Chair’s Message

Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT


2018 was a transition year with the conclusion of the seventh Council and the inauguration of the eighth Council.

Promoting Council elections among our membership proved to be fruitful, with 69 candidates nominated to run for elected positions.

Although voter turnout was low, the interest from Ontario Certified Teachers (OCTs) to serve on Council is promising.

Self-regulation is enhanced by the willingness of OCTs to serve their profession in the public interest.

Those who concluded their distinguished service with us on Council include appointed members Marie-Claude Yaacov in March, Jane Ishibashi in August, and Marie-Thérèse Hokayem and James Knopp in September. Elected member Jennifer Stewart also left Council in February.

In September, Mary-Ellen Gucciardi and Gerry O’Reilly were appointed by Council as elected members to fill two vacant positions on Council. In addition, Jonathan Rose was appointed to Council in February for a three-year term. The terms of service for appointed members Colleen Landers, Bill Petrie and Thomas Potter were also extended.

We are grateful for the dedication and contributions of those who left and welcome our new colleagues.

The 37-member Council understands the privilege of self-regulation and governs in the public interest. This is done with the utmost transparency and accountability, making decisions that set the direction for the teaching profession in Ontario.

Protecting students

Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of Ontario students. This is why Council approved a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Education to amend the Ontario College of Teachers Act.

For example, we approved expanding the list of acts that would result in mandatory revocation of a teacher’s licence, including touching of a sexual nature by a teacher of a student’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks.

Council also approved the College’s professional advisory to support students with mental health concerns, and an updated version of our advisory on the duty to report.


This year, the seventh Council's Governance Committee initiated an independent review of the College’s governance structure and processes. Governance Solutions Inc. was selected to perform the review after a public request for proposals.

The report was presented to the eighth Council in November. The government simultaneously introduced Bill 48, the Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2018, which includes proposed governance changes. Both the report and the bill were part of Council discussions.

Listening to you

In the summer, the College held focus group sessions with College members and the public. We conducted these sessions to gauge opinions on a number of College initiatives and communication products.

For example, we discussed OCTs' professional development, the College’s branding and preferred topics for future professional advisories.

We conducted these sessions in English and French in Kingston, Ottawa, Kitchener, London, Timmins and Toronto. These cities were chosen to reflect different geographical regions, demographics and languages.

This feedback helps the College's staff and governing Council act with increased efficiency.

New strategic priorities

In the fall, Council engaged in the important task of reviewing the College’s mission, vision and strategic priorities. Through participation of Council members and senior staff, our mission and vision continue to be clearly tied to our mandate.

Our revised strategic priorities continue to foster public confidence and trust.

Honouring future teachers

We were delighted this year to recognize three accomplished and impressive teacher candidates with our annual Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program.

Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education Recipient:

Taylor Crawford from Oshawa. She is a teacher candidate at Queen’s University.

Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship - Primary/Junior or Junior/Intermediate Recipient:

Sarah Salt from Campbellville. She is a teacher candidate at Brock University.

Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship – Intermediate/Senior Recipient:

Luke Sawczak from Georgetown. He is a teacher candidate at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Council members and staff are highly dedicated to the mandate of the College. I extend my sincere gratitude for everyone’s professionalism and collaborative efforts. We continue to serve in the public interest and set the direction for the teaching profession in Ontario.

Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT

Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT
Chair of Council