School Board Hiring Practices Consultation Guide

About this Consultation

The ministry concluded this year's consultation on the Grants for Student Needs (GSN) in December 2018. As a follow-up, the ministry undertook a further consultation on teacher hiring practices, which recently concluded on February 22, 2019.

The current process for hiring occasional and permanent teachers to bargaining units represented by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA), the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) or the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) is governed by Ontario Regulation 274/12 and complemented by local collective agreement language and local hiring policies. In addition, Regulation 298, Operation of Schools – General sets out rules for the assignment of teachers to teaching positions based on qualifications, safety, and program quality.

This guide is intended to support stakeholders in understanding the government's proposed changes to school board hiring practices of teachers in Ontario. This guide sets out some considerations and questions with the aim of supporting a dialogue and stakeholder submissions on the government's proposed changes.

The government is committed to discussing teacher hiring practices to allow stakeholders, including education sector labour partners, to provide the benefit of their expertise, experience, and ideas.

The ministry wishes to meet with education sector labour partners to continue the discussion on the proposals contained in this guide. If your organization is willing to participate in an in-person meeting, please contact us to make arrangements. To ensure your feedback is considered, please forward your electronic submission by May 31, 2019 to: PTPSB@Ontario.ca. Please send any questions about the process to the email address noted above.

Goals

We are pleased to share with you our proposed teacher hiring practices plans and next steps which are guided by the following key goals:

  1. Student Achievement: Success and well-being of every child.
  2. Protect Front Line Staff: Improve access to employment opportunities for teachers.
  3. Fiscal Responsibility: Deliver services in an effective and efficient manner.
  4. Evidence-based Decision Making: Grounded in sound policy and empirical research.
  5. Diverse teaching staff: Enhance the quality of student education through a diverse teaching staff.

School Board Hiring Practices

Topic Current Status Proposed Changes
Teacher Mobility
  • A teacher wishing to move between school boards would lose seniority and must apply to be placed on the occasional teacher (OT) roster again.
  • A relocating permanent teacher from any board may apply to be placed on an ETFO long-term occasional (LTO) list and shall be granted an interview.
  • Teachers are able to apply to a school board's single hiring pool for permanent positions in any Ontario school board for which they are qualified.
  • New teachers have direct access to apply to permanent positions in any school board.
Right Teacher for the Job
  • School boards must follow hiring processes set out in O. Reg. 274/12, which are largely based on seniority.
  • Hiring is responsive to local needs and is based on transparent criteria including teacher qualifications, experience and due regard for the provision of the best possible program for students as determined by principals.
  • Remove maximum number of interviewees required.
Simplifying the Hiring Process
  • Currently the regulation differs for every union/federation.
  • The requirements for the OT roster and LTO list including the interview caps, entitlements to debrief interviews, and the importance of seniority in hiring to LTO and permanent positions differ for every union/federation.
  • Require boards to maintain a single hiring pool of Ontario College of Teachers certified teachers who are eligible to be hired for any available position including occasional, long-term occasional, or permanent, as determined by the principal, instead of the current staged entry requirements.
  • There will no longer be an OT roster and LTO list. Instead, the regulation will provide the parameters for a separate OT hiring process.
Reducing Bias in Teacher Hiring Practices
  • O. Reg. 274/12 highlights the importance of seniority in the hiring process, which is intended to reduce bias.
  • Boards are required to include measures to address conflicts of interest as part of the local hiring process.
Addressing diversity and equity in hiring
  • The hiring process in the regulation is based primarily on seniority.
  • Regulatory amendments to enable boards to include diversity and equity considerations in hiring decisions.
  • Policy and Program Memorandum (PPM) to be developed on equity and diversity in hiring practices.

What We Heard

  • The majority of stakeholders expressed a desire for increased mobility, including the flexibility to move between teaching panels and school boards in different regions without having to start at the beginning of the hiring process again.
  • Stakeholders would like to have flexibility in hiring practices to:
    • Allow principal discretion in considering factors beyond seniority when selecting interview candidates.
    • Put school and school board local needs at the forefront of hiring, to improve student achievement.
  • Stakeholders said:
    • There is no need for both a roster and a list;
    • Do not increase interview cap; and
    • Allow principal discretion in how many candidates to interview.
  • Stakeholders are concerned about bias in the hiring process and suggest creating consistent policies that acknowledge experience, include prescribed rubrics, and include explicit declarations of conflict of interest.

Some stakeholders reported that the process requirements of the regulation can hinder attempts to foster equity and diversity. In some cases, they felt candidates, who reflect the diversity of the local community or the students themselves, may not be considered as they have less seniority than other candidates.

In response to the feedback provided, the proposed model would:

  • Provide increased mobility for teachers in Ontario
  • Ensure that teaching positions are filled by the right candidate
  • Simplify the hiring process to reduce turn over in the classroom
  • Reduce bias in hiring by addressing conflict of interest
  • Be complemented by a Policy and Program Memorandum (PPM) on equity and diversity in hiring practices
  • Apply to all school systems (French Language boards included)

Consultation Questions

  1. What are the implications of the proposals on hiring practices of teachers in Ontario in relation to the five key goals?
  2. Regarding this proposal, what issues will need to be considered for implementation?
  3. Are there alternative approaches that you would like to put forward that would achieve the government's five key goals?
  4. Are there any other comments you would like to provide, keeping in mind the five key goals?

Conclusion

In formulating the proposed changes set out above, the government is approaching these issues with five goals to guide decision making:

  1. Student Achievement
  2. Protect Front Line Staff
  3. Fiscal Responsibility
  4. Evidence-based Decision Making
  5. Diverse teaching staff

In addition to these goals, we were guided by your feedback in the first consultation. This feedback was extremely valuable and helped shape the proposed changes.

The ministry would be pleased to meet with education sector labour partners, which includes the teachers' federations, education worker unions and trustees' associations, to continue dialoguing on the planned changes contained in this guide, upon request.

We are committed to supporting students and families as we modernize education in a responsible manner while ensuring that decisions are having the greatest impact in the classroom.