Committees at Work

Investigation Committee,
Discipline Committee,
Fitness to Practise Committee


Three College committees share the responsibility of disposing of complaints against members of the teaching profession. This report provides detailed statistical information on the committees’ activities in 2017.

The Investigation Committee conducts reviews of information related to all complaints. The Discipline Committee holds hearings on complaints related to alleged professional misconduct or incompetence. The Fitness to Practise Committee holds hearings on complaints related to alleged incapacity.

Three-member panels make decisions by considering the information related to a complaint. The College maintains a roster of experienced panel members who may be called to serve on a panel, even though they may no longer be members of Council. The panels are comprised of a combination of elected and appointed Council members, and may include one member of the roster.

The College receives approximately 1,000 contacts annually from members of the public and the profession who raise issues concerning College members. About half of these concerns are resolved appropriately at the school or the local school board. The remaining half represent public and member complaints, as well as board reports, of which approximately 40 per cent are resolved at intake while the rest are dealt with by a panel of the Investigation Committee.

In 2017, the Investigation Committee disposed of 347 complaints, and the Discipline and Fitness to Practise committees disposed of 107 matters.

School supplies sitting on a desk.

Introduction of the Protecting Students Act

In December 2016, the provincial government passed Bill 37, the Protecting Students Act, bringing long-sought changes into law to protect students.

Timelines are now stipulated for employers to provide the College additional information pertaining to an employer report. In addition, in cases where a member has been found guilty of a significant crime, the Investigation Committee can — with the member’s agreement —expedite the matter to the Discipline Committee. As well, mandatory penalties now form part of the amendments for acts of professional misconduct involving the sexual abuse of a student.

In addition to the passing of Bill 37 — and in line with its commitment to transparency and accountability — the College extended the availability of its disciplinary decisions on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) database. This free, bilingual and easily searchable database enables more efficient access to our decisions by the public and legal professionals.

A school library.

Investigation Committee

Under the direction of the Investigation Committee, College staff investigate complaints in a fair and impartial manner.

College investigators present the information gathered to an Investigation Committee panel. The panel has the authority to take one of the following actions in a complaint:

  • refuse to investigate a complaint if it determines that the complaint does not relate to professional misconduct, incompetence or incapacity; 
  • refuse to investigate a complaint if it determines that the complaint is frivolous, vexatious, an abuse of process, manifestly without substance or made for an improper purpose;
  • refuse to investigate a complaint if it does not warrant further investigation or it is not in the public interest to investigate the complaint further;
  • not refer the complaint to either a Discipline or Fitness to Practise hearing; 
  • caution or admonish the member in writing or in person;
  • remind or advise the member in writing;
  • ratify a memorandum of agreement reached through complaint resolution; or
  • refer the matter to a Discipline or a Fitness to Practise hearing.

A stack of exercise books.

Discipline Committee

The Discipline Committee considers allegations of incompetence and professional misconduct that are referred to it by the Investigation Committee (and sometimes by the Executive Committee). If a panel of the Discipline Committee finds a member guilty of professional misconduct or incompetence it may do one or more of the following:
  • direct the Registrar to revoke the member’s teaching certificate;
  • direct the Registrar to suspend the certificate for up to two years; 
  • direct the Registrar to impose terms, conditions or limitations on the member’s teaching certificate; and
  • direct that the imposition of a penalty be postponed for a specific period and not be imposed if specified terms are met within that period.
Following findings of professional misconduct only, the committee may also:
  • require the member to be reprimanded, admonished or counselled by the committee;
  • impose a fine of up to $5,000 payable to the Minister of Finance; or
  • order costs to be paid by the member.

As at least one panel member is an appointed member of Council, the public is ensured a role in the hearings process. The panel is also comprised of at least one elected member of Council. It makes decisions by considering the evidence related to the allegations and submissions of the College and the member.

Discipline Committee hearings are open to the public.

School supplies sitting on a desk.

Fitness to Practise Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee hears matters and determines if a member’s physical or mental condition makes them unfit to carry out professional responsibilities, or if a member’s teaching certificate should be made subject to terms, conditions or limitations. Fitness to Practise hearings are not open to the public in accordance with the Ontario College of Teachers Act. The committee panels make decisions by considering the evidence related to the allegations and submissions of the College and the member.

If a panel of the Fitness to Practise Committee finds a member to be incapacitated, it may direct the Registrar to revoke the member’s teaching certificate, suspend the certificate for up to two years, or impose terms, conditions or limitations on the certificate.

Complaint Resolution 

When a case is deemed suitable and the parties agree, the College uses voluntary complaint resolution to resolve complaints. Complaint resolution can be an effective alternative to an extended investigation. Complaints are disposed of through the ratification of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) by the Investigation Committee. Participation in the program occurs without prejudice to the parties.
Investigation
  • Pier-Olivier Arsenault, OCT (e)
  • Marie-Louise Chartrand (a)
    (until October 19, 2017)
  • Tim Gernstein, OCT (e) (Vice-Chair)
  • Jacqueline Karsemeyer, OCT (e)
  • James Knopp (a)
  • Bill Petrie (a)
  • Robert Ryan, OCT (e) (Chair)
  • Anthony Samchek, OCT (e)
  • Jennifer Stewart, OCT (e)
(a) = appointed
(e) = elected
 
Discipline
  • Jean-Luc Bernard, OCT (a)
  • Ann Ciaschini, OCT (e)
  • Robert Gagné (a) (Chair)
    (until November 2, 2017)
  • Marie-Thérèse Hokayem (a)
  • Godwin Ifedi (a)
    (from October 6, 2017)
  • Jane Ishibashi (a) 
  • Colleen Landers (a)
  • Shanlee Linton, OCT (e)
  • Sara Nouini, OCT (e)
  • Claudia Patenaude-Daniels, OCT (e)
  • Brigitte (Bidal) Piquette, OCT (e)
  • Tom Potter (a)
  • Vicki Shannon, OCT (e) (Chair)
    (from November 28, 2017)
  • Stéphane Vallée, OCT (e)
  • Ravi Vethamany, OCT (e)
  • Wes Vickers, OCT (e)
    (Vice-Chair); (Acting Chair)
    (from November 3–27, 2017) 
  • Marie-Claude Yaacov (a)

(a) = appointed
(e) = elected

Fitness to Practise
  • Jean-Luc Bernard, OCT (a)
  • Ann Ciaschini, OCT (e)
  • Robert Gagné (a)
    (until November 2, 2017)
  • Marie-Thérèse Hokayem (a)
  • Godwin Ifedi (a)
  • Jane Ishibashi (a)
  • Colleen Landers (a)
  • Shanlee Linton, OCT (e) (Chair)
  • Sara Nouini, OCT (e)
  • Claudia Patenaude-Daniels, OCT (e)
  • Brigitte (Bidal) Piquette, OCT (e)
  • Tom Potter (a)
  • Vicki Shannon, OCT (e)
  • Stéphane Vallée, OCT (e) (Vice-Chair)
  • Ravi Vethamany, OCT (e) 
  • Wes Vickers, OCT (e)
  • Marie-Claude Yaacov (a)
(a) = appointed
(e) = elected