Teachers Regulation Branch (BC) vs. Ontario College of Teachers

There are a lot of differences between what happens in BC and what happens in Ontario.

For starters, parents in Ontario get a copy of what parents submit to the college when a complaint is filed by a parent.

In BC, we have to submit a Freedom of Informaiton request, and we are blocked from accessing such information. (OIPC complaint in process. I’ll keep you posted on that.)

But for now…

Let us start by comparing websites.

Website Comparison

Ontario Teacher’s College

They have a tab called “Public Protection” & They have a “Parents” tab

ID: 5 tabs, public protection, parents, members, becoming a teacher, about the college. Under public protection 12 more tab options. Link to the website page is here.

Under Public Protection, you can see that they easily have a tab for professional standards.

The parents tab is highlighted. 6 tabs clearly indicated. Link to the website page is oct.ca.


They also have their accessibility policies easy to access.

Easy to find the annual reports listed in the tab below.

The About the College tab is highlighted with 14 tabs. The link to the website is oct.ca

BC Teacher’s Regulation Branch Website

No easily accessible information for parents. I feel that their website is a maze of information and you just have to move through everything. This is not accessible to various groups of people.

I cannot find anything about accessibility policies or any kind of commitment to anti-oppression, equity, diversity and inclusion. If it’s there, I don’t know where. And here is a game to play. Who can find the annual reports? I know where they are, so I know how hard it is to find them. Let’s see if you can find them?

Let’s look at their website and if you were a parent, how would you find out about information regarding this process and what you would need to file a complaint.

This is the main page that you start off looking at.

Under the Information about teaching in British Columbia, you can click on the 3rd item where it says “Read the standards of the Teaching profession”. Which in my mind, looks like an area for teachers.

Ministry of Education in Education and Child Care. 3 Sections, with bullet points and various tabs. The website link to this page.

Then the “Make a complaint or report about a certified teacher” will bring you to Commissioner page. (This has recently been redesigned)

Green band at the top with gob.bc.ca has a new design! Learn more link. This page is the Commissioner for Teacher Regualation with tabs located to the left and General information below. The website link to this page.

You then need to lick on Make a Teacher Complaint.

Or, you can click on the Discipline Outcomes.

You reach this area.

This is the Discipline Outcomes page with a list of the most recent outcomes in the last year. The website link to the page.

Then you need to click on the find out more about the discipline process.

This has recently changed since January 8th, 2024.

Then you need to click on Make a Teacher Complaint. This is the first page that says the word “parent”.

This page is the Make a Teacher Complaint to the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation with tabs on the left and general information down the center for parents, students, staff or other members of the public. The website link to this page.

It used to look like this.

The Discipline Process is outlined with more tabs on the left than the new page. Very text heavy. Same info as the this page, here is the link.

They have two paths to find the teacher standards.

One way, is through the discipline outcome page. To find the teacher standards document to know if they have even broken one in order to file a complaint, you need go back to this page.

Same discipline outcomes page as shown above with the list of discipline outcomes for the last year. Here is the link.

And click on “read about the standards for educators”

And then search on this page.

Here is the Standards for educators page with lots of text and tabs to click on. Here is the website link to this page.

And then click on “BC Educator Standards” to be brought to this page.

This is the Standards for educators page with lots of clickable links. More like a list of tabs/headings. Here is the website link to the page.

To yet, then need to continue to click on another link, the standards for certificate of qualification.

Here is another page that says Standards with lists of clickable links. Here is the website link to this page.

To then know to click on the first link to be finally be brought to the PDF standards document.

Seriously, they couldn’t make it any harder if they tried.

You need to be willing and able to spend hours just going through the maze and reading everything.

OR the second way is to click on Make a Teacher Complaint and find the link in the second paragraph. Then you will still be brought back to the other pages as I showed above.

So, this is the page that explicitly says who can file a complaint and info intended for parents.

This is the Make a Teacher Complaint to the Commissioner for Teacher Regulation Branch. Tabs on the left with written paragraphs down the center with 3 clickable links. Here is the link to this website page.

So now, who was able to find the annual reports?

You have to go back to MEET THE COMMISSIONER and scroll all the way down to the bottom on that page.

You literally just have to spend hours clicking on all of the links, because just by hovering over the tabs it doesn’t indicate to you what the other tabs are inside. So…grab some coffee and hunker down.


Now, let’s look at other differences.

Ontario Teacher’s College and why they exist. What pops out to me is the focus on public interest.

Says The College at a Glance with 2 sections both with minimal text and pictures. What we do (We licence and regulate teachers who work in publicly funded schools and many private schools in Ontario). Why we exist. (We serve and protect the public interest. We ensure that only safe, qualified and competent teachers are certified to teach your children.)

Teachers Regulation Branch

I have no idea where their mandate or goals, or guiding principles are located.

Is it this?

Commissioner for Teacher Regulation: The Commissioner reviews reports and complaints about the conduct or competence of educators and decides which process is appropriate to address a complaint or report. Link to Commissioner for Teacher Regulation.

Is this it?

Clip of a link found on Google. Says: Teacher Regulation Branch Investigations. The TRB is mandated under the Teachers Act to regulate the professional conduct and competency of TRB members.

To anyone in the Minstry of Education, can you please redo your website (again) and make it more accessible for parents to access information?

Clearly, not in the public interest.

Thank you.

Self-represented Parent of Child’s Education Discrimination Case – Partial Win – Human Rights Tribunal

This is the only completed case that I have seen by a self-represented parent in BC, in an education case. And they succeeded in a partial win.

Student (by Parent) v. School District, 2023 BCHRT 237

Some important gems in this decision that I see are:

Meaningful inquiry

[99]           Next, in B v. School District, 2019 BCHRT 170, the evidence supported that the school district provided the child with the recommended supports and accommodations. The Tribunal found that it was “only with hindsight” that it was possible to say that the child could have benefited from more support: para. 81. It dismissed the complaint in part because there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the school district reasonably ought to have known that the child required more: para. 98. In contrast here, I have found that the District had sufficient information to trigger some kind of inquiry or response beyond asking the Student how she was doing and, assuming the counsellor did this, advising of available supports.

[100]      In short, I agree with the District that the Parent and Student were obliged to bring forward information relating to accommodation. The Parent did that, when she communicated that the Student had anxiety and trichotillomania and that school was taking a significant toll on her physical and mental health. That information should have been enough to prompt a meaningful inquiry by the school to identify what was triggering the Student’s symptoms and what supports or accommodations may be appropriate to ensure she was able to meaningfully and equitably access her education. The failure to take that step was, in my view, not reasonable. As a result, the disability-related impacts on the Student, arising from conditions in her Language 10 class between April 24 and June 27, 2019, have not been justified and violate s. 8 of the Human Rights Code.

[104]      In sum, I have found that the conditions in the Student’s grade 8 Language 10 class exacerbated the Student’s anxiety and trichotillomania, and that the District failed to take reasonable steps to investigate and address those conditions during the period between April 24, 2019, and June 27, 2019 (the last day of school). I find this is a violation of s. 8 of the Human Rights Code, and warrants a remedy, which I address below.

Around self-advocacy for children with invisible disabilities:

[90]           Generally, it is the obligation of the person seeking accommodation to bring forward the relevant facts: Central Okanagan School District No. 23 v. Renaud1992 CanLII 81 (SCC), [1992] 2 SCR 970. This can be challenging for children, and especially challenging for children with invisible disabilities. I agree with the Parent that children who require accommodation in their school are in a different situation than adults seeking accommodation. Though they have a role to play in the process, that role will be age and ability-specific, and the burden cannot be on a child to identify and bring forward the facts necessary for their accommodation.

IEP – For a Child with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Trichotillomania

[59]           This ends the period of this complaint.  However, it is important to note that, in the Student’s grade 11 year, the school developed an individual education plan, or IEP, for her. This IEP set out the Student’s strengths, learning preferences, and goals. It identified specific supports for the Student, including flexible due dates, ensuring the Student was not put on the spot in class, reducing workload whenever possible, providing a quiet learning environment, and frequent teacher check ins. It also established that the Student would meet bi-monthly with the school counsellor to work on her goals. The Student’s grade 11 counsellor explains that she saw the IEP as a way to reduce the burden on the Parent and to support the Student to advocate for herself. From the Parent’s perspective, this was a welcome development that should have been done much sooner.

[7]               In this case, there is no dispute that the Student has disabilities, namely generalized anxiety disorder accompanied by trichotillomania (hair pulling). She is protected under s. 8 of the Human Rights Code from discrimination in her education. This complaint is about the Parent’s allegation that the symptoms of the Student’s disabilities were exacerbated in grades 8 and 9 because of her experience in Language 10 and Language 11, and that the District failed to accommodate her disability-related needs in those classes.

** Even without a designation at the time, she is still protected under the Human Rights Code.

Mental Health Stigma – Failure to Identify Diagnosis

[34]           The Parent did not see this email at the time. From her perspective, the email was not adequate to appropriately communicate the scope of the Student’s school-related needs. It did not fully communicate what the Parent had told the counsellor, and what she had expected would be passed along to the teachers. She felt it was also not realistic to think that the Student would approach a teacher and ask to be excused; in fact, this was not an option that it seems the Student ever exercised. In the Parent’s view, the failure to identify the Student’s diagnoses perpetuated the silence and stigma of mental health and undermined the Student. The message contrasts, for example, with the communication that the Parent sent to the Student’s teachers at the start of her grade 9 year, which said:

Communicating and providing evidence of a diagnosis

[13]           In light of the Student’s barriers in advocating for herself, the adults in her life have had to take on a more proactive role. The Parent’s open and active communication has been critical to ensuring that the Student’s needs are recognized and met in school. Throughout the Student’s education, the Parent has let her schools know about her disabilities, and that she may require monitoring because she is unlikely to proactively seek the support she needs.

[14]           There is no dispute that, due to the Parent’s advocacy, various individuals within the School District were aware of the Student’s diagnoses before and during the period of this complaint. For example, in the spring of grade 7, the Parent provided the elementary school with a note from the Student’s psychiatrist confirming that the Student had a “long-standing diagnosis of General Anxiety Disorder”. At the Parent’s request, this note was placed in the Student’s school file.

** This is a very important aspect as this ensures that a district has a duty to accommodate.

From the Human Rights Clinic Blog, Stress, Anxiety and the Duty to Accommodate, they explain…

“However, she did not provide any medical information that said she had a mental disability.

The Tribunal dismissed Ms. Matheson’s complaint, stating that “an essential element of a complaint of discrimination in employment on the basis of mental disability is proof that the complainant either had a mental disability… or was perceived to be mentally disabled by the employer.”

Here is Ms. Matheson’s case.

Teacher Suspended – Not Following IEP and Safety Plan

We have an important consent resolution that has rightfully been making the news.

The Professional Conduct Unit (formerly Teachers Regulation Branch) doesn’t have a great track record.

In fact, most of the complaints parents file lead to “no action”. It has been confusing, disheartening, and a punch in the gut for many that leads us to question the legitimacy of this department in the Ministry of Education and Child Care that should be protecting the most vulnerable.

As shown by the annual reports by the Professional Conduct Unit, you can see for yourself.


You get the idea…puzzling isn’t the word…

In the year 2021-2202 out of 242 complaints/reports only 28 led to a consent resolution. If you read through them all, you will get a clear sense of which ones make it through. Most of them are sexual offences or related to physical safety.

There is a lot more going on in schools, unfortunately, that require action in order to keep kids safe from harm beyond just their physical bodies. Based on self-reporting of parents, especially for kids who are disabled, they just aren’t making it through, even when the human rights tribunal is accepting the same complaints from the same parents. Here is the discipline database.

Thankfully, most teachers will never experience this process because, well, they are just absolutely fabulous who have a genuine care for children. All of us parents and society will forever been in their debt. Forever and ever.

Other people….chose the wrong career.

Even though the TRB rarely, and I mean rarely, releases a consent resolution connected to a student with a disability, this recent case highlights that the teacher wasn’t aware of the students IEP and Safety plan, when they should have been, and states the incident has caused the student anxiety.

I was hoping this story would make the news.

And it did.

Many parents feel that IEP’s don’t get the respect they deserve. Some teachers follow them to a tee fully embracing them, and others completely ignore them. Ignore an IEP and safety plan and we could end up seeing you in the news one day.

Here is the full consent resolution that is posted on the Ministry of Education and Child Care’s website. Parents, you may want to keep this one on your computer. An advocacy tool.

Bellow are news articles on this important consent resolution. I will update them as they are posted in the media.

Vancouver Sun
Surrey-Now Leader
Vernon Now
Info News
Global News

What You Need to Know About the Teacher’s Regulation Branch -Decision Letters (Professional Conduct Unit)

  1. The decision from the Commissioner if final and binding. There is nothing you can do to change it no matter how wrong you think it may be.
  2. You have two options after you receive the decision letter. You can either apply for a Judicial Review through the BC Supreme Court or file a complaint with Ombudsperson.
  3. For a Judicial Review there are a few things to note. As noted in this document from the BC Supreme Court on Judicial Reviews.

Page 3:

This is a look at whether the Commissioner errored in law and how it was applied. Not about the actual decision.

A Human Rights Lawyer told me that Judicial reviews are very risky as very rarely do the complainants win. The respondents can and will apply for costs to have their legal fees paid for. You as the parent will then need to pay. Legal fees can be tens of thousands of dollars.

I HIGHLY encourage parents/guardians who are considering this route to consult with a lawyer. The $500 you spend on a consultation fee may save you thousands of dollars in the end.

4. Next option is Ombudsperson BC. The chances of them conducting a review are very slim. Please email me if you would like more details or tips or how to get your case at least to an investigator. Ombudsperson will also not look at the decision, but looks at the process. They track every attempt at a complaint, so even it yours doesn’t make it to an investigator, your intake form alone is helping. Your arguments to them are going to need to be grounded in administrative fairness.

I have asked the Ombudsperson separate the TRB from the Ministry of Education in their annual data reports, so we can track how many people are filing complaints against the TRB, as they refused to disclose this information in a Freedom of Information request. They seemed receptive to the idea, so I’ll be watching their annual report coming out this to year to see if my request was accepted. If not, I’ll follow up.

5. Right now, if someone asked me what they could do with decision letters that they know are not right. I would tell them, to please consider filing with Ombudsperson and go through the process, even if the chances of success are slim. We need to let them know that we are not satisfied with the TRB and Ombudsperson determines what needs are out there, based on whether people are filing complaints or not. So, your voice on this does matter.

Please consider providing feedback to the Ministry of Education.

Also, please consider contacting me. There is a wider much larger project that I am working on, and I would love to hear other people’s stories.

6. Getting your complaint to a consent resolution is slim. Right now the most recent stats from the Commissioner’s office reveals that from April – June, only 7% made it to a consent resolution.

It sounds like a dead end. What’s the point? Here it is. When we file complaints they stay on the certificate holder’s record. If there is more than one complaint and they build, the chance of success increase. You are basically filing to help out the next parent or the next child. And, who knows…maybe this isn’t the first time that someone has filed a complaint and yours will actually be successful.

If we say nothing and don’t speak up, it helps no one. It’s like it never even happened. Don’t get your hopes up. Manage expectations, but file with the TRB, and then file with Ombudsperson. Oh and then call me and blab all about it. I’ll make your effort worth it. You’ll be part of a larger story. 😉