Foundations of Education


Introduces the Ontario College of Teachers and the principle of professional self-regulation.

Key Concepts

  • Ontario College of Teachers
  • professional self-regulation

Graded Tasks

  • contribute to the LMS forums

The Ontario College of Teachers

The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) is the professional body which regulates the teaching profession in Ontario.

Watch the following video (produced by the OTF) which introduces the Ontario College of Teachers:

Drawing on content from the OCT website, the Ontario College of Teachers fulfills the following mandates:

  • Licenses Qualified Teachers: All public school teachers in Ontario must be certified by and be members in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers. Members can and should use the designation "OCT" (which means Ontario Certified Teacher) after their names. This designation shows the public that a teacher has met the high standards required of Ontario’s teaching profession.
  • Accredits Teacher Education Programs: The Ontario College of Teachers accredits teacher education programs in Ontario, including more than 50 full and part-time programs in 18 university faculties.
  • Approves Additional Qualification Courses: The Ontario College of Teachers reviews and approves Additional Qualification (AQ) courses that are offered to certified teachers throughout the province (including at Brock University ()). AQ courses help teachers stay up-to-date with their practices, expand their skills, and meet the challenges of today’s classrooms.
  • Investigates and Resolves Complaints: The Ontario College of Teachers investigates and resolves complaints about members to ensure public confidence that classrooms are safe for students. A three-member panel reviews investigation reports, and a disciplinary panel rules on allegations of misconduct. There are two types of hearings:
    • disciplinary hearings () related to complaints of professional misconduct or incompetence, and their decisions (), are public.
    • hearings related to complaints of a member's fitness to practice are not public.
As part of its mandate, the Ontario College of Teachers certifies teachers in Ontario. When teacher candidates graduate from Brock University (and other teacher education programs throughout the province) they are recommended by the university to the Ontario College of Teachers for certification. As part of the certification process, most graduates also apply to become members of the Ontario College of Teachers. As noted above, certified teachers in Ontario are encouraged to include the "OCT" designation after their names which indicates to others that they are an Ontario certified teacher and a member of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Self-regulation of the Teaching Profession

CREDIT: The text below is excerpted from: The Ontario College of Teachers website. License: Used with permission per the website's terms and conditions. URL:

The Privilege to Self-regulate

Professional self-regulation recognizes the maturity of a profession and acknowledges that its members are capable of governing themselves. It means the government has delegated its regulatory authority to those with the specialized knowledge required to do the job.

A self-regulating profession protects the public interest by setting standards of competency and conduct, and disciplines members that fail to meet them. It has the right and responsibility to license and discipline members.

Ethical Standards

The ethical standards of care, respect, trust and integrity are an essential part of the teaching profession in Ontario, and support the professionalism and success of teaching in the province. Self-regulation ensures that the Ontario College of Teachers' members integrate those standards into their everyday practice.
📌 The Ontario College of Teachers' Ethical Standards of Practice are introduced in a later topic this week.

What Sets Self-regulation Apart

Professional regulators differ from other organizations such as professional associations. Those organizations…further the economic, employment, political and other interests of their members. Usually, they neither license nor discipline their members.
📌 Reflect on the above points as you consider the different roles played by the Ontario College of Teachers and the Ontario Teachers' Federation (and its affiliates) which were introduced last week.
Log into the LMS and answer the following question which is a graded task:
Q5.2: With reference to the course content for last week and this week, compare and contrast the different roles and responsibilities of the Ontario Teachers' Federation (and its affiliates) and the Ontario College of Teachers. (Actions: Post (Mon-Thu) and/or Respond (Fri-Sun) | 150 - 200 words total)
LMS Forum Question

Establishing the College

Self-regulation of the teaching profession in Ontario dates back to 1994. In their report, For the Love of Learning, Ontario’s Royal Commission on Learning stated that "the teaching profession in Ontario must now be considered equal to other established professions." It recommended establishing the College, and in 1997 the Ontario College of Teachers Act created the College.

What We Do

The Ontario College of Teachers Act gives the Ontario College of Teachers the exclusive right to regulate the teaching profession on behalf of its members, including:

  • setting the requirements to become a teacher
  • certifying teachers
  • developing and maintaining ethical and professional standards
  • accrediting teacher education programs and courses
  • disciplining those who breach provincial standards of teaching conduct

Accountability to the Public

A key element of self-regulation is public accountability. The Ontario College of Teachers operates "in an open and accountable manner, and always with the public interest in mind. We communicate with the public regularly about what we do and how we support public education in Ontario. We prioritize transparency in everything we do with the public."
📌 The assurances in the above statement have faced some criticism in the past. In 2012, the Registrar of the Ontario College Teachers, responding to a commissioned report which examined the Ontario College of Teachers and public accountability, acknowledged that "we have not been as open and transparent as the public expects.” Both the OCT and the Ontario Ministry of Education promised to "move quickly on the recommendations" in the report. ()