Created under the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act (PDF, 1.2 MB), the Alberta Teaching Profession Commission oversees disciplinary matters for teachers, much like professional organizations do for a variety of occupations in Alberta, including nurses, doctors and social workers.
The commission reviews and investigates complaints of alleged unprofessional conduct and professional incompetence filed against Alberta certificated teachers and teacher leaders. This includes teachers who are members of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) as well as those who are not part of the ATA. Teachers and teacher leaders who are not members of the ATA are those employed in independent (private), public charter and First Nations schools, as well as superintendents and other teacher leaders working in school board offices, and any teachers or teacher leaders who are no longer practicing.
The commission consists of a commissioner and a team of investigators, professional assurance officers, and administrative professionals.
The disciplinary process follows these steps:
- Alberta Education’s registrar would first receive a complaint filed about the alleged unprofessional conduct or alleged professional incompetence of an Alberta certificated teacher or teacher leader. The registrar then confirms that the individual was a teacher or teacher leader at the time of the complaint, and assigns the complaint to the commission.
- The registrar can also answer any inquiries related to filing a complaint. Complaints are sent to the registrar given the registrar’s authority to issue certificates and report on the professional standing of Alberta certificated teachers and teacher leaders.
- The commissioner will review the matter and determine whether or not an investigation is needed to gather more information. Alternatively, the commissioner may take no further action (ie, if the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or without merit).
- If further investigation is not needed, the commissioner could initiate:
- a dispute resolution process (for matters of unprofessional conduct only)
- a mediation process to try and resolve the complaint with the parties
- If further investigation is needed, an investigator may interview the person who made the complaint, the teacher or teacher leader who is the subject of complaint, and any others who may have relevant information.
- After investigation, the commissioner may:
- refer the matter to a hearing
- enter into a consent resolution agreement. In a consent resolution agreement:
- the teacher or teacher leader admits to unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence and a hearing is avoided
- the teacher or teacher leader, the commissioner and the registrar come together to agree on a penalty
- penalties may include but are not limited to reprimands, personal or professional development conditions or the suspension or cancellation of the teacher’s or teacher leader’s certificate of practice
- enter into a dispute resolution process (for matters of unprofessional conduct only)
- If the commissioner determines the case warrants a hearing, a hearing is conducted by a committee.
- The committee may make a finding of unprofessional conduct and/or professional incompetence and recommend a penalty to the Minister of Education for consideration, or they may dismiss the case. The hearing committee's decision may be appealed, and the appeal would be heard by a different committee.
All consent resolution agreements that recommend suspension or cancellation of a certificate, and all hearing and appeal committee decisions will be sent to the Minister of Education to make a final decision. Decisions and consent resolution agreements that result in a finding of unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence are posted to the Teacher and Teacher Leader Registry.
Making a complaint
Alberta Education’s registrar receives complaints about matters of alleged unprofessional conduct or alleged professional incompetence against certificated teachers and teacher leaders. This is because the registrar is responsible for issuing certificates of practice to teachers and teacher leaders and keeping records on the status of each certificate issued.
After receiving a complaint, it is the registrar’s role to confirm that the individual in question was a teacher or teacher leader at the time of the complaint before assigning the complaint to the commission.
If you would like to submit a complaint, or learn more about the hearing process, visit the Conduct and competency complaints page.
Meet the commissioner
Julia Sproule was appointed as commissioner of the Teaching Profession on September 28th, 2022. Julia is an experienced legal advisor with a diversity of legal and leadership experience including management of workplace investigations, appearances before administrative tribunals and legislative and statutory interpretation. She has held associate roles in private practice, as well as in-house counsel roles in industry and government. She has experience in change management, project management and senior leadership.
Julia is active in the community as demonstrated through her work on the board of directors of Women Building Futures and as an executive member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, Alberta branch. She is passionate about education, having served her school community as a member of the school council at her local school, and she was on the board of directors at Die Kleine Kinderschule preschool.
Julia graduated from the University of Alberta in 2001 with a BA (Honors) and received her law degree in 2005, also from the University of Alberta. She was called to the Alberta Bar in 2006.
"I am honored to be appointed to the role of Commissioner, Teaching Profession. I look forward to leading the Commission in this new model as it undertakes its important and meaningful work.”
Julia’s five-year term as commissioner began on January 1, 2023.
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