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Here you can find answers to many Frequently Asked Questions, grouped by topic.
Any individual teaching in BC's kindergarten to grade 12 education sector must have
a valid teaching certificate from the Ministry of Education, and must be in good standing
with the Teacher Regulation Branch. For public schools, this includes all teachers,
administrators and superintendents employed in the province's kindergarten to grade 12
public school system. Individuals wishing to teach in an independent or First Nations schools
with group 1, 2, or 4 classifications must also hold a valid BC teaching certificate, and
must be in good standing with the Teacher Regulation Branch. The same applies for teachers
and administrators who wish to work in BC offshore schools.
The Commissioner for Teacher Regulation is appointed under the Teachers Act to ensure concerns
about teacher competence and conduct are addressed fairly and in the public interest. The
Commissioner is an independent statutory decision-maker and has the following responsibilities:
The Commissioner does not decide the merits of a report or complaint or make any discipline decisions
concerning guilt or innocence related to the conduct or competence of a certified educator. The
Commissioner's function is to decide the appropriate process, as set out in the Teachers Act,
to address the matters that come before him/her. For example, he/she may decide to enter into a consent
resolution agreement with the certified educator; order an investigation; or issue a citation,
which would lead to a hearing.
The Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB) operates the teacher regulation system in British Columbia. This
includes providing the necessary administrative support for the Commissioner to carry out his/her mandate under the Teachers Act.
To ensure the functions of the Commissioner are carried out efficiently, the Teachers Act
provides the Commissioner with the authority to delegate administrative aspects of his/her statutory
responsibility to Teacher Regulation Branch staff. For example, TRB staff are responsible for the
intake of complaints and report from boards of education and independent school authorities, as well
as investigations that are ordered by the Commissioner.
When a report or complaint is received related to the conduct or competence of a certified educator in B.C.,
the Commissioner will conduct a preliminary review of the matters raised in the report or complaint and will
make a decision about how to proceed. The Commissioner may at that point decide to take no action, if certain
considerations set out in the Teachers Act apply. If this is the case, the Commissioner must provide
written reasons for the decision.
Alternately, the Commissioner may decide to enter into a consent resolution agreement with the certified
educator; order an investigation; or issue a citation, which would lead to a hearing.
In the case of an investigation, the Teachers Act gives the Commissioner broad powers to investigate,
to compel witnesses and to require disclosure - which is a power that is new under the Teachers Act.
If the matter is being addressed in another process, for example a criminal matter pursued through the courts,
the Commissioner may decide to defer acting on the complaint if he/she determines that it is in the public interest
to allow the other process to run its course before taking action.
If the matter is not resolved through consent resolution and a citation is issued, the matter will go before a hearing panel.
Transparency is of primary importance. Discipline outcomes and reasons for decision, whether arrived at through
a consent resolution agreement or a hearing, will be made public and will be captured on the public registry,
as required by the Teachers Act, unless doing so would cause a significant hardship to a person or persons
who has/have been harmed by the certified educator.
Citations are issued by the Commissioner and set out allegations against a certified educator (or former certified
educator) that will be considered at a hearing. Allegations contained in a citation are unproven unless
and until a hearing panel has determined their validity. The allegations contained in a citation are published
in the Hearing Schedule on the Teacher Regulation Branch
website in the 10 days preceding a hearing. Publishing allegations is in keeping with the public interest and
is consistent with the judicial system and the practices of other regulators.
At any point between a preliminary review or the initiation of an investigation, and the resolution of a
report or complaint at a hearing, the Commissioner may offer or accept a consent resolution agreement.
This is a voluntary agreement entered into by a certified educator.
Consent resolution outcomes are more certain, timelier and more cost effective than the citation and hearing process. Additionally, consent resolution avoids
potentially having children testify at a hearing as witnesses.
The Teachers Act is based on the foundational principles of public interest and transparency. In order
to fulfill the explicit transparency provisions of the Act, every aspect of teacher regulation is as transparent to
the public as possible - this includes having open hearings. In order to attend a public hearing, members of the public must make
reservations through the online Visitor Reservation Form on the TRB site.
While public access for hearings is the presumption, hearing panels do have the right to make certain parts of the hearings,
or even the entirety of a hearing private at their discretion and therefore any observers could be asked to leave at any time
if the reasons were justifiable.
If a case proceeds to a hearing, a hearing panel, appointed by the Commissioner, decides the outcome; this includes determining the
appropriate sanctions based on the merits of the case.
If a case goes to consent resolution, the Commissioner will review any proposed terms of an agreement, and will only
agree if he/she is satisfied that the terms are appropriate to the circumstances.
The Commissioner will always take a number of factors into consideration when it comes to what is an
appropriate sanction, including context, any disciplinary action/sanctions at the employer level, and previous precedent.
If a case goes to a hearing, the hearing panel determines the appropriate sanctions based on the merits of the case.
In any case, whether resolved through a disciplinary hearing or through consensual resolution, there are
several options available if the certified educator is found to have breached the professional standards. These
include a reprimand, suspension, placing limits or conditions on, or cancellation of a certificate.
Reprimands are a recognition that the conduct of the certified educator in question is contrary to the Standards.
A consequence of a reprimand is the public notice through publication of the nature of the conduct and the resulting consequences.
A permanent record of the conduct and outcome is also documented on the public registry, as required by the Teachers Act.
All consent resolution agreements and panel decisions in discipline cases will be made public, unless that would
cause a significant hardship to a person who has been harmed by the certified educator.
The BC Teachers' Council is responsible for setting standards for teachers in areas of teacher education, certification,
conduct and competence. The Council receives its mandate from the Teachers Act. Read more about the Council.
© BC MINISTRY OF EDUCATION 2017