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Registration Practices Assessment Report — Summary

ONTARIO COLLEGE OF TEACHERS (OCT)

Registration Practices Assessment Report — Revised Summary
ONTARIO COLLEGE OF TEACHERS (OCT)

Introduction

In December 2011, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner assessed the way the Ontario College of Teachers   registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.  

This summary of the assessment includes commendable practices that are under way and recommendations for improvement.

The Ontario College of Teachers is subject to Ontario's fair access law, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions Act, 2006 (FARPA). The law spells out the college's obligation to have transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration methods and requirements.

The Office of the Fairness Commissioner

To encourage accountability under the fair access law, the Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) works with professions’ regulatory bodies to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences. As a result of the OFC’s work, qualified people, no matter where they were originally trained, will have faster, fairer access to their licence to practise here.

In its work with regulators so far, the OFC has found that they have succeeded in streamlining their registration processes, but they need to do more. For example, regulators need to be more transparent and hold their assessment agencies more accountable for fairness.

To encourage, and hold regulators accountable for, continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices in a two-year cycle. This cycle includes recommending improvements where needed and monitoring the bodies’ action plans that address the OFC’s concerns. This approach benefits applicants, the professions and the province.

You can read more about the OFC’s strategy for continuous improvement and its guide for assessments elsewhere on this site.

For more information about this particular assessment, contact the OFC.

Note: The words license, register and certify all refer to authorizing a person to practise a profession.

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Commendable Practices

The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) is demonstrating many commendable practices, in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation.)

Information for Applicants

  • The OCT's website has a dedicated area for internationally educated teachers. It includes country-specific information about required documents and acceptable alternatives for more than 200 jurisdictions.
  • The OCT's registration guides and website provide thorough information about alternative ways to meet the OCT's registration requirements, including language proficiency, practical training, and documentation.
  • As of November 2010, all applicants to the OCT have access to the online application system 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Using this system, applicants can view the progress of their application, and can view lists of the documents that have been received by the OCT and the documents that are still outstanding.

Internal Review or Appeal

  • Information about appeal processes and procedures is written in plain language and is available through a dedicated area on the OCT's website.
  • In 2010, to create additional clarity, transparency, impartiality and fairness around the OCT's appeal process, the registration appeals committee reviewed and provided feedback for revisions to its Administrative Guidelines for Oral Presentations and Rules of Procedure for Hearing.
  • The OCT conducts an annual analysis of the appeal process. This includes tracking relevant statistics and reporting on the operational effectiveness of the appeal process, including the timelines involved. Where the analysis identifies deficiencies, the OCT takes steps to understand or address these issues.

Documentation of Qualifications

  • The OCT's comprehensive translation policy sets out the requirements and processes that applicants must follow for the translation of their documents. The policy includes details about acceptable translation services and provides contact information for these services. The OCT reviews translation services and providers annually.

Assessment of Qualifications

  • In its registration materials, the OCT explains its approach regarding recognizing qualifications obtained through distance education.
  • In the fall of 2008, the OCT began to review the administration of the language proficiency tests by its approved providers. The purpose of the review was to consider issues such as the accessibility of tests, the availability of information about the testing process, the objectivity and fairness of the test design and administration, and the appeal process. The review identified that the providers' processes were fair, transparent, and clear. The OCT is a partner in the development of a national language-proficiency assessment that is specific to the teaching profession.

Fairness

  • In 2010, the OCT eliminated the requirement for its members educated outside Ontario to teach successfully in Ontario for one school year as a condition for obtaining permanent certification. Removing this 194-day teaching requirement eliminated a significant barrier to permanent certification.
  • Applicants who are certified in another Canadian province or territory undergo only an administrative review, rather than a formal qualifications assessment, to identify the qualifications that will be recorded on their Certificate of Qualification and Registration.
  • The OCT is working towards full compliance with Regulation 429/07, Accessibility Standards for Customer Service, enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, by January 1, 2012.
  • In August 2009, the OCT's Regulation 271/09, Fair Registration Practices, passed into law. The regulation builds on the OCT's continuing commitment to fair, open and transparent registration practices.
  • The OCT's quality assurance committee, a special committee of the OCT's council, assesses the OCT's progress in meeting its legislated objectives and reports its findings to council.
  • The OCT requires that an acceptable teacher education program include a minimum of 40 days of practice teaching supervised by the program's provider. To provide an acceptable alternative for applicants who complete programs that do not have this practical training, the OCT accepts evidence of one year of teaching experience following certification in another jurisdiction.

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Recommendations

The OFC recommends improvements in the following areas. (These areas correspond to the sections of the assessment guide, and are derived from the fair access legislation. Recommendations marked "Required" correspond to the practices regulators must demonstrate in order to meet the specific duties in the legislation. Recommendations marked "Good" correspond to the practices the OFC encourages a regulatory body to adopt in order to meet the general duty to provide registration practices that are transparent, objective, impartial and fair.)

Information for Applicants

Status
  • To improve the clarity of registration information on the OCT website, the OFC recommends that the OCT:
Checked
September 2012
  • Specify steps in the registration process that can be started and completed outside of Canada. [Good]
Checked
September 2012
  • Provide information about variables that may slow down the normal registration process. [Good]
Checked
September 2012
  • Identify additional costs (beyond the application, evaluation and membership fees payable to the OCT) that applicants are responsible for as part of the registration process. [Good]
Checked
September 2012
Blank = Implementation is in progress.
Checked = Recommendation is implemented.
Acceptable alternative = Regulator implements acceptable alternative to this recommendation.

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