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Quebec teachers want a professional order like in Ontario

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These teachers believe that the creation of a professional order to supervise their work would better protect students.

  • Jean-Philippe Robillard ( View profile)Jean-Philippe Robillard

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During the election campaign, the CAQ proposed the creation of a professional order for teachers. The idea had no follow-up, but it has just been taken up by a group of around ten primary and secondary teachers.

We believe that the time is right to relaunch the debate, says teacher Simon Landry. Many of us decry the fact that the profession has been devalued for a long time.

The group is also preparing to launch petitions in this direction to obtain support. There will be an online petition for teaching staff and another for the general public.

The idea is that it raises the level policy so that the process begins with the Office of Professions.

These teachers believe that the creation of a professional order to supervise their work would make it possible to better protect students and ensure the quality of education provided in classes.

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More and more of us are worried, wanting to regulate the profession, because we judge that the teaching profession is just as valid as a lawyer, a doctor or an engineer. […] It is as much to raise the standards of the profession as to raise the professional ethics of teachers.

The order would serve to ensure not only the protection of the public but also the quality of the initial and continuing training of teaching staff.

These teachers hope to restore the image of their profession and put an end to the impunity of certain colleagues. Last year, media reports revealed cases of verbal abuse by teachers against students.

Almost all teachers are very high-level professionals with excellent ethics, assures Simon Landry, but at the moment, the less good, the less competent or the less ethical continue to navigate through the system and to be protected.

They also believe that the presence of non-legally qualified teachers currently in schools, due to labor shortages, justifies more than ever the establishment of a professional order in Quebec.

We have big, big concerns about the leveling down that our profession is experiencing. […] At the moment, there seems to be a discourse that says that anyone can teach, says Simon Landry.

A point of view shared by psychologist and academic success specialist Egide Royer. What we are currently experiencing in terms of shortage is an additional argument. The shortage and diversification of paths to becoming a teacher currently militate strongly in favor of the creation of a professional order, he maintains.

Teaching must be officially recognized as a profession with a professional order.

A quote from Égide Royer, psychologist and specialist in academic success.

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Égide Royer, psychologist, specialist in adaptation and academic success, associate professor at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at Laval University.

Professor Royer affirms that the role of a professional order is to protect the public, unlike union organizations, whose primary objective is to protect their members.

A society developed like ours in terms of education should be able to live with a professional order of teachers which supervises the profession and which protects the public, he argues. The question of the quality of education and the quality of the professional action of teachers is not a union question, it is more a question of profession.

M. Royer gives the example of Ontario, where unions and a professional order governing the work of teachers have coexisted since 1997.

The Professional Order is really to protect the public interest, the interest of the students. It's not about protecting the interests of teachers: that's the role of unions.

A quote from Gabrielle Barkany, Ontario College of Teachers

Each year, the order receives hundreds of complaints from its members, the public or school boards against teachers whose behavior or work is deemed reprehensible or questionable.

We receive complaints related to professional incompetence or professional misconduct and we investigate these complaints, explains Gabrielle Barkany.

She affirms that the Order acts as a student protection agency. Whether in our disciplinary decisions or in the granting of a teaching permit, what is at the heart of our decisions is the student and their success.

The union centers have already opposed the creation of such a professional order in Quebec. Simon Landry expects there to be opposition to the project.

There will be resistance. There are people who will say that it is not necessary, that it does nothing, that it is dangerous, he admits.

During the 2012 election, François Legault's CAQ promised to create a professional order before taking power. The group of teachers hopes that their petition will move the Minister of Education.

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