First Changes Announced to The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act

Our government has implemented the first set of regulations, following the passage of Bill 98:The Better Schools and Students Outcome Act. These changes include:

  • Provincial Priorities on Student Achievement – require school boards to publicly post Student Achievement Plans and trustee-approved multi-year plans consistent with the provincial priorities, and publicly report on performance in a manner and form prescribed by the Minister. Pursuant to changes made by the Act, boards are also required to engage with parents on the development of the plan and report to parents on their progress. The three priorities are:
    • Achievement of Learning Outcomes in Core Academic Skills: The Minister’s binding policy and guidelines would be anticipated to focus on reading, writing and math and indicators include the results of recent EQAO assessments. 
    • Preparation of Students for Future Success: Focus on providing students with the skills needed to succeed in life. Indicators include credit accumulation, graduation rates and enrollment in certain courses and job skills programs. 
    • Student Engagement & Well-Being: The Minister’s binding policy and guidelines would be anticipated to focus on ensuring students are engaged in a safe and supportive learning environment that leads to graduation, higher learning and employment. Indicators include student attendance, suspension rates and other well-being indicators. The regulation containing the student achievement priorities is effective July 28, 2023.
  • PA Day Transparency – school boards are required to publicly report on PA Day topics, content, activities, guest speakers, sponsoring organizations, and published resources when available by posting that information on the board’s public-facing website or participating school website and sharing it publicly by other means as set out in the regulation. Reporting requirements are effective July 28, 2023, in time for the 2023-24 school year.
  • Updated Transitional Certificate – eligible teacher candidates will be able to apply to the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) for a transitional certificate and with the certificate can begin teaching on a daily occasional basis. Should the school principal decide that more support is required, teachers on transitional certificates can pivot between teaching and practice teaching to provide more focused support in areas that need improvement. The regulations supporting the creation of the new transitional certificate are effective August 31, 2023 to allow time for implementation.
  • OCT Teacher Certification Timelines – action taken to reduce the regulated timeline for the OCT to render a certification decision for teacher candidates, with a focus on supporting faster entry into the profession for Internationally Educated Teachers (IETs). The regulation currently requires the OCT Registrar to use their best efforts to make a certification decision within 120 calendar days after receiving the application for the certificate and all required supporting documents. 

The new regulation requires the OCT to make certification decisions:

  • Within 60 business days for IETs, unless the Registrar determines there are exceptional circumstances that prevent them from making a decision.
  • Within the timeline set out in the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006 (FARPACTA) for applicants from other Canadian jurisdictions, unless an exemption has been granted under FARPACTA.
  • Forthwith for applicants from Ontario Initial Teacher Education programs, consistent with the College’s current practices and service standards, unless the Registrar determines there are exceptional circumstances that prevent them from making a decision. 
  • The proposed timeframes will only start after the OCT has received and confirmed an application is complete. The changes will come into effect on December 31, 2023.

Additional Regulations:

  • New supports to strengthen Holocaust Education and Countering Antisemitism and a number of reforms to enhance safety, student outcomes, and accountability are moving forward:
  • An Order in Council proclaiming the following four sections of the Act as of July 28, 2023, as these provisions are now ready for implementation:
    • Establishing LGIC regulation-making authority prescribing provincial education priorities in the area of student achievement – as the proposed regulation on provincial priorities has now been developed, this provision will need to be proclaimed before the regulation prescribing provincial priorities is in force.
    • Requiring school boards to cooperate with child care service system managers (i.e., municipalities) for the purposes of developing and implementing child care and early years programs and services plans, to mirror a similar provision under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 (which is already in force).
    • Establishing regulation-making authority prescribing restrictions on board use of revenue, which includes authority to envelope funding
    • Expanding the definition of authorized financial investigators that can be appointed to investigate the financial affairs of a board under specified circumstances
  • An amendment to O. Reg. 176/10 Teachers’ Qualifications to remove provisions related to the completion of the sexual abuse prevention program for members with suspended or revoked certificates who are reinstating their membership. With the passage of the Act, the OCTA now requires these members to complete the sexual abuse prevention program before reinstatement, not after.