New code of conduct
Alberta Education assumed the discipline process for all Alberta teachers and teacher leaders on January 1, 2023.See the new Code of Conduct
If you are an Association member involved in a professional conduct or competency complaint, please contact the ATA for advice, guidance and help.
Learn more about what the new discipline process means for teachers.
Watch the December 20, 2022 information webinar on the new code of conduct.
Please direct all other questions about the Alberta Teaching Profession Commission or the Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers or Teacher Leaders to the Alberta Education Registrar.
Alberta Education Registrar
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
The Registrar at Alberta Education
2nd floor, 44 Capital Boulevard
10044 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 5E6
FAQs about the new code of professional conduct
Teachers have many questions about the new Code of Professional Conduct for Teachers and Teacher Leaders and new discipline process. The most frequently asked questions are answered here.
If you have additional questions about the new process or how it affects you, contact the ATA.
What is the Alberta Teaching Profession Commission?
As a result of Bill 15, the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act, the Alberta government established a new code of professional conduct, which came into effect January 1, 2023, and is now in place for all certificated teachers.
At the same time, the Alberta Teaching Profession Commission (ATPC) assumed responsibility for policing conduct and competence for anyone holding a valid Alberta teaching certificate.
The code mentions reporting concerns to an “appropriate official.” What does this mean?
The code does not explicitly define appropriate official. An appropriate official for classroom teachers would normally be the principal.
ATA staff can help you better understand your obligations in your individual circumstances.
What does ideological advantage mean in the code? How is it determined whether a teacher has taken ideological advantage?
According to the code, ideological advantage refers to “perspectives taught to students in a biased manner with the intent to take advantage of a student’s uninformed or under-informed opinions, but does not include programs of study established under the [Education Act].”
Ultimately, a hearing committee determines whether a teacher’s actions have taken ideological advantage of students.
What kinds of complaints could be brought against me?
A complainant could allege that you have failed to meet professional practice standards (competence complaint) or that you have contravened the code of professional conduct (conduct complaint).
If I have a concern about another teacher or an administrator, do I still need to approach that person before taking any other action?
Unlike the previous code, the new code does not require you to inform a colleague before you approach the proper authority, but it remains a very good idea.
The ATA strongly recommends that you, as a matter of professional courtesy and ethical practice, speak directly with the person with whom you are in conflict, assuming that you feel safe doing so. Often, a frank but collegial conversation can resolve concerns to the greater satisfaction of all parties.
The formal complaint process through the ATPC is lengthy and is often unlikely to result in a solution that fully satisfies anyone concerned. You should explore alternative paths to resolve a conflict if possible.
Again, the ATA is here to help you. We welcome your call.
How will the ATPC determine if a complaint is to be investigated?
Complaints are made to the registrar of Alberta Education. The registrar may dismiss the complaint or refer it to the commissioner.
The commissioner will do a preliminary inquiry to determine whether the complaint should move to investigation or be dismissed, or will direct the matter to a nondisciplinary dispute resolution process.
How do I know if a complaint has been brought against me?
You will receive a notice of complaint via the e-mail address you have listed in Alberta Education’s Teacher Workforce Information System (TWINS) or through registered mail sent to your home address.
To ensure that you receive information in a timely manner, keep your contact information in TWINS up to date.
I have received notice of a complaint brought against me. What should I do?
Know that the ATA is here for you!
If you are the subject of a professional conduct or competence complaint, contact the ATA for advice and guidance. Strict timelines are in place, so contact the ATA as soon as you receive the notice.
Why do I have to call the ATA about these matters? E-mail would be more convenient.
E-mail, particularly e-mail sent using your employer’s infrastructure or network, is not secure. That is why the ATA initiates contact with members via telephone.
Once you are working with a staff officer, you can consider alternative methods of communication.
If I want to submit a complaint, how long do I have?
You can file a complaint related to competence up to two years after the alleged professional incompetence occurred.
You can file a complaint related to alleged unprofessional conduct at any time—there is no time limit.
What about retired teachers?
As there is no time limit for complaints about conduct, retired teachers who still hold a teaching certificate can still be subject to this process.
The ATA will represent a retired teacher if the alleged unprofessional conduct occurred while the teacher was an active member in good standing.
Does the code apply to me during off-duty hours?
Yes. If you are a certificated teacher, you are always a certificated teacher and are governed by the code at all times.
Who will be assisting me?
If you are the subject of a complaint, you will typically be assisted by an executive staff officer of the ATA who has experience and training in these matters. The executive staff officer will be backed up by a team and will provide advice and, if necessary, direct representation.
If warranted, the ATA will organize additional support from legal counsel.
Does it cost anything to be represented by the ATA?
Representation is a benefit of membership. The ATA represents active members in matters relating to complaints at no cost.
If you are a superintendent or chief deputy superintendent and hold associate membership, you too may be eligible for assistance. Contact the ATA.
How long does the process take?
After the initial complaint, the ATPC has 30 days to complete a preliminary inquiry.
Upon receipt of the preliminary inquiry report, the commissioner has 30 days to decide how to proceed and whether to refer the matter to investigation.
There are no legislated timelines for completing an investigation.
Why can’t the ATA tell me more about the process?
Well, we are still learning ourselves!
Since January 1, 2023, the ATA has been supporting members who have had complaints of unprofessional conduct or incompetence made against them. As we engage with the ATPC, we are learning how it is interpreting and implementing the processes set out in legislation and regulations.
The ATPC, too, is still figuring this all out. The evolving nature of the process makes it difficult for us to explain it to our members with complete certainty.
One thing is clear. The ATA’s goal in representing members is to ensure that they receive the benefit of natural justice and procedural fairness.
Does the ATA have confidence that the system will work with fairness and integrity?
The ATA has confidence that the system can work with fairness and integrity.
Staff officers (in conjunction with legal counsel, when necessary) represent members in a way that requires the ATPC to treat our members fairly.
Through informal discussions and legal representation, the ATA has already encouraged the ATPC to improve certain procedures, ensuring greater fairness in the treatment of our members while enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the process.
What other supports can I access?
Remember that you are not alone! Contact the ATA at any time.
In addition, the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan (ASEBP) provides you with access to various services that can support your well-being during times of stress.