Teacher shortage in Ontario is over, says College of Teachers
May 24 2005
May 24, 2005 (Toronto) Ontario's teacher shortage is over,
says the Ontario College of Teachers, the licensing body for the province's
College data shows that an increased supply of newly qualified teachers and
a return to lower retirement rates has dealt with the crisis in teacher numbers
that the College first brought to the public's attention eight years ago.
However, in a report
in its quarterly magazine published today, the College says that shortages
remain in some specialties French, physics, chemistry, math, business studies
and technological education.
Even with recent provincial government funding that will spur the hiring of
new teachers to meet literacy, numeracy, physical education and arts programming
needs, the existing supply meets most projected needs.
Professionally Speaking, the College's magazine, first published
reports in 1997 warning of a looming crisis in the supply of qualified teachers.
A sharp rise in demand was predicted from 1998 through 2005 due to a spike
in retirements among teachers hired in the 60s and early 70s. Further study
showed that the problem was widespread. As a result, the College urged the
province to fund 10,000 extra spaces over five years in Ontario's faculties
We're pleased to say that government and teacher faculty response to the situation
helped to attract the high quality teachers Ontario's students required, says
College Registrar Doug Wilson. But our most recent Transition
to Teaching study now
indicates that many newly certified teachers are struggling to find full-time
There are excellent, full-time teaching opportunities for work in northern
and remote areas of the province that people sometimes overlook, Wilson says.
College data shows:
- the annual retirement rate is now headed steadily downward
- government-funded spaces for one-year teacher training at Ontario education
faculties jumped from 5,000 in '98-99 to 6,500 in 2000-01, a level that continues
- fewer teachers are leaving the profession in the early years of teaching.
Only one in 13 leave in their first three years
- new teacher education programs have emerged in the province
- interest in teaching has surged 15,000 apply to faculties now compared
to 8,000 in '97-98
- US border colleges have added to the supply. In 1998, American-based teacher
education programs provided 500 teacher candidates per year. By 2002, the
number of US grads applying for College membership in Ontario rose to 1,300.
- school boards also have access to a growing pool of retirees who can work
for up to 95 school days a year without affecting their pensions
- College membership has grown from 172,000 in 1998 to 193,000 in 2004. Teachers
must be licensed by the College to teach in Ontario's publicly funded schools.
New teachers say they're finding it increasingly difficult to find full-time
work. So far, most are employed full-time by their third year. Internationally
trained teachers report even less success in finding full-time teaching jobs.
New teachers specializing in the high need subjects stand a 50 per cent better
chance of finding work following graduation, Wilson says.
There is also evidence that school boards are challenged to fill school leadership
roles. So far this decade about 1,000 teachers a year have completed their
Principal’s Qualification certification. However, over the last few years,
the College has granted roughly 175 Temporary Letters of Approval to school
boards each year to enable boards to fill principal and vice-principal positions
with people who do not have the qualifications for those roles. The leadership
shortage is most severe in French-language school boards.
With the threat of general teacher shortage successfully met, the author of
the College report, Frank McIntyre, says that the persisting shortages for
qualified teachers in specialized roles can be solved if the provincial government
and faculties of education respond as effectively as they did to the general
Targeted recruitment and support can help to relieve these remaining pressures
facing Ontario's school boards, says College Chair Marilyn Laframboise. More
must be done to attract and support French-language teacher education candidates
and people with science, math and technical backgrounds and to assist northern
boards who find it particularly difficult to hire the staff they need.
The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the profession
of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical
standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education programs
affecting its 195,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across
Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body in Canada.
For more information:
416-961-8800 ext. 255
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 255