The Minister of Education has made four Ministerial Orders creating regulations in relation to the recently passed Teachers Act, which are now in force.
The Teachers’ Council created by the Teachers Act will have a commissioner appointed by government. Under the Act, the commissioner is responsible for receiving complaints and reports about alleged teacher misconduct, conducting preliminary reviews and investigations and assigning members of the Teachers’ Council to disciplinary hearing panels. The Commissioner’s Regulation of January 5, 2012 sets out the powers of the commissioner in relation to disciplinary and professional conduct inquiries as well as certification appeals.
The Commissioner’s Regulation allows the commissioner to set rules addressing a wide range of matters in relation to the form and process of discipline and professional conduct inquiries and certification appeals. The commissioner is required to make these rules publicly available when they are created.
British Columbia Teachers’ Council Regulation
The Teachers’ Council is responsible for establishing standards for teacher certification, conduct and competence. The Council will have 15 voting members and one non-voting government representative appointed by the minister. The British Columbia Teachers’ Council Regulation sets out the composition of the 15 voting members as well as the process by which appointments are made. The composition of the Council is as follows:
- 7 persons appointed by the Minister from the following prescribed organizations:
- the B.C. School Trustees’ Association
- the Federation of Independent Schools Associations
- the First Nations Education Steering Committee
- the B.C. School Superintendents’ Association
the B.C. Principals’ and Vice Principals’ Association
- the Association of B.C. Deans of Education
- the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils
- 3 representatives from the B.C. Teachers’ Federation
- 5 elected practising members, each from one of five zones in the Province.
For the seven appointments from the prescribed organizations, each organization must submit a list of 3 persons the prescribed organization wishes to be considered by the Minister for the appointment. To be eligible: a person’s principal residence must be British Columbia; the person must possess knowledge, skills and expertise that will advance the objects of the Teacher’s Council; and the persons must consent to be considered. The organization must provide to the Minister relevant background information about the nominees including how they meet the eligibility requirements. If the Minister decides not to appoint any of the three nominees, the organization may submit another person for the Minister’s consideration.
The BCTF representatives have the same requirements as the organizational nominees except the number of nominees is increased to 9. The nominees must also be teacher certificate holders.
The 5 elected practising members must be “practising teachers”. The Act defines a “practising teacher” as a certificate holder who has carried out one or more of the following duties in the preceding 2 years in the course of his or her employment:
- (a) design, supervision and assessment of educational programs;
- (b) instruction, assessment and evaluation of individual students and of groups of students;
To be nominated, practicing teachers must principally reside in the zone of their nomination, be nominated by at least 10 certificate holders in their zone, consent to their nomination and meet the nomination deadline. There is a 7 year term limit for elected council members.
The Minister will designate an election officer who is responsible for the effective, efficient and fair conduct of an election. Nominations for the first election will close on January 31, 2012. Ballots must be mailed to certificate holders within 21 days of January 31, 2012, with candidate information from the zone in which they are located. Mailed ballots will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on March 20, 2012.
Independent School Teaching Certificates Regulation
The Independent School Teaching Certificates Regulation defines a “system of schools” as a system of schools having the same philosophical, educational or pedagogical perspective, such as a Montessori or Waldorf school. The Regulation classifies five different types of independent school teaching certificates: a “system-restricted independent school teaching certificate” allows a certificate holder to teach any subject within a system of schools specified on the certificate; a “subject restricted independent school teaching certificates” allows a holder to teach the subjects specified on the certificate at any independent school; a “school- and subject-restricted independent school teaching certificate” restricts the certificate holder to teach specified subjects at the schools enumerated on the certificate; professional certificates issued by the inspector of independent schools issued prior to January 9, 2012; and standard certificates issued by the inspector of independent schools under the Independent School Act before January 9, 2012.
Letters of Permission Regulation
This Regulation sets out the requirements that prospective employers and applicants must meet to obtain a letter of permission for a non-certificate holder to teach. For instance, the applicant must apply to the director of certification for a letter of permission in the form and manner as required by the director of certification. The application may be jointly completed by an applicant and a prospective employer.
The director of certification may request certain information from a prospective employer including: a declaration that it made reasonable efforts to hire a certificate holder and was unable to recruit a certificate holder for the position; confirmation that no certificate holder applied for the position, or alternatively, the rationale for not hiring a certificate holder who did apply; a declaration that it has no knowledge of any facts that would make the applicant an inappropriate person to work with children and that the employer is satisfied of the good character of the applicant.
Finally, the director of certification must specify the period of time for which the letter of permission is valid.