Alberta’s government is asking Albertans for input to help develop a single code of professional conduct for all teachers and teacher leaders regardless of where they are employed. A public survey gives teachers and teacher leaders, parents, students and Albertans across the province the chance to provide their input. The survey is available on alberta.ca until Oct. 7.
Currently, there are two codes of conduct for teachers and teacher leaders, one for those who are members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and one for those who are not. A unified code of professional conduct will include the best and most effective features of both codes.
“This is another step that improves the quality of classroom education in Alberta. We’re building on our important work to enhance oversight of the teacher profession and ensure the safety and wellbeing of students so they can get the education we know they deserve.”
“The CASS board of directors is pleased the ministry will consult school system leaders, other education partners and the broader public in the development of the new code of professional conduct.”
“Our association welcomes public engagement on the development of a single code of conduct for teachers and teacher leaders. It is important that input from a broad range of stakeholders be considered including the certified professionals who work in independent schools and early childhood services programs, as well as the parents who choose these institutions for their children.”
“We trust our teachers with our children every single day – that is why the future code of professional conduct is so important. I’m pleased to see Alberta’s government engaging with a wide range of education partners, victim advocacy groups and everyday parents, teachers, and students. This survey is an opportunity for all of us to share our feedback, on behalf of the youth we serve, to develop this new code of conduct.”
“Teachers, like health professionals, psychologists and social workers, hold positions of power and authority with their students and families. We are pleased to provide input to help ensure the updated code of conduct specifically addresses protection for students against sexual abuse.”
In addition to the public survey, the government continues to engage with a broad spectrum of key education system stakeholders who will provide valuable feedback and insight on the unified code of professional conduct. This includes the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools, the Alberta School Boards Association, the College of Alberta School Superintendents, the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta and the Association of Alberta Deans of Education.
Consultations have also included focused engagement with victim advocacy groups including the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and the Respect Group Inc. During the review of the teacher discipline process, which informed the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act, stakeholder engagement also included victim advocacy groups. Continued engagement with victim advocacy groups will ensure that standards in the new single code of conduct consider important perspectives on student safety.
- In spring 2022, the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act set out the authority to develop a code of professional conduct that will apply to all teachers and teacher leaders.
- Currently, two codes of conduct are in effect:
- The ATA Code of Professional Conduct is for teachers who work in public, separate and francophone schools as well as those who work in school authority central offices who are part of the collective agreement and hold active membership status in the ATA. This code applies to about 85 per cent of Alberta’s practising teachers and teacher leaders.
- The Professional Conduct Requirements for Teachers and Teacher Leaders are found in the schedule of the Practice Review of Teachers and Teacher Leaders Regulation. These conduct requirements apply to all teachers and teacher leaders who are not active members of the ATA, including those employed in First Nations schools, public charter schools and independent schools, as well as superintendents and teacher leaders who work in school authority central offices and are not active ATA members. This code of conduct applies to about 15 per cent of Alberta’s practising teachers and teacher leaders and all remaining certificated teachers and teacher leaders who have left the profession or retired.
- For the purposes of the new unified code of conduct, a teacher is someone who holds a valid Alberta teaching certificate issued by the Minister of Education, and a teacher leader is a teacher who holds a leadership certificate or a superintendent leadership certificate.
- It is anticipated that the new code of conduct will be implemented Jan. 1, 2023