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Introduction

In September 2013, Ontario’s Office of the Fairness Commissioner (OFC) performed a targeted assessment of the way the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) registers people who apply for a licence to practise in Ontario, to ensure that the registration practices are fair and continue to improve.

Assessment is one of the Fairness Commissioner's mandated roles under the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act (FARPACTA).

Assessment Cycle

To hold regulatory bodies accountable for continuous improvement, the OFC assesses their licensing practices using a two-year assessment cycle.

Assessment cycles alternate between full assessments and targeted assessments:

  • Full assessments address all specific and general duties described in FARPACTA.
  • Targeted assessments focus on the areas where the OFC made recommendations in the previous full assessment.

This approach establishes continuity between the assessment cycles.

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Focus of This Assessment and Report

The September 2013 targeted assessment of the OCT focused on the areas where the OFC made recommendations in the full assessment it completed in December 2011.

The OFC’s detailed report captures the results of the targeted assessment. The assessment summary provides the following key information from the detailed report:

  • duties that were assessed
  • an overview of comments related to the general duty
  • commendable practices
  • recommendations

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Availability of Report

The OFC encourages the OCT to provide the detailed report to its staff, council members, the public, and other interested parties.

To receive a copy of the detailed report, click here.

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Assessment Methods

Assessments are based on the Registration Practices Assessment Guide – For Regulated Professions and Trades. The guide presents registration practices relating to the specific duties and general duty in FARPACTA.

A regulatory body’s practices can be measured against FARPACTA’s specific duties in a straightforward way. However, the general duty is broad, and the principles it mentions (transparency, objectivity, impartiality and fairness) are not defined in the legislation.

As a result, the specific-duty and general-duty obligations are assessed differently (see the Strategy for Continuous Improvement of Registration Practices).

Specific Duties

The OFC can clearly determine whether a regulatory body demonstrates the specific-duty practices in the assessment guide. Therefore, for each specific-duty practice, the OFC provides one of the following assessment outcomes:

  • Demonstrated – all required elements of the practice are present or addressed
  • Partially Demonstrated – some but not all required elements are present or addressed
  • Not Demonstrated – none of the required elements are present or addressed
  • Not Applicable – this practice does not apply to this regulatory body

General Duty

Because there are many ways that a regulatory body can demonstrate that its practices, overall, are meeting the principles of the general duty, the OFC makes assessment comments for the general duty, rather than identifying assessment outcomes. For the same reason, assessment comments are made by principle, rather than by practice.

For information about the OFC’s interpretations of the general-duty principles and the practices that the OFC uses as a guideline for assessment, see the Registration Practices Assessment Guide – For Regulated Professions and Trades.

Commendable Practices and Recommendations

Where applicable, the OFC identifies commendable practices or recommendations for improvement related to the specific duties and general duty.

Sources

Assessment outcomes, comments, and commendable practices and recommendations are based on information provided by the regulatory body. The OFC relies on the accuracy of this information to produce the assessment report. The OFC compiles registration information from sources such as the following:

  • Fair Registration Practices Reports, audits, Entry-to-Practice Review Reports, annual meetings
  • the regulatory body’s:
    • website
    • policies, procedures, guidelines and related documentation templates for communication with applicants
    • regulations and bylaws
    • internal auditing and reporting mechanisms
    • third-party agreements and related monitoring or reporting documentation
    • qualifications assessments and related documentation
  • targeted questions/requests for evidence that the regulatory body demonstrates a practice or principle

For more information  about the assessment cycle, assessment process, and legislative obligations, see the Strategy for Continuous Improvement of Registration Practices.

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Assessment Summary

Specific Duties

Specific duties assessed

As a result of the recommendations made in the full assessment completed in December 2011, the OCT has been assessed in the area(s) marked below:

None Checked
Information for Applicants Unchecked
Timely Decisions, Responses and Reasons Unchecked
Internal Review or Appeal Unchecked
Information on Appeal Rights Unchecked
Documentation of Qualifications Unchecked
Assessment of Qualifications Unchecked
Training Unchecked
Access to Records Unchecked

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General Duty

Assessment Method

The OCT selected the method marked below for the assessing of its adherence to the general-duty principles, and informed the OFC:

a. OFC assesses based on the practices listed in the assessment guide Checked
b. Regulatory body self-assesses based on the practices in the assessment guide Unchecked
c. Regulatory body self-assesses using a system-based approach, in which it explains what it does to ensure that its practices are adhering to the general-duty principles Unchecked

Principles assessed

As a result of the recommendations made in the full assessment completed in December 2011, the OCT has been assessed on the principle(s) marked below:

None Unchecked
Transparency Checked
Objectivity Unchecked
Impartiality Unchecked
Fairness Unchecked

Comments

The OFC found that since the last assessment, the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) has demonstrated all general-duty practices related to transparency.

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Commendable Practices

A commendable practice is a program, activity or strategy that goes beyond the minimum standards set by the OFC assessment guides, considering the regulatory body’s resources and profession-specific or trade-specific context. Commendable practices may or may not have potential for transferability to another regulatory body.

The OCT is demonstrating commendable practices in the following area(s).

Transparency

  • revising its online application system and redesigning its website. These improved resources include clearer information for applicants. The redesigned website is also more accessible, user-friendly and intuitive.
  • updating the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website to include comment boxes where applicants can comment on the clarity of the information. If applicants cannot find the answers they need, the OCT invites them to call or email (the phone number and email address are provided).
  • implementing strategies that help people whose applications have been denied to understand the decisions and the reasons for them. For example:
    • The OCT website includes clear and easy-to-access information about assessment and appeals.
    • Applicants whom the OCT does not certify may attend an information session and/or have individual meetings to discuss their evaluations and find out about next steps.
    • The document OCT Credential Assessment: For Denied Applicants provides details about how each registration requirement may be met, explains common reasons for denial of certification, and describes options and next steps.
  • creating and distributing daily newsletters to its staff members that include “refresher” reminders about the OCT’s policies and procedures. This proactive approach ensures that the OCT’s policies and criteria are readily available to its registration staff and decision-makers.
  • maintaining work groups that conduct annual reviews of emerging trends, registration guides, the Members’ Handbook, standard documents and emails, the annual report and the application form. The OCT undertakes these initiatives to improve the clarity and accessibility of its registration policies and criteria.
  • updating its tutorial video that explains how to complete the registration process.

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Recommendations

The OFC has not made any recommendations for this assessment period.

The OFC expects that the OCT will continue maintaining its standards in the future.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, the OFC encourages the OCT to continue its efforts towards more transparent, objective, impartial and fair registration processes.

Assessment History

In the previous assessment, the OFC identified three recommendations for this regulatory body.

They have all been implemented.

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