Ontario Regulation 274/ 12, “Hiring Practices” ( http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_120274_e.htm ) must be revoked, in favour of an alternative that takes into account the various circumstances of teachers across the province of Ontario.
Regulation 274 is flawed for various reasons, including (but not limited to) the following:
- Despite charges of nepotism in hiring, most teachers are hired in this province based on merit. Previously, principals and school boards had the ability to hire teachers based on proven dedication and hard work. It is necessary that the Ministry of Education recognize that there are many factors that make up a great teacher: personality, energy, education, experience (both within and outside of the classroom), interests, attitude, and many more. Seniority is only one small factor. Regulation 274 is no longer allowing principals to reward and recognize merit in our province’s future educators.
- In reading through Regulation 274, it is apparent that no safeguards or considerations have been put in place for teachers who, for various reasons, may need to relocate within the province. Ontario is a province with an area of over 1 million square kilometers, and over 70 different school boards. Ontario families often opt to relocate for various reasons, including family illness, spousal job promotion or transfer, or simply personal preference. As the Regulation stands, a teacher with any number of years of experience (2? 5? 15?) with an Ontario school board would have to choose between one of the following options if they needed to relocate:
A) Commute for hours each day in order to remain employed with their current board (this option may not even be feasible, depending on the distance of the move), or,
B) Apply to a new board and (under Regulation 274), begin at the bottom of the seniority and hope that (despite, say, 10 years of Ontario teaching experience) they may eventually make their way to the top of the list and “earn” a contract once again.
“Option A” means the teacher must commute long hours and spend less time with both their family and their students. Option A would likely mean that these teachers would not have much time left to dedicate to extra-curricular activities or to plan rich, meaningful lessons for students. “Option B,” frankly, just doesn’t seem fair. A teacher, who has proven through years of service that they are a quality educator, should not be required to start from square one again. Few established professionals (likely carrying mortgages, and with families to support) would have the financial stability to be able to take this gamble. The whole system seems flawed, rashly implemented, and not thought through for all possible scenarios.
- What we need in Ontario is a way to recognize teaching experience province-wide. Teachers across Ontario provide the same curriculum, follow the same expectations, and are regulated by the same governing body (The Ontario College of Teachers). If regulations such as Ontario Regulation 274 and Bill 115 are going to be implemented on a province-wide level, then experience and seniority must be recognized provincially as well.
In as competitive a job market as exists in Ontario boards of education, should we not be putting Ontario students first and rewarding the “best and brightest” teachers with jobs, rather than the ones who have simply been around the longest? Where is the incentive to prove oneself and go above-and-beyond, if an Ontario teacher needs to simply bide their time and wait out the years until they reach the top of a seniority list? Regulation 274 recognizes only one factor: Seniority.
In order to provide the best quality education for the children in Ontario’s classrooms, Ontario Regulation 274 must be rescinded. This regulation does not recognize the talents of new teachers, nor does it credit the experience of teachers who need to relocate within the province and seek employment with a new Ontario school board. Surely, there must be another way to regulate hiring practices for Ontario teachers that does not affect students and educators so drastically.