Discipline process

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Teacher Discipline Process Under the Teaching Profession Act 

Sections 16 to 60 of the TPA lay out the discipline process.

What is unprofessional conduct?

The Code of Professional Conduct lays out the minimum standards of professional conduct expected of teachers. 

The Code applies to teachers working in publicly funded school boards. 

Anyone may file a complaint that a teacher has violated the Code of Professional Conduct. Under the Code, teachers must 

  • act in the best interests of students, 
  • act in ways that maintain the integrity of the teaching profession, 
  • act to protect the general standing of the teaching profession, 
  • live and work according to all laws and 
  • cooperate with all the investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions about discipline

Can I file a complaint against a teacher?

Anyone can file a complaint against a teacher employed by a publicly funded school board. 

 

The Minister of Education is responsible for discipline complaints involving 

  • charter and private school teachers and 
  • band-operated Indigenous schools. 
  • Teachers employed by First Nation Education Authorities

How do I file a complaint?

A complaint is called a Request for Investigation of Alleged Unprofessional Conduct. If you wish to discuss or file such a request, please send an e-mail to executive.secretary.conduct@ata.ab.ca or contact Tim Jeffares, associate coordinator, Discipline, at 780-447-9458 (in Edmonton) or 1-800-232-7208 (toll free in Alberta).

I've filed a complaint. What happens next?

The ATA investigates all complaints. 

  • The ATA executive secretary (chief executive officer) appoints an investigator. 
  • The investigator meets with all parties and witnesses. 
  • The investigator gathers relevant evidence and documents.
  • The investigator submits an investigation report to the ATA executive secretary recommending 
  1. no further action,
  2. referral to Invitation Process (informal dispute resolution) or 
  3. Professional Conduct Committee Hearing.

What is the executive secretary's role?

The executive secretary will review the report and 

  • may determine to take no further action, or 
  • refer the matter to the Invitation Process (a dispute resolution process), or 
  • refer the matter to a hearing committee; and 
  • notify you of the decision.

Can I appeal the decision?

If the executive secretary orders no hearing, you may appeal within 30 days and upon paying a $250 fee. The Complainant Review Committee will meet to review your reasons for the appeal.

Do I need to attend the Professional Conduct Committee hearing if that is the decision?

Yes, if you are a witness.

Yes, if you want to observe the hearing.

No, if you are not a witness and do not choose to attend.

 

Who represents the teacher?

The Association never represents or defends the accused teacher. The teacher hires their own counsel or represents themself.

If found guilty, what happens to the teacher?

The Hearing Committee can order a variety of penalties. These penalties include 

  • reprimands, 
  • fines of up to $10,000 per convicted charge, 
  • suspension or cancellation of their ATA membership, and/or
  • recommendation that the Minister of Education suspend or cancel their teaching certificate. 

All Hearing Committee's decisions are available to the public.

 

What does a suspension of ATA membership mean?

If a teacher is not a member of the Association, they can’t teach in a publicly funded school in Alberta. 

Membership suspensions are for specific periods of time.

Suspended members can still work in a charter, private or Indigenous school during the suspension. 

Reinstatement of a teacher’s membership in the Association is by application only and is not automatic.

 

What does a cancellation of membership mean?

A cancellation of membership has the same effect as a suspension, but is permanent. 

Teachers whose ATA membership is cancelled may still teach at a charter, private or band-operated Indigenous school.

 

Can the ATA suspend or cancel a teacher’s teaching certificate?

No. Only the Minister of Education can issue, suspend, cancel or reinstate a teaching certificate. Association hearing committees can only recommend suspension or cancellation of a teaching certificate.