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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Decision Glossary

The College’s investigation of complaints and hearings are conducted under the Ontario College of Teachers Act. Our hearings are also subject to the Statutory Powers Procedure Act. Each phase of the process has a specialized vocabulary as outlined below.

1. Before a hearing

  • Registrar's Complaint: a formal complaint against a member made by the Registrar, typically arising after receiving a report from an employer / school board.
  • Public Complaint: a complaint arising following the review of information provided by a member of the public after completing the online concern or complaint form.
  • Complaint Resolution: the voluntary, without prejudice process through which suitable complaints are resolved by way of agreement, without an investigation or hearing. Outcomes protect the public interest and mirror Investigation Committee decisions reached after investigations of matters of a similar nature.
  • Without Prejudice: indicates that no information shared during the complaint resolution process will form part of the investigation or hearing record in relation to the member if complaint resolution does not successfully resolve the complaint.
  • Memorandum of Agreement (MOA): the end result of complaint resolution. An MOA between the College and the member resolves all issues raised by the complaint. Such agreements must protect the public interest and only become final and binding upon adoption by the Investigation Committee.
  • Resolution by Undertaking: a process by which incompetence complaints are resolved at the Investigation Committee stage by way of an undertaking given by the member to take courses and take other appropriate measures, with the College taking no further action with respect to the complaint.
  • The Investigation Committee (the College's complaint screening committee): conducts reviews of information gathered during investigations and can dispose of matters at the Investigations stage, which requires no hearing.
  • Undertaking to Resign and Never to Reapply: the Investigation Committee agrees not to investigate a matter in exchange for the member resigning from the College and agreeing never to reapply for membership.
  • Conduct medical inquiries: the Investigation Committee can make medical inquiries regarding members who may be incapacitated.

2. Case has been referred to a disciplinary hearing

  • Professional Misconduct: allegation(s) that may be brought against a member in a Notice of Hearing. Behaviour that constitutes professional misconduct is set out in the Ontario College of Teachers Act and in Ontario Regulation 437/97: Professional Misconduct.
  • Incompetence: an allegation that may be brought against a member in a Notice of Hearing. A member may be found to be incompetent if they have displayed in their professional responsibilities a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment or disregard for the welfare of a student or students to the extent that they are unfit to continue to carry out their professional responsibilities or that their certificate should be made subject to terms, conditions or limitations.
  • Notice of Hearing: legal document issued by the College and served on the member outlining the allegation(s) against them, along with information about scheduling the hearing date and the location of the hearing.
  • Withdrawing the Notice of Hearing: the College can withdraw a Notice of Hearing. This happens most commonly if the College may not be able to prove that a member committed professional misconduct or is incompetent. A withdrawn Notice of Hearing may be re-issued in the future.
  • Resignation / Cancellation of Membership: a member may resign their membership, automatically resulting in the cancellation of that membership. This will not automatically stop or stay any investigation or other disciplinary proceeding.  The College maintains jurisdiction over former members in matters of professional misconduct, incompetence and incapacity.

3. During a disciplinary hearing

  • Panel: if a complaint has been investigated, and is referred to the Discipline Committee, a three-member panel of members of the public and the profession hears and decides the case.
  • Guilty Plea: the member admits all or some of the allegations against them and that those allegations amount to professional misconduct or incompetence.
  • Plea of No Contest: the member does not admit the allegations but agrees that the Discipline Committee can accept that the facts stated are correct and constitute professional misconduct and/or incompetence.
  • Agreed Statement of Facts: an agreement between the member and College, in which the parties agree to certain facts related to the allegations made in the Notice of Hearing.
  • Statement of Uncontested Facts: an agreement between the member and College, in which the member does not contest the allegations.
  • Joint Submission on Penalty: an agreement between the member and College regarding the consequences of a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence by the hearing panel. Joint Submissions on Penalty are subject to the approval of the Discipline Committee.
  • Undertaking: a member may enter into an undertaking as part of the resolution of a proceeding before the Discipline Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee, which may result in terms, conditions or limitations being placed on the member’s certificate.

4. Penalties if a finding is made

  • Revoked: a member’s teaching certificate is revoked by the Registrar and the individual is no longer a member of the College. The member’s record, including qualifications, credentials and any disciplinary action taken against them, will remain on the College’s Public Register at Find a Teacher. Revoked members cannot use the “Ontario Certified Teacher” (OCT) title.
  • Suspended: a member’s teaching certificate is suspended for a specified period of time (up to 24 months) and the member may not teach during that time. The member’s record, including qualifications, credentials and any disciplinary action taken against them, will remain on the College’s Public Register at Find a Teacher. Suspended members cannot use the “Ontario Certified Teacher” (OCT) title.
  • Certificate Made Subject to Terms, Conditions or Limitations: terms imposed by the Discipline Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee on a member’s certificate after a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. 
  • Reprimand: a member may be reprimanded orally or in writing by the College’s Discipline Committee.
  • Public Register: a database of College members that includes the following information about each member:
    • name
    • membership status
    • registration number
    • Certificate of Qualification and Registration type
    • basic and additional qualifications
    • program of education completed
    • notations of any revocation, cancellation and / or suspension of a certificate
    • certificate terms, conditions and / or limitations
    • date certificate was issued, and if applicable, termination or expiry date
    • any applicable Discipline Committee decisions

5. Other Orders of the Panel

  • Publication ban: Under the Ontario College of Teachers Act, the panel must make an order that no person shall publish the identity of or any information that could disclose the identity of any person who is under 18 years old and is the subject of evidence or a witness in a College hearing, or of any person who was sexually abused or was the subject of sexual misconduct including a prescribed sexual act and/or a prohibited act involving child pornography (on the request of that person or of legal counsel on behalf of that person).
  • Costs: where the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct, it may order the member to pay costs of the proceeding to the College.
  • Fine: where the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct, it may impose a fine (up to $5,000) to be paid by the member to the Minister of Finance.
  • Funding for Therapy/Counselling: where the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct consisting of/or including sexual abuse, a prescribed sexual act and/or a prohibited act involving child pornography, the panel may require the member to reimburse the College for funding provided for a person under the funding for therapy and counselling program and to provide security for this funding.

6. Conditions Monitoring

  • Certificate Made Subject to Terms, Conditions or Limitations: terms imposed by the Discipline Committee or Fitness to Practise Committee on a member’s certificate after a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. Visible on the Public Register at Find a Teacher.
  • Compliance: the monitoring of a member’s adherence to terms, conditions and limitations placed on their certificate by way of undertaking or order of one of the College’s committees.

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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