.

Member discounts

OCT MemberPerks® gives you instant access to a growing list of hundreds of discounts from brand name stores and local shops nationwide. Whether online or on the go, be sure to check perks before you shop, eat or play.

Your College Membership

Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand for every one of our 230,000 members. We encourage our members to participate in College activities. The College communicates regularly through print and electronic means to keep you up to date on the benefits and obligations of being a teaching professional.

Your Membership in the College

Everyone teaching in Ontario’s publicly funded schools or whose work requires an Ontario teaching certificate must be an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT). This requirement applies to principals, vice-principals, consultants, academic supervisory officers, directors of education and teachers, whether they are full-time, part-time or long-term occasional employees.

Teachers working in private schools or in universities or community colleges where a licence to teach is not a condition of employment may join the College for the benefit of holding a current licence and belonging to their professional body. Many independent schools require the teachers they hire to be members of the College.

Register in the Members’ section

You can find up-to-date information about College affairs on our website at www.oct.ca, where you can also open a personal password-protected account in the Members’ section.

If you register in the Members’ section you gain secure access to a growing range of services that will help you maintain and track information important to your membership in the College. You can:

  • print your updated Certificate of Qualification and Registration
  • see your member profile page
  • inform the College of any change to your home address and other contact information
  • print a tax receipt for your annual membership fee
  • give us your email address to receive the College’s electronic newsletter for members
  • contact Membership Services
  • vote in College elections
  • request books and videos online from the College library
  • access databases of full-text journal articles.

Update your email address

Have you updated your email address? An up-to-date address allows us to send you the latest College and professional news that may affect you as a teacher in Ontario.

email is now an official means of communication for the College. Some news is only communicated through email so it’s important for you to provide us with your most current email.

Keep informed on professional matters

Read the Governing Ourselves pages in Professionally Speaking to keep up to date on Council decisions that may affect your membership. Read any professional advisories that the College may issue to its members. Professional advisories are available on the College website and are distributed via Professionally Speaking.

Maintain your membership

You must keep your College membership in good standing to receive your annual Certificate of Qualification and Registration, which is your licence to teach.

Annual fees are due on January 1 of each year, and you must pay the fee by April 15. The December issue of Professionally Speaking carries a reminder that the College’s annual licensing fee is coming due.

By the end of January, employers have deducted and forwarded to the College the membership fee for their full-time and long-term occasional teachers, principals, vice-principals, academic supervisory officers and consultants. Some private schools and the Provincial Schools Authority also deduct the annual fee for their employees.

In mid-February all members of the College who have not yet paid their annual membership fee are sent a reminder that their fee is due. You are responsible for keeping your membership in good standing, so check that the payroll deduction is made.

If you are not eligible for payroll deduction, you must make sure to pay your own fee by April 15.

After April 15, the College will change the status of members who have not paid their annual fee to Suspended – Non-Payment of Fees. Members suspended for non-payment of fees will not be
eligible to work in publicly funded schools. Suspended members must pay the annual fee and a reinstatement fee to reinstate their membership and return to good standing.

Methods of payment

  • Quickest and easiest for you is web banking/telephone banking. Add the Ontario College of Teachers as a payee to your bill payment listing with your financial institution.
  • Visa, MasterCard or AMEX is available 24/7 via the College website. Our online payment system meets banking-industry standards for security and privacy, and you will get a receipt immediately.
  • You can also pay over the phone 24/7 using the College’s automated voice system. Just call the College (416-961-8800 or 1-888-534-2222 in Ontario) and follow the voice prompts to the payment system, where you will be guided through the payment process automatically. Our automated voice system ensures that the College protects the security and privacy of your financial information.
  • You can also pay by cheque, payable to the Ontario College of Teachers. You must write your registration number on the cheque and mail it to: Ontario College of Teachers, 101 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 0A1. Post-dated cheques will not be accepted.
  • Or you may visit the College’s Client Services Welcome Counter on the 14th floor at 101 Bloor Street West in Toronto to pay in person by cheque, credit card, cash or direct debit. The College is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday.

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Tax receipts

The annual membership fee is tax-deductible. The tax deduction covers the membership fee for the calendar year – January 1 to December 31. You receive your Certificate of Qualification and Registration and annual Ontario Certified Teacher card in the mail. You can print an income tax receipt. You are not required to submit your tax receipt with your return.

Tell us about changes

For the College to maintain accurate and current records, it is essential that our members inform us about changes to their personal information or qualifications.

College bylaws require that you notify the College – within 30 days – of any change of information, such as address or name change. The name you are practising under must be the same name that appears on the College’s register under Find a Teacher.

You may make changes to your contact information online once you register in the Members’ section of the College website. 

You may also change your contact information by calling the College at 416-961-8800 or (toll-free in Ontario) 1-888-534-2222. If, however, you notify the College of changes in writing, please be sure to sign your request. This protects your private information. Unsigned requests for changes to personal information and qualifications cannot
be processed.

In the event of a member’s death, we require official notification from the executor of the member’s estate to change our records.

Become involved in the work of your College

As a member of the Ontario College of Teachers, you have a voice in how it regulates the practice of teaching.

Your participation can range from running for a place on Council to writing an article for Professionally Speaking.

The College occasionally asks members to contribute to the work of a committee or panel. Look for invitations to apply for these positions in the College magazine or on our website at www.oct.ca. We may also invite members to join feedback sessions, participate in surveys or provide written comments on drafts of policy documents.

All members are invited to attend the College’s annual meeting of members, which is announced in Professionally Speaking and on the College website. Council meetings are open to members and the public.

Elections

The College Council has 37 members, 23 of whom are elected by College members every three years.

The Notice of the Election and Call for Nominations, as well as information on all the candidates, are published in Professionally Speaking and on our website.

The elected Council positions are divided into separate electoral categories. Each position has its own nomination criteria to ensure adequate geographic, elementary, secondary and system representation.

There are two positions each – one for full-time members and the other for full-time or part-time members – for Northwest, Northeast, Southcentral, Southeast, Southwest and Central Ontario. There are a total of seven representatives for the various English-and French-language public and Catholic elementary and secondary school systems. There is one position each to represent principals/vice-principals, supervisory officers, and members who teach in private schools and faculties of education.

College members are eligible to cast two votes for their regional representatives. Members may also vote for one of the four additional category positions if they hold the requisite qualifications and are employed in one of the specified positions. All other members are eligible to vote for each of the seven system and panel positions.

A College member interested in running for election must be in good standing with the College, reside in Ontario and meet the specific requirements for the position. No member may stand for election for more than one position.

Voting is conducted online through the College’s highly secure website. The College website uses the same level of encryption used by banks and credit card companies and keeps your member information and your vote secure and secret. To vote, you need only log in to your private, password-protected account in the Members’ section of the College website.

The College encourages all its members to consider nominating someone or to run for a place on the Council. It is your right to participate in the business of your self-governing professional body.

Services for members

All the information the College shares with its members is posted on the College website. If you are looking for information about the College or your membership in the College, the website should be your first stop.

Besides the information available online – including full-text issues of Professionally Speaking – information about the Council and committee members, the accreditation process and the Find a Teacher section of the website, as well as a range of services, is available through the password-protected Members’ section.

Once you activate or establish your account in the Members’ section, you can access your member information, update your address and phone number and print updated copies of your Certificate of Qualification and Registration. You can also give us an email address, which the College will use to send you information, such as news releases, or to issue updates in our electronic newsletter, Your College and You.  

The College treats your email and postal addresses as confidential information and does not make them available to anyone.

Member discounts

OCT MemberPerks® gives you instant access to a growing list of hundreds of discounts from brand name stores and local shops nationwide. Whether online or on the go, be sure to check perks before you shop, eat or play.

Updating member records

To protect your private information, we require that some requests for changes be made in writing and be supported by official documents. Without a signature we will not process your request. However, you can update contact information such as residential and email addresses and phone number online through your Members’ section account.

Your certificate

The most current version of your teaching certificate appears on the College’s website.

As with other professional licences, your teaching certificate must be renewed annually. To maintain your good-standing status with the College, your membership fee is due each year on January 1. Most employers (school boards, school authorities, private schools, and so on) automatically deduct the fee from your pay if you are employed full-time. You should consult your employer to find out if your fee will be deducted automatically. If not, look for reminders in our magazine, Professionally Speaking, and via email.

Once we receive your annual fee payment, we will mail you a new OCT card and a copy of your teaching certificate. You can print additional copies of your certificate or an income tax receipt from your account in the secure Members’ section of the College website.

You may use the Request to Update Registry Information form available on our website to let us know that information on your certificate requires updating, such as qualifications earned in Ontario, a degree or a program of teacher education.

Qualifications and degree names appear on the public register and on your certificate as they were reported by the provider or granting institution. Printing your own updated certificate from the Members’ section at www.oct.ca is free and can be done 24/7. Or you can ask the College to print and mail you an updated copy of your certificate for a fee.

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Changing your name

The name you are practising under should be the same name that appears on your certificate. College bylaws require that you inform the College of any name change. If you wish to register a legal change of name with the College, we will need a copy of one of these documents:

  • Change of Name Certificate
  • court order made under change of name legislation
  • birth certificate
  • certificate of baptism if born in Québec, Newfoundland or Labrador (prior to January 1994).

If you have married and chosen to take your spouse’s surname and want to change your name on the College’s records, we will need a photocopy of your marriage certificate. If you wish to revert to a former name, you may ask for a change of name on the College’s records by supplying a photocopy of a Change of Name Certificate or one of the other documents listed above. If your marriage certificate is issued in a language other than English or French, you must submit an original acceptable translation. For translation requirements, please see the Members' section.

You may bring the original document to the College’s Client Services Welcome Counter, where a copy will be made and submitted with a Request to Update Registry Information form. If you apply by mail, you will need to include a copy of the document, with the Request to Update Registry Information form.

Reinstatement procedure

Members who have not paid their annual fee by April 15 will have their status with the College changed to Suspended – Non-Payment of Fees.

Once suspended for non-payment of fees, a member can be reinstated immediately by accessing the secure payment page on our website, at www.oct.ca, or by phone via the College’s automated payment system. A member may also be reinstated by filling in a Membership Reinstatement form, found on the College website, and paying a reinstatement fee along with the annual membership fee.

You may also pay in person or mail in a cheque or money order.

Suspended members do not receive their annual Certificate of Qualification and Registration and are not licensed to teach in publicly funded schools in Ontario.

They are not permitted to use the professional designation OCT – Ontario Certified Teacher.

Members who were certified by the Ministry of Education but never registered with the College may also be reinstated. For further information, please call the College.

This reinstatement procedure does not apply to a former member whose certificate has expired or may have been revoked as a result of a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity after a hearing before the Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees. For information on this process, please call the College.

Replacing a certificate

You can print your own duplicate from the Members’ section for free, 24/7.

Statement of Professional Standing

If you want to provide information to another jurisdiction about your status as a teacher in Ontario, you can get a Statement of Professional Standing from the College. The statement includes information about your academic and professional qualifications. It indicates your professional standing with the College and whether your certificate has ever been cancelled, revoked or suspended for cause.

To request a Statement of Professional Standing, you can fill out the form. You can also write to the College to request a Statement of Professional Standing and include a fee*. Please state your address, your College registration number and the name and address of the person or institution to whom you want the statement mailed.

A quick, no-cost alternative is to direct prospective employers to the College website so they can check your credentials immediately on the Find a Teacher section of the website. This section confirms your status with the College and your professional qualifications.

Release of Personal Information

The College’s privacy code allows you to gain access to copies of documents we have as part of your file. You can print a Request for Release of Personal Information form. There is a fee for this service.*

 *Current fees are listed here.

Forms you may need

College forms are available here. You can also request any forms by calling Client Services at 416-961-8800 or toll-free in Ontario at 1-888-534-2222, or sending an email to info@oct.ca

Looking for a job?

Access Jobs in Education, a collection of websites that post teaching jobs in Ontario. These four sites – Education Canada, Jobs in Education, Apply To Education and Workopolis – also offer other useful services like resumé posting, custom-tailored job searches and information on certification, salary ranges and jobs by geographical location.

School boards from every province are now posting jobs on all these sites, which are also officially recognized by the Ministry of Education as fulfilling the requirements for advertising vacant teaching positions.

Margaret Wilson Library

The Margaret Wilson Library collection of English and French publications covers a broad range of education subjects, including classroom management, leadership, ethical standards and standards of practice, teaching strategies, mentoring and working with students with special needs. They are available for borrowing free of charge by mail or in person.

The library supports the professional learning of College members and the work of the College Council, committees and staff. Besides more than 8,000 education-related books and videos, you will find:

  • 200 professional journals and general periodicals
  • more than 700 French-language books, videos and journals
  • a searchable online catalogue
  • full-text databases through EBSCO Information Services
  • Council records
  • a provincial legislation collection
  • government documents including Statistics Canada publications
  • newspapers, both in print and online
  • several work stations with Internet access
  • WiFi for your own laptop.

You can browse our full catalogue and request, renew and track materials online.

New premium research service

You can electronically access up-to-date, premium content in any subject area. The library provides direct access for you to EBSCO, the world’s foremost research database service. Full-text articles are at your fingertips any time of the day or night, free for College members. Previously, you had to email a request to the College. Now, you can log in with your Members’ section information and get immediate access to over 8,000 full-text journals, 700 full-text newspapers and 317,000 full-text education documents. If you’re keen to read the latest issues of magazines or journals, you can create an account with EBSCO and receive alerts for new issues.

Using the Library in Toronto

The library is located at the Ontario College of Teachers, 12th floor, 101 Bloor Street West in Toronto. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. You do not have to make an appointment to use the library. However, calling ahead will let the staff prepare for your visit and set aside time to orient you.

For members who are unable to return materials during library hours, there is a drop box behind the building, off s St. Thomas Street. The drop box is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you can’t get to the College

The library provides many services on the Internet and is continually adding more. The library catalogue, conference listings, a monthly listing of new acquisitions, links to web-based journals and video holdings are examples.

The library also sends items by mail or will fax to members who do not have Internet access or for services not available through the Internet.

We’ll mail books and videos postage-free to your home or school address. Use the special return-mailing label and you can mail books back to the library, again at no charge.

Some of the library’s services are:

  • results of searches done by staff
  • updates on the status of legislation and regulations
  • conference calendars
  • contact information for education associations and stakeholders
  • loans of books and videos by mail.

Policies on service

  • Library materials are available on loan to members only. A loan is for three weeks and is limited to eight items.
  • Faculty of education students may use the library on site for reference but have no lending privileges.
  • Magazines do not go out on loan.
  • Your College membership number is also your library access number.
  • Fees for copier and printer use are 20 cents a page. Please bring your Ontario Certified Teacher’s card with you when you visit the library.
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Communicating with you

Professionally Speaking

Professionally Speaking is the definitive source of need-to-know information for teachers in Ontario. This award-winning, full-colour magazine is published quarterly in English and French. The French edition is Pour parler profession. The magazine provides a forum for the discussion of issues relevant to the future of teaching and learning, teachers’ professional learning and standards of practice. Every issue contains many suggestions for teachers on where to find useful books, articles, conferences or seminars and websites.

Professionally Speaking/Pour parler profession has one of the largest readerships of education magazines in North America. Current and past issues are available online. Currently, advertising revenues pay more than half the cost of producing and mailing the magazine to members. The per member annual cost for four issues – including postage – is $2.94.


Professionally Speaking is a rich source of book reviews, articles, web references and other teaching aids.

The College is required by law to formally notify each member of Council meetings and keep you up to date on decisions made by the College Council and committees. This information is contained in the magazine’s Governing Ourselves pages. They carry information about College activities, including accreditation reviews of teacher education programs, results of disciplinary hearings, notification of Council resolutions, financial reports, professional advisories and changes in College policy that affect you as a teacher.



Contributing to the magazine

Professionally Speaking welcomes contributions from College members but normally receives many more articles than can be used. An editorial board appointed by the College Council reviews all contributions and selects the articles to be published.

Contributions should be approximately 1,500 words in length. They must be submitted in electronic format, either on disk or sent by email to ps@oct.ca. Articles may be in French or English.

Your College and You

The College’s electronic newsletter, Your College and You, keeps our members up to date on changes to policies and procedures governing the profession, and provides information on issues relevant to teachers. The newsletter is sent monthly to members who have provided their email address through the Members’ section and who opt to receive this e-news service.

Other publications

The College produces a number of other publications, each with a specific focus – annual reports, this handbook for new members, Thinking About Teaching? to guide those who want to enter the profession, news releases, registration guides for applicants for College membership, brochures on the investigations and hearings processes, professional, and research documents and reports.

Conferences and other events

Listings of conferences are found here. To list your conference, send the information to library@oct.ca as far in advance of the event as you can.

Professional Advisory
Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media

 The Council of the Ontario College of Teachers approved this professional advisory on February 23, 2011.

This advisory applies to all members of the Ontario College of Teachers, including but not limited to teachers, consultants, vice-principals, principals, supervisory officers, directors of education and those working in non-school-board positions.

Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media

This professional advisory is intended to provide a context for the responsible, professional use of electronic communication and social media by members of the College.

For the purposes of this advisory, electronic communication and social media encompass software, applications (including those running on mobile devices), email and websites, which enable users to interact, create and exchange information online. Examples include, but are not limited to, sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Wikipedia, Picasa and MySpace.

Introduction

Electronic communication and social media create new options for extending and enhancing education. However, as the number of channels of communication in society increases rapidly, so does the rate of misuse. Professional boundaries can blur. Even the most experienced members may be susceptible to unintentional mistakes.

Maintaining professional boundaries in all forms of communication, technology-related or not, is vital to maintaining the public trust and appropriate professional relationships with students. Members must be aware of the numerous challenges and the ramifications associated with the use of electronic communication and social media.

It is the purpose of this advisory to identify potential dangers and to offer suggestions about how to avoid them.

The Starting Point

This professional advisory supports the College’s Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession and Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession. The standards, which were developed by members of the College and members of the public, guide and inform Ontario’s teaching practitioners.

The ethical standards – in which care, trust, respect and integrity are the cornerstones – identify ethical responsibilities and commitments. “Members express their commitment to students’ well-being and learning through positive influence, professional judgment and empathy in practice,” the standards say in reference to care. Honesty, reliability and moral action are embodied in the ethical standard of integrity.

The standards of practice guide the professional judgment and actions of the teaching profession.

New Frontiers in Teaching and Learning

Electronic communication and social media can be effective when used cautiously and professionally. They serve a range of purposes, from helping students and parents/guardians access assignments and resources related to classroom studies to connecting with classrooms in other communities and countries.  

Members also use the Internet and social networking sites as instructional tools and for professional development, seeking information on lesson plans, new developments and methodologies.

However, the most popular social media applications were not created specifically for educational purposes and their use can expose members to risk when it comes to maintaining professionalism. It is up to members to know and respect proper professional boundaries with students, even when students initiate electronic interaction.

Private vs. Professional

There is a distinction between the professional and private life of a teacher. Practitioners are individuals with private lives, however, off-duty conduct matters. Sound judgment and due care should be exercised.

Teaching is a public profession. Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that teachers’ off-duty conduct, even when not directly related to students, is relevant to their suitability to teach1. Members should maintain a sense of professionalism at all times – in their personal and professional lives.

Professional Vulnerability

Practitioners can be vulnerable to unintended misuses of electronic communication. Social media encourage casual dialogue. Even the most innocent actions can be easily misconstrued or manipulated. The immediacy and simplicity of a text message, for example, may lead to longer, informal conversations. Rules may relax and informal salutations may replace time-respected forms of professional address.

Electronic messages are not anonymous. They can be tracked, misdirected, manipulated and live forever on the Internet. Social media sites create and archive copies of every piece of content posted, even when deleted from online profiles. Once information is digitized, the author relinquishes all control.

The use of the Internet and social media, despite best intentions, may cause members to forget their professional responsibilities and the unique position of trust and authority given to them by society. The dynamic between a member and a student is forever changed when the two become “friends” in an online environment.

Members should never share information with students in any environment that they would not willingly and appropriately share in a school or school-related setting or in the community.

Online identities and actions are visible to the public and can result in serious repercussions or embarrassment. As the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario notes, users may intend to share their online existence solely within their own network, but in theory anyone can access the users’ musings, photos and information. Further, the words can be altered, forwarded and misquoted.

Criminal and Civil Law Implications

Inappropriate use of electronic communication and social media can also result in a member being criminally charged and convicted or facing civil action. Examples of actions and resulting charges are:

  • making inappropriate online comments that lead to civil actions, such as defamation
  • disclosing confidential information about the school, students and colleagues, thus breaching workplace privacy policies and provisions of the Education Act
  • posting the work of others without proper attribution, raising copyright-violation issues
  • breaching a court-ordered publication ban
  • inciting hatred against an identifiable group
  • disclosing information about a minor, contrary to the Youth Criminal Justice Act
  • using technology to harass a student, colleague or others, contrary to the Criminal Code
  • using a computer to lure a child or for juvenile prostitution under the Criminal Code
  • exchanging or forwarding compromising photos, videos or audio recordings of students leading to charges of possession or distribution of child pornography.

Electronic communication and social media can also be used as evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. The findings and orders of a criminal or civil proceeding are used as evidence in College disciplinary hearings.

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Disciplinary Implications

The College’s disciplinary process is based on the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair hearing. However, intentional or inadvertent misuse of social media and electronic communication could have serious disciplinary consequences professionally.

Inappropriate online, email and telephone conversations between members and others, including students, colleagues, parents/guardians, employers, family and friends, expose members to the possibility of disciplinary action. Cellphone use, for example, is one of the largest entry-level gateways to the distribution of child pornography. Even one-time errors in judgment involving the exchange of photos, videos, audio recordings or comments of a personal nature may lead to a complaint of professional misconduct.

Inappropriate use of emails and other forms of electronic communication have been used as evidence in disciplinary cases and cited in findings of professional misconduct. Some behaviours that have warranted disciplinary measures include:

  • inappropriate electronic communication with students, colleagues, parents/guardians and others
  • sending graphic sexual materials electronically to students
  • using school equipment to access, view or download pornography, including child pornography
  • luring students and non-students via the Internet, as defined by the Criminal Code.

The Ontario College of Teachers Act and the Student Protection Act include “behaviour or remarks of a sexual nature by a member towards a student” in the definition of sexual abuse. Thus, some behaviours that do not include any physical contact can be considered to be sexual abuse, and remarks of a sexual nature communicated online fall within the definition of sexual abuse.

Members have been found to have groomed a student for sexual purposes, using electronic messages to gradually win a student’s confidence and establish an inappropriate relationship.

Even if a member waits until the student has graduated before a sexual relationship occurs, the electronic communications with the student could result in findings of professional misconduct against the member.

Minimizing the Risks: Advice to Members

Interact with students appropriately

  • As a digital citizen, model the behaviour you expect to see online from your students.
  • Alert students to appropriate online behaviour and the proper use of comments and images.
  • Maintain your professional persona by communicating with students electronically at appropriate times of the day and through established education platforms (for example, a web page dedicated to a school program, project or class rather than a personal profile).
  • Maintain a formal, courteous and professional tone in all communications with students to ensure that professional boundaries with students are maintained.
  • Avoid exchanging private texts, phone numbers, personal email addresses or photos of a personal nature with students.
  • Decline student-initiated “friend” requests and do not issue “friend” requests to students.
  • Notify parents/guardians before using social networks for classroom activities. Let them know about the platforms you use in your class to connect with students and consider giving them access to group pages. 

Understand privacy concerns

  • Operate in all circumstances online as a professional – as you would in the community.
  • Manage the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts. Privacy settings can shift and change without notice. Check the settings frequently.
  • Assume that information you post can be accessed or altered.
  • Ensure that the privacy settings for content and photos are set appropriately and monitor who is able to post to any of your social media locations. Students should not be among those who are allowed to view or post on it. Remember, no privacy mechanism is guaranteed.
  • Monitor regularly all content you or others post to your social media accounts and remove anything that is inappropriate.
  • Ask others not to tag you on any photographs without your permission.
  • Ask others to remove any undesirable content related to you.

Act professionally

  • Consider whether any posting may reflect poorly on you, your school or the teaching profession.
  • Be transparent and authentic. Use your true professional identity at all times. Even if you create a false identity, courts can compel disclosure of your true identity.
  • Avoid online criticism about students, colleagues, your employer or others within the school community.
  • Avoid impulsive, inappropriate or heated comments.
  • Ensure that your comments do not incite others to make discriminatory or other professionally unacceptable comments.
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of student information.
  • Be aware of your employer’s applicable policies and programs regarding the use of social media/e-communications and the appropriate use of electronic equipment. Even if your employer has no applicable policy, it is your responsibility to exercise good judgment.

Important questions to ask yourself

  • When interacting with students electronically am I using electronic communication and social media to enhance their learning or to satisfy a personal need?
  • What are my reasons for sharing this information with a student – are they professional or are they personal?
  • Is this picture or comment something I would be comfortable with my students, their parents/guardians, my supervisor, my family or the media seeing?
  • Would my peers or supervisors consider what I have posted as reasonable and professional?
  • Would I communicate this way in my community?
  • Are the photos, videos or audio recordings I am posting susceptible to misrepresentation or manipulation?
  • Am I keeping current in my awareness and knowledge of social media technology developments to protect myself from misuse?

Members should be able to answer this: How does my online presence – that which I control and that which is posted by others – reflect my professionalism, and how does it reflect on the teaching profession?

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