The province announced a new online registry that will launch on September 1, this will show information about teachers and teacher leaders dating back to 1954.
The registry will not only show their name, the type of certificate they hold, and if it is still valid but it will also show any disciplinary decisions that resulted in their certificate being suspended or cancelled for unprofessional conduct or professional incompetence dating back to 1990.
"We all have for those entrusted with our children each day. We will balance individual teachers’ rights to privacy and procedural fairness with the public’s right to know when a teacher has been disciplined, resulting in a teaching certificate being suspended or cancelled,” explained Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange
The registry will include 162,000 current and former teachers and teacher leaders, with that number growing as more individuals become certificated. Any requests for exemption from the online registry are considered on a case-by-case basis.
According to the province, the registry sends a clear message that the government and teachers care deeply about safe learning environments for students and teacher professionalism.
Sarah Hoffman, the NDP Critic for Education, stated that the education minister is trying to distract Albertans.
"Rather than focusing on supporting students, staff, and families as kids head back to school, the Education Minister is clearly desperate to distract from the catalog of harm she has inflicted on our education system," a press release from the NDP stated. “She should work on replacing the 1,000 teachers she has taken out of the system through her deliberate withholding of the education budget from schools."
Hoffman also underlined that the priority for the province should be expanding communities that do not have a sufficient amount of schools within a reasonable distance.
“Minister LaGrange should be concentrating on ensuring that growing Alberta communities have the schools they need so students don’t have to travel 45 minutes each way to get to their designated school."
Mary Jane James, CEO, of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton stated that in the rare circumstances where a teacher or teacher leader chooses to abuse their power and has been disciplined as a result, the public has a right to know.
In a press release, the province underlined that an online, searchable registry aligns with practices in other Canadian jurisdictions, such as British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan, which share similar information about the status of teaching certificates and disciplinary matters.
"The registry is also similar to registries for members of other professions in Alberta such as nurses, doctors, lawyers and engineers. Alberta’s registry includes relevant information about serious disciplinary matters while still protecting the privacy of the disciplined individual’s colleagues, students and others who may be involved in the situation."
Previously, on December 15, 2021, part of the Students First Act became law, requiring the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) to notify the registrar of all complaints received. On September 2022, the remainder of the Students First Act becomes law to address what the province calls, "gaps, issues and inconsistencies in Alberta’s system of oversight and discipline for teachers and teacher leaders."