Hiring teachers in Northern Ontario is becoming an issue for school boards. Part of the problem is Regulation 274 which outlines the process teachers go through in order to be hired into permanent positions in Ontario school boards.
Director of Education with the Kenora Catholic District School Board, Phyllis Eikre, says the regulation essentially prevents educators from moving, while completing the process.
“For school boards in the north, regulation 274 puts a barrier for mobility for teachers because they go through a process where they have to supply teach for 10 months, they have to do a long term occasional position of at least 4 months, and they have to get a successful teacher performance appraisal in order to be able to apply for permanent jobs. Where we run into difficulties is, when a teacher moves from community to community, or school board to school board, they have to start that process all over again,” she said.
Eikre said before the regulation was introduced in 2012, new graduates would move to the north to gain experience. Since the introduction of the regulation, less often new graduates are moving to the north.
“Those new graduates don’t typically come if they think they might want to move. The reason being, where ever they think they’re going to want to have their career, they want to get through the process there and get a permanent job,” she said.
The regulation impacts experienced teachers as well. Once a teacher has gained a permanent position, they’re less likely to move, as they would have to start the process over again as well, since the process is meant to value seniority within the school board over experience.
The KCDSB is working with the other Catholic boards in the region to see if they can’t get the regulation changed.
“We’re working together with Northwest Catholic District School Board, and Superior North Catholic District School Board, because we’re all seeing the same sorts of problems. We all live in small communities, our communities are spread out, and it’s getting harder and harder to attract new teachers,” she said.
Eikre said the KCDSB trustees will be taking the matter to their annual general meeting.
“Our trustees passed a motion to take the problem to their annual general meeting of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association and petition them to work with the government to see if we can’t change things to make it better for schools in the north,” she said.
The regulation gives little incentive for teachers to move to Northern Ontario. Especially if they think they may want to move in the future, as Eikre pointed out.