MembershipTop of page

Membership statistics are provided in Table 2.

Table 2. Membership, Selected Years

 

2004

2012

2013

2014

Student

2,003

2,347

1,690

2,580

Associate

776

587

490

661

Active: leave of absence

2,114

2,509

2,366

2,354

Substitute

4,366

5,799

6,059

5,710

Part-time

5,058

4,598

4,494

4,516

Full-time

28,201

30,456

30,670

31,665

TOTALS

42,518

46,296

45,769

47,486

 

In 2015, the Association bestowed honorary membership, the Association’s highest honour, on F Galbraith and L Liffiton. Galbraith, during her 41 years with Edmonton Public Schools, taught elementary classes, was on exchange in London, England, and held administrative positions of assistant principal and principal. She was involved with the Association at the local and provincial levels, beginning as a committee member and on the executive of Edmonton Public Teachers Local 37. 1n 1989, Galbraith was elected to Provincial Executive Council as district representative for Edmonton and served three terms as ATA vice-president (from 1993 to 1999) and two terms as past president (2001 to 2003 and 2007 to 2009). She served as vice-president of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) from 1997 to 2002. In 2008, Galbraith became a trustee for the CTF Trust Fund, serving in this position for three years. In 2012, she was presented with a Special Recognition Award by the CTF for her work locally, nationally and internationally.

Liffiton worked in the education sector in various capacities for 35 years. During that time he served as a classroom teacher, coedited two textbooks of poetry and was an active member of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. He also served as a trustee on the board of the Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan from 2001 to 2011. Liffiton’s teaching experience covered 26 years at five different schools, all of them at the senior high school level and all with the Calgary Board of Education. His Association experience included service on numerous committees and two terms as president of Calgary Public Teachers Local 38. From 2007 until he retired in 2013, Liffiton remained with the local in the role of executive assistant.

Local OrganizationTop of page

During the year, table officers ratified amendments to five local constitutions and referred one constitution to staff for review and recommendation. Council approved the establishment of Student Local No 13 Education Students’ Association, King’s University, and chartered it effective 2015 06 01.

The 2015 Local Secretaries’ Seminar was held at Barnett House on 2015 08 21, with 21 local secretaries in attendance. The session dealt with the Local Secretaries’ Handbook, the duties of a local secretary, privacy issues and records services for locals. Evaluations were returned by 20 secretaries and included very positive comments. The overall rating was a four on a five-point scale. Eight of the twenty secretaries commented that the seminar should be held as part of Summer Conference.

The Local Treasurers’ Seminar, held at Barnett House in May, was attended by 41 local treasurers, representing 37 locals. Treasurers discussed their responsibilities, honorarium reporting, specific issues of participants, registration through the local executives’ collaboration site, grant-in-aid formula for Summer Conference, C2 Committee costs paid by the school division, president release time, taxable benefits, reporting standards, policy sharing, survey of honoraria and ARA reimbursements to delegates, updates to the Treasurers’ Handbook, surpluses and the implementation of auditing standards. Treasurers also received a refresher on QuickBooks. New treasurers received a general orientation, while veteran treasurers had an opportunity to network.

An orientation session was held in August for approximately 50 students in the after-degree elementary education program of Concordia University of Alberta. Students attended ATA staff presentations, which provided a general overview of the Association and its services. Students also participated in a brief initiation into the teaching profession and toured the Association library. A similar orientation session was held in August for fourth-year education students from Campus Saint-Jean, who would soon be embarking on the field experience component of their program.

The annual Student Local Conference was held at Barnett House in September. Forty-seven delegates from 11 of the 13 student locals attended the conference, which included a World Café, presentations on leadership and diversity, equity and human rights, a discussion on the goals and services of the Association, a workshop on how to build a strong executive, small-group sessions with hands-on activities designed to help executive members carry out their executive functions, and a tour of the library. Participants were also introduced to Teacher Survival, an inservice session designed to provide preservice teachers with information on four topics: working with parents, the respective roles and responsibilities of teachers and educational assistants, negligence and liability, and teachers’ professional responsibilities.

The 2015 Local Presidents’ Seminar at Summer Conference was attended by 49 of the 55 local associations and two members of Provincial Executive Council.

The purpose of this seminar is to provide opportunities to examine current ATA issues, meet with Provincial Executive Council, share information about local initiatives and focus on aspects of the local president’s role.

Training sessions for local web managers were held at the University of Alberta in December with 19 participants in attendance. The sessions provided an overview of social media tools and information concerning the Personal Information Protection Act and how it applies to subgroup websites. Lab time was provided to allow participants to work on revising, reorganizing and optimizing website content.

School Representative ProgramTop of page

The purpose of the school representative program is to support key contacts in each local and to prepare members in the local who are serving as school representatives. The school representative program did not operate in 2015. The School Representative Handbook was updated.

Member AssistanceTop of page

Member Services staff help teachers with problems arising from their professional practice and advise members on issues related to their employment status and professional relations. Statistics on the number of contacts that Member Services had with members in 2015 and the issues involved are reported in Table 3.

Table 3. Summary of Member Services Contact with Members

Issue

2013

2014

2015

No

Percentage
of Total

No

Percentage
of Total

No

Percentage
of Total

Criminal/assault

118

1%

148

1%

156

2%

Interpersonal relations

1,580

13%

1,791

16%

1,751

16%

Employment information

1,895

16%

1,841

17%

1,707

16%

Employer action

2,086

18%

1,614

15%

1,433

13%

Professional competence

594

5%

724

7%

658

6%

Medical

714

6%

634

6%

563

5%

Liability matters

215

2%

169

1%

213

2%

Legal issues

271

2%

297

3%

353

3%

Professional conduct

307

3%

384

3%

427

4%

Other

633

5%

472

4%

385

4%

TOTALS

8,413

71%

8,074

73%

7,646

71%

Additional attempts to communicate

3,366

29%

2,998

27%

3,150

29%

 

Staff Relations ServiceTop of page

This program was put on hold for 2015 in order to re-evaluate the program’s viability.

Healthy Interactions ProgramTop of page

Healthy Interactions—Resolving Interpersonal Conflict is a conflict-resolution program that the Association delivers in two formats. The first is a four-day workshop for active members who wish to become facilitators of the Healthy Interactions program. People who participate in this workshop earn a certificate that entitles them to teach the program at the school or district level. The Association provides resources and ongoing support to facilitators, including assistance in establishing a professional development plan for implementing a districtwide Healthy Interactions program. This workshop is available upon request.

The second format is a two-day workshop entitled Understanding Conflict, which is offered to active and associate members who are interested in improving their personal communication and conflict-resolution skills. Focusing on the individual skill-building aspects of the program only, this two-day workshop is facilitated by Association executive staff and by Association administrator instructors. This workshop is generally offered at the request of a school.

PublicationsTop of page

The Members’ Handbook and the Member’s Diary were designed and formatted in-house using the Association’s desktop publishing facilities. Printing of these jobs, due to size and complexity, was contracted to an external printer. Production runs for these publications were 4,650 and 3,100, respectively. In addition, 150 copies of the Member’s Diary were published in French. Besides serving as a reference document for members, the Members’ Handbook is sold as a textbook for courses in teacher preparation programs. The Member’s Diary is distributed for a nominal charge through locals to members.

In 2015, 3,375 copies of the Orientation Handbook and 2,025 copies of the School Representative Handbook were produced. In addition, 175 copies of the Orientation Handbook were published in French. Both handbooks were distributed to all school representatives. The Orientation Handbook was also included in induction materials.

LISA is a seminar intended for system administrators and focuses on the exchange of information about a particular subject of study. School-based administrators also find the seminar useful and relevant. The structure of each day of LISA includes presentations by key experts, a panel discussion with an opportunity to have questions addressed and facilitated-focused conversation allowing participants an opportunity to add to and benefit from the collective wisdom of all participants.

Although the topics vary each seminar, LISA 2015 focused on administrative actions or strategies to combat issues related to “Bullies and Targets.”

When a staff member engages in bullying behaviours, it can cause other employees to suffer emotional and sometimes physical distress. It can also create legal issues for the employer. When a student is the target of bullying, including homophobic bullying behaviours, it can result in liability issues for the district. Teachers and school employees are sometimes the target of bullying behaviours by parents or community members, and this too can result in a very stressful work environment and legal problems. In recent years, courts and tribunals have applied increasing scrutiny to bullying behaviour and administrative responses.

The goal of LISA 2015 was to unpack the complex topic of bullying and equip administrators with knowledge to identify potential risks, avoid legal proceedings and identify situations where they may need to commence appropriate or legal actions.

Field ServiceTop of page

Throughout the year, executive staff made presentations to teachers at professional development days, teachers’ conventions and school staff meetings. Staff also made presentations, upon request, to university students and to student locals. These presentations addressed such topics as the law and the teaching profession; issues for administrators; teacher growth, supervision and evaluation; handling parent concerns; administrators and the law (including dealing with unsatisfactory teaching performance); Association services; teachers’ rights and responsibilities; the respective role of teachers and teachers’ assistants; confidentiality issues related to student records (including counselling records); and the liabilities associated with the use of technology.

Initiatives in Leadership CourseTop of page

The Initiatives in Leadership Course, which is offered annually at Summer Conference, is designed to help members who have never been active in Association leadership positions to develop leadership skills. More specifically, the course introduces participants to the structure and objectives of the Association; describes various leadership styles, skills, beliefs and values; helps participants develop a personal leadership plan; and encourages them to take an active role in the Association. A total of 37 participants from 29 locals attended the program in 2015.

Local Program CourseTop of page

The 2015 Local Program Course was attended by 46 delegates, representing 31 locals and sublocals, three staff members and two members of Provincial Executive Council (PEC).

The purpose of this course is to provide incoming local presidents, vice-presidents and secretaries with practical training and leadership skills to successfully fulfill their roles.

Summer Conference also included a Local Presidents’ Seminar, which was attended by representatives from 49 of the 55 local associations, as well as two members of PEC. The seminar allowed participants to examine current ATA issues, share information about local initiatives and consider the local president’s role.

Professional ConductTop of page

Seventy-three new requests for investigations of possible unprofessional conduct were received in 2015 (90 in 2014). Forty-nine investigations were completed and five were cancelled when the complainants withdrew the request. Sufficient evidence to warrant hearings was found in 11 cases. An additional 14 cases were deemed suitable for handling by means of the Invitation process. Sixty-five investigations were under way at year-end.

Nine hearings were conducted in 2015 by separate hearing committees of three to five persons drawn from the Professional Conduct Committee. Nine members were found guilty on 23 counts of unprofessional conduct. Table 4 shows the nature of the offences and Table 5 summarizes the penalties imposed. Thirteen Invitations were held in 2015, 11 of which resolved the matter to the satisfaction of the Association. Two Invitation cases were pending resolution at year-end.

 

Table 4. Unprofessional Conduct Convictions in 2015

Nature of Offence

Frequency*

Conduct judged unprofessional

 

—in relation to students

9

—in relation to school authorities

4

—in relation to colleagues

3

—in relation to the profession

6

Conviction on an indictable offence

1

Conviction on other criminal charges

0

*Some cases involved multiple charges.

 

 

Table 5. Unprofessional Conduct Penalties Imposed in 2015

Type of Penalty

Frequency*

Reprimand (oral)

0

Reprimand (written)

5

Severe reprimand (written)

2

Fine

3

Suspension of certificate

1

Cancellation of certificate

1

Suspension from the Association

1

Expulsion from the Association

1

*Some cases involved multiple charges, multiple penalties or both.

 

Either a member who has been the subject of an investigation or Council may appeal the outcome of a hearing to the Professional Conduct Appeal Committee (PCAC), a group composed of four Association members and one public member. Three appeals were received in 2015 and two appeals were heard in 2015. One appeal was denied, the other was allowed and the penalty was increased.

A complainant dissatisfied with a decision that no hearing is warranted may appeal that decision to the Complainant Appeal Committee (made up of two Association members and one public member), which may order a hearing. In 2015, two appeals were received. Five appeals were heard and the committee concurred that a hearing of the Professional Conduct Committee was not warranted.

The annual training session for members involved in the administration of professional discipline was postponed pending the appointment of new public members to the committees.

Members of the Professional Conduct Committee are S Anderson, L S Arksey, K L Brussé-Paterson, S E Clements, D J Coles, N C Cross, L M Doyle, T A Eistetter, E EFrederick, T D Gibson, G M Glavine, B D Heine, C J Jager, A A Jurisc, L C Lalonde, A J MacIntyre-Steel, W M Maltais, N D Moulton, B L Parker, W M Prokopiw, and T T Thiessen (Association representatives) and L Davies, GEpp and J Rodgers (public members).

Members of the Complainant Appeal Committee are D S Atwood, C D Gerodo, J S Gerun, S M Kober (Association representatives) and R Alexander (public member).

Members of the Professional Conduct Appeal Committee are K L Atkinson, B J Baum, R R Holmes, R E Kuik, C M McCullough and T J Smith (Association representatives) and one public member to be named. C M Gibbon, P A McRae, S L Magnusson and GR Schreiber serve as secretaries to the hearing and appeal committees, and L A Kaun, BJSteinbrenner and S E Beyer are recorders. Legal counsel is provided by J T Casey QC, KHaymond and A Akgungor of Field LLP, and by R W Rand QC of Rand Kiss Turner.

Professional Practice ReviewTop of page

The Association assumed responsibility for the practice review process in September 2009. In 2015, no requests were received.

The Professional Practice Review Committee (PPRC) consists of at least seven Association appointees and three members of the public. Each time the executive secretary or the Complainant Appeal Committee directs that a hearing be held into the professional competence of a teacher, five members of the PPRC are selected to constitute a hearing committee. The second committee, the Professional Practice Complainant Appeal Committee (PPCAC), consists of between two and four Association appointees and one member of the public. The purpose of the PPCAC is to hear appeals from complainants in the event that a superintendent, after investigating the competence of a teacher, concludes that a hearing before the PPRC is unwarranted. The third committee, the Professional Practice Appeal Committee (PPAC), consists of between three and five Association appointees and one public member. The purpose of the PPAC is to hear appeals concerning a finding or order of a hearing committee. Appeals may be initiated by the investigated teacher, the superintendent or Provincial Executive Council.

Association representatives on the Professional Practice Review Committee are S C Brims, H M Chauvet, S K Constantin, D E Cracknell, N P Dargis, A D Finlay, F F Garrett, T Hart, R W Hetherington, L M Hewson, C S Malette, M J Marran, T J Midbo, C Pastega, K C Pizzey, M L Riez and V L Rufli. Public members are B Chomey, W Pavlic and SReilly-Yael. Association representatives on the Professional Practice Complainant Appeal Committee are D M Chichak, DKChristensen, S P Kaplan and C G Taylor, and the public member is DEdhart. Association representatives on the Professional Practice Appeal Committee are G P Carabine, MHFerence, R W Harty, N A Holt and C M McCullough. The public member is M Haggarty-France.

Substitute Teachers CommitteeTop of page

The Substitute Teachers Committee, which studies the problems, concerns and needs of substitute teachers, held three meetings in 2015. The committee reviewed the action plan for encouraging locals to involve substitute teachers more fully and continued to advocate for substitute teachers in the province. The annual Substitute Teachers’ Appreciation Week was celebrated in March. The committee planned and hosted the annual Substitute Teachers’ Conference, which took place in Calgary in October.

Members of the committee are P A Froese (chair), C P DeJong, J L Hopper, F J McGuire, J M Smallwood, B L Zack and K W Hadden (secretary). D J Link is administrative secretary. (Note: P A Froese assumed chair on 2016 02 22, following his election to Provincial Executive Council. The chair was held previously by S D Brown.)