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Alberta seeking public input in development of new teacher code of conduct

Wednesday, September 21, 2022 @ 12:34 PM | By Ian Burns

Alberta’s government is reaching out to members of the public to provide feedback on the development of a single code of professional conduct for teachers and teacher leaders in the province.

Currently, there are two codes of conduct for teachers and teacher leaders in Alberta, one for those who are members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) and one for those who are not. But the province is looking to change that as part of its efforts to reform the teacher discipline process, and has set up a public survey to allow educators, parents and students a chance to provide input on a new unified code.

“This is another step that improves the quality of classroom education in Alberta,” said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. “We’re building on our important work to enhance oversight of the teacher profession and ensure the safety and well-being of students, so they can get the education we know they deserve.”

Earlier this year the province adopted the Education (Reforming Teacher Profession Discipline) Amendment Act, which set out the authority to develop a code of conduct, among other provisions. But a University of Calgary law professor said at the time the legislation raised several red flags in terms of administrative independence, noting most regulated professions have codes of conduct which are developed by the profession itself.

The province said it continues to engage with a broad spectrum of key education system stakeholders, such as the ATA and the Alberta School Boards Association. Consultations have also included focused on engagement with victim advocacy groups including the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services, the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre and the Respect Group.

“We trust our teachers with our children every single day. That is why the future code of professional conduct is so important,” said Respect Group co-founder Sheldon Kennedy, a former NHL player who was subject to many years of sexual abuse by a coach. “I’m pleased to see Alberta’s government engaging with a wide range of education partners, victim advocacy groups and everyday parents, teachers, and students. This survey is an opportunity for all of us to share our feedback, on behalf of the youth we serve, to develop this new code of conduct.”

The survey is available online until Oct. 7. The government said it anticipates the new code of conduct will be implemented Jan. 1, 2023.

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