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College survey projects continued shortage of teachers

December 17 2020

(Toronto) - The Ontario College of Teachers’ 2020 Transition to Teaching survey confirms that Ontario’s teacher shortage is growing and that French and English school boards face significant recruitment challenges ahead.

Further, the need for more teachers is greater because of the pandemic.

Latest data from surveys shows that recently certified teachers had no trouble finding work upon graduation. Unemployment among first-year graduates is at six per cent. Teachers in career years two and three average three per cent unemployment. And, if you can teach French, job openings exist everywhere.

“The coronavirus further stresses a hiring situation that is already challenging,” says report author Frank McIntyre.

The last four College surveys have identified a fast-emerging teacher shortage. The most recent survey completed in June 2020 confirms past findings and highlights early-career challenges unique to the 2019-2020 school year.

In short, the 2020 Transition to Teaching report reveals:

  • all French language program grads found teaching jobs upon certification – for the fourth year in a row
  • only six per cent of English program primary-junior teachers couldn’t find employment in their first year – compared to 37 per cent of similarly educated teachers in 2016
  • one in 10 English language intermediate-senior graduates said they could not find work, compared with one in five back in 2016
  • unemployment remains persistently high among new-to-Canada internationally educated teachers, a pool of experienced and licensed teachers available to district school boards in their need for more occasional, contract and permanent teachers.

Underemployment, however, spiked for first year teachers, rising to 35 per cent this year from just 15 per cent in 2019. Most first year teachers on daily supply rosters lost all future first-year assignments once schools closed last year owing to COVID-19. Many teachers in their first two-to-five years also lost daily occasional assignments when schools closed.

Underlying supply and demand trends mean that critical shortages of French and French as a Second Language teachers will continue for several years. English language teachers will also be in short supply.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the shortage with at least 3,000 extra Ontario teachers not renewing their teaching licences in 2020.

The College sent emails to 132,000 members in the spring of 2020 inviting them to keep their teaching licences up to date if they were inclined to return to teaching to help offset the shortage. The existing pipeline of new Ontario teachers is not expected to meet anticipated demand.

In October 2020, the Minister of Education established a new school board hiring practices policy to make merit, diversity and the unique needs of schools and communities the focus in hiring to long term occasional and permanent teaching positions.


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 more than 234,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is Canada’s largest self-regulatory body.

For more information or to see other College advisories, go to oct.ca or contact:

Olivia Yu, Senior Communications Officer
416-961-8800, ext. 620
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 620

Gabrielle Barkany, OCT, Senior Communications Officer (Bilingual)
416-961-8800, ext. 621
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 621

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