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Decision Glossary

The College has been handling complaints and hearings since 1997. The quasi-judicial hearing process follows rules set out in the Statutory Powers Procedures Act and the Ontario College of Teachers Act. As a result, a specialized vocabulary for disciplinary hearings is used. Here's an explanation of many of the terms you will find in our reports.

Before a Hearing

Registrar's Complaint. A formal complaint against a member may be made by a member of the public, a member of the College, the Minister of Education or by the Registrar of the College. Complaints made by the Registrar usually arise from employer notifications.

Certificate Surrendered. Before the Investigation Committee has referred a matter to a hearing, the member may agree to give up their teaching certificate. The Investigation Committee does not have the authority to revoke a licence and the member agrees to surrender it.

Complaint Resolution. The College uses complaint resolution to help resolve complaints without an extensive investigation or full hearing. All parties must consent to participate in complaint resolution, the result must be in the public interest, and the outcome must be similar to what a hearing would have produced.

Without Prejudice. Typically it means that information shared during the complaint resolution process will not later form part of the investigation or hearing record used against the member if complaint resolution does not successfully resolve the complaint.

Once Referred to a Disciplinary Hearing

Professional Misconduct. When a complaint results in a referral to a disciplinary hearing by the Investigation Committee, a notice of hearing is prepared which contains charges of professional misconduct against the member. Behaviour that constitutes professional misconduct is listed in Ontario Regulation 437/97 Professional Misconduct of the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996.

Notice of Hearing. A legal document issued by the College and served on the member which provides notice of the charges that will be heard by a College committee. The notice of hearing contains particulars relating to the charges and the date and location of the hearing.

Withdrawing the Notice of Hearing. If it does not appear that the College would be successful in proving that the member had committed professional misconduct, the Notice of Hearing will be withdrawn. This might occur when a vital witness is unable to give evidence. A withdrawn Notice of Hearing may be re-issued in the future.

During a Disciplinary Hearing

Panel. Members of the College Discipline Committee who hear a case against a member. By legislation, at least one must be an appointed member of Council and at least one must be an elected member of Council. The committee maintains a roster of experienced panel members who may be called on to act in this capacity although they are no longer members of Council.

Guilty Plea. The member admits all or some of the allegations or charges against them and that those allegations or charges amount to professional misconduct.

Plea of No Contest. The member does not admit the allegations or charges but agrees to take no steps to defend themself and agrees that the Discipline Committee can accept that the facts stated are correct and constitute professional misconduct. A finding of guilt always follows a plea of no contest.

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). The end result of a matter resolved by complaint resolution. An MOA between the parties resolves the issues raised by the complaint. Such agreements must protect the public interest and only become final and binding upon ratification by a committee of the College.

Agreed Statement of Facts. An agreement between the member and the College that acknowledges facts related to issues raised in the notice of hearing. The prosecution (College) does not have to prove the facts.

Joint Submission on Penalty. An agreement between the member and the College regarding the consequences of a finding of professional misconduct by the hearing panel. Joint Submissions on Penalty are subject to the approval of the Discipline Committee.

Penalties If a Finding of Guilt

Revoked. The Registrar is directed to revoke the member's certificate 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, remains on the College's public register at Find a Teacher.

Suspended. The Registrar is directed to suspend the member's certificate for a specified period and the member may not teach during that time. By law, the maximum length of suspension is 24 months. The member's record, including qualifications, credentials and any disciplinary action taken against them, remains on the College's public register at Find a Teacher.

Reprimand. A member may be reprimanded orally or in writing by the Investigation or Discipline Committee of the College.

Caution. Similarly, a caution can be given orally or in writing and is considered less severe than a reprimand and is generally more advisory in nature.

Admonishment. A member may be admonished orally or in writing. Similarly, a caution can be given orally or in writing and is considered less severe than a reprimand and is considered more advisory in nature.

Compliance. A process to monitor a member's adherence to the terms, conditions or limitations imposed on them or their certificate in a Memorandum of Agreement.

Public Register. A register found at Find a Teacher maintained by the Registrar of the College that contains information about each member of the College, including:

  • the member's name
  • the member's status
  • the member's registration number
  • the type of Certificate of Qualification and Registration the member holds
  • the basic and additional qualifications of the member as entered on the member's Certificate of Qualification and Registration
  • the program of teacher education completed by the member
  • a notation of any revocation, cancellation and/or suspension of a certificate
  • any terms, conditions and/or limitations imposed on the member's Certificate of Qualification and Registration
  • the date on which the member's Certificate of Qualification and Registration was issued and, if applicable, the termination or expiration date
  • any applicable decision of the Discipline Committee.

Certificate Made Subject to Terms, Conditions and/or Limitations. After a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity, the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee can impose terms, conditions or limitations on a member's certificate.

Resignation/cancellation of Membership. A member of the College may resign his/her membership which will automatically result in a cancellation of that membership. A resignation and cancellation will not, however, automatically stop or stay any investigation or other disciplinary proceeding. The College maintains jurisdiction over former members in matters of professional misconduct.

Other Orders of the Panel

Publication. The hearing panel may make an order to publish a summary of its findings in Professionally Speaking, the magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Publication ban. The panel may stipulate that the names of victims of abuse or exploitation are not to be published in the College's official publication, Professionally Speaking.

Certain exceptional circumstances, defined in law enable a panel to prevent a member's name from being published by the College. For example, a panel might order against publication of the member’s name if doing so identifies the victim(s).

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