We are continuing to put students first by taking steps to fix Kindergarten to Grade 12 teacher and teacher leader disciplinary processes in Alberta.
Our actions will improve the education system by providing greater accountability, transparency and timeliness while ensuring legislation and related regulations that oversee these processes do not present a conflict of interest. Alberta Education continues to meet regularly with the Alberta Teachers’ Association.
We will consider any area of the discipline process for the teaching profession that needs improvements in legislation, related regulations and provincial policies.
The Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act received Royal Assent on May 31, 2022. It creates the Alberta Teaching Profession Commission and appoints an arm’s-length commissioner to oversee teacher and teacher leader conduct and competency complaints for the profession. The hiring process for the arm’s-length commissioner is currently underway.
(current discipline process until January 1, 2023)
- Registrar’s Complaint Process - Alleged Unprofessional Conduct (PDF, 507 KB)
- Professional Conduct Requirements (PDF, 498 KB)
- Registrar’s Complaint Process - Alleged Unskilled or Incompetent Practice (PDF, 507 KB)
- ATA Complaint Process - Alleged Unprofessional Conduct (PDF, 441 KB)
- ATA Complaint Process - Professional Competence (PDF, 457 KB)
Teacher discipline in Alberta
Alberta is the only Canadian province where a teachers’ union has the sole responsibility for overseeing complaints of alleged unprofessional conduct and professional competence filed against their union members.
Almost all other Canadian provinces and territories, except Ontario and Saskatchewan, have models where the provincial government:
- is responsible for issuing teaching certificates (a licence to practice)
- is fully or partially responsible for addressing teacher discipline matters related to certification
- plays a role in professional discipline matters with additional checks and balances in place, such as hearing and appeal committees comprised of teachers and public members who operate at arms-length from government to address and make judgements on these matters.
Other professions within Alberta have professional regulatory organizations that oversee matters of professional discipline for their members such as nurses, some doctors, and social workers. These organizations are self-regulated and are not part of the union, where one might exist.
Very few teachers in Alberta experience the teacher discipline process. When this process does take place, it must be fair, effective, and transparent.
Numbers at a glance
- ~53,000 total practicing teachers and teacher leaders in Alberta.
- ~46,000 members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association employed in public, separate and francophone school authorities.
- ~7,000 teachers and teacher leaders currently employed in other schools.
- 0.25% of practicing Alberta teachers and teacher leaders had complaints filed against them in 2020.
- ~0.018% of Alberta teacher and teacher leaders had their certificates suspended or cancelled due to unprofessional conduct in 2020.
Improving teacher discipline: a timeline
September 1, 2019
- Professional practice standards come into effect for principals and superintendents, along with new certificate requirements for teacher leaders and a revised standard for teachers.
April 22, 2021
- The College of Alberta School Superintendents Act receives Royal Assent. Parts of the Act are proclaimed on September 1, 2021, where Ministerial approval to appoint a Superintendent of Schools is no longer required, with an obligation to only notify the Minister of a superintendent’s appointment.
December 2, 2021
- The Students First Act receives Royal Assent.
December 15, 2021
- Order-in-council implements the provision in the Students First Act impacting the Teaching Profession Act, requiring the ATA to notify the Registrar at Alberta Education of all complaints received about their members and at various stages throughout the complaint process.
- Engagement with education partners and victim advocacy groups to inform the governance structure of how matters of professional conduct and competence are handled in the teaching profession can be addressed by amending legislation. For introduction in Spring 2022
May 31, 2022
- The Reforming Teaching Profession Discipline Act introduced to separate the teacher disciplinary process from the ATA’s mandate and functions.
June 15, 2022
- The Education Act Transitional Regulation is signed to ensure a smooth shift from the current system of teacher and teacher leader professionalism to the new Alberta Teaching Commission, effective January 1, 2023.
- Transitional regulations will allow, throughout the first half of 2023, for discipline matters to continue in accordance with the rules under which they were started.
- Sections of the Students First Act that amend the Education Act, Teaching Profession Act and College of Alberta School Superintendents Act will come into force upon proclamation.
- Teacher discipline registry will be publicly accessible online upon proclamation of parts of the Students First Act.
- The Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline Act sets out the new proposed disciplinary model under the direction of the Alberta Teaching Profession Commissioner and would come into force on January 1, 2023.
- For discipline matters that are underway when the new Act takes effect, transitional regulations will allow, throughout the first half of 2023, for matters to continue in accordance with the rules under which they were started.
- To further ensure a smooth transition, the timelines for proclamation of Bill 15 would vary. Consequential amendments to the College of Alberta School Superintendents Act and Students First Act for non-operational provisions would come into force upon royal assent. These items deal primarily with consequential changes such as the discipline process under the College of Alberta School Superintendents Act that would not be enabled.
- Raising the bar with education leaders (March 9, 2021)
- Putting students first (November 16, 2021)
- Putting students first: Minister LaGrange (December 9, 2021)
- Keeping students safe: Reforming the disciplinary process (March 31, 2022)