Changes in the Legal Landscape

Description: Teachers practice within a complex set of employment, professional and social parameters set out in various laws, regulations and policies. This presentation addresses, among other topics, employment contracts, professional conduct, teacher competence, professional relations, litigation, OH&S, cannabis in the workplace,  negligence and liability. The presentation can be structured as a general overview or tailored to the needs of the group requesting it. Current issues such as field trip liability, safe grads and assignable duties can be included.

Language: English


Confidentiality Issues Related to Counselling

Description: This session examines the issue of confidentiality related to counselling sessions as to when disclosure of information is appropriate or where confidentiality must be maintained. A review of the circumstances where guidance counsellors must disclose information from counselling sessions will be undertaken. The session will also examine both the guidance counsellor’s and school administrator’s roles relative to the counselee’s right to privacy. Exploration of this issue will examine reporting on criminal acts, suicide disclosures and disclosed threat of physical violence to others. What prevails—the counsellee’s common-law privilege to privacy or the right of parents, school administrators and school districts to seek information from a counselling session? Does one’s reporting obligation related to pregnancy and abortion advice change in Catholic schools? Obligations under statute—the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, Education Act, Student Regulation and the Teaching Profession Act will be reviewed.

Language: English


Dealing with Difficult People and Difficult Issues

Description: Hostile conversations with adults in school settings are becoming more commonplace and more intense, and are deemed to be extremely stressful for educators. What can schools do to safeguard the school and effectively communicate with those individuals who have a propensity toward volatility? This presentation gives an overview of the rights and responsibilities of students, parents, teachers and school principals with an emphasis on the knowledge and skills for effective conflict management and conflict resolution. This session also provides a brief introduction to the Healthy Interactions Program.

Language: English


Dealing with Harassment

Description: This presentation examines issues of harassment (personal, sexual and general) related to schools. The session discusses how to avoid allegations of harassment and the necessary components of an effective harassment policy. The session also talks about what teachers can do when facing unreasonable actions by students and parents both at the school or through cyberbullying.

Language: English


Duty of Care: Rights, Responsibilities and Liabilities

Description: Drawing on recent cases, this presentation examines the high standard that teachers are expected to meet with respect to the duty of care that they owe to students in their charge. In addition to looking at the statutory basis for this standard, the presentation will address the issue of educational malpractice. 

Language: English


E-Liability 2.0: Mitigating Risks in a Digital Age

Description: Increasingly teachers are facing employment discipline resulting from their use of school computers, laptops, Internet connections and cellphones. The use of social networking sites are also resulting in disciplinary action of teachers by employers. How do teachers use technology without jeopardizing their career? Teachers can also be victims of surreptitious monitoring and recording. What rights and responsibilities do teachers have with respect to issues of recording, cyber-harassment and cyber-libel directed at them by students, parents or colleagues?

Language: English


Emergent Issues

Description: This presentation addresses emerging or current issues faced by classroom teachers. While emergent issues raised by the audience will be the focus of the session, materials related to a variety of issues will be made available. Those issues include teacher use of school or personal technology, the ongoing evolution of teachers’ rights to use force, student search and confinement issues, teachers as bus drivers, field trip liability, participation in safegrads and how to prevent the recent rise in wrongful allegations of sexual impropriety. 

Language: English


Parents and the School

Description: This presentation examines parents’ rights and responsibilities and their involvement in decision making in the school. The session will also examine the rights of schools and teachers relative to student achievement, deportment and program. Where disagreements between parents and the school occur, whose perspective prevails? Topics include handling concerns effectively and what to do when facing overly aggressive parents engaging in harassment-like behaviour.  

Language: English or French 


Potential Liabilities of Dealing with Students with Medical Issues

Description: This presentation focuses on the potential liabilities facing teachers when they are required to deal with medical situations involving students in their classrooms. Among the topics addressed are the standard of care expected of teachers (including expectations regarding the administration of medication), the steps that teachers should take to protect the students and themselves, and the kinds of policies that should be in place at the school and jurisdiction levels. The presentation will also examine the Association’s policy on the responsibilities of teachers related to students with medical needs.

Language: English


Practice Review Process

Description: Alberta’s Teaching Profession Act was recently amended to make the ATA the first teachers’ organization in North America to become responsible for overseeing the competence of its own members. Up to now, this role has been performed by the government. This presentation will provide an overview of the practice-review process, which begins with an evaluation of whether the teacher is meeting the Teaching Quality Standard and includes a formal procedure for determining whether a teacher is suitable for continued certification.

Language: English


Professional Conduct Is in Order

Description: The Code of Professional Conduct is a guide for teaching approved by teachers for teachers. Because it is referenced in The Teaching Profession Act, the code applies to the behaviour of teachers in a broad range of situations. Drawing on scenarios from actual cases, this presentation describes the standards of professional conduct expected of teachers and explains how the ATA deals with teachers who fail to live up to these standards. 

Language: English or French


Staying Employed—Professional Boundaries: What New Teachers Need to Know

(for teacher induction program only)

Description: Intended for beginning teachers, this presentation focuses on such topics as employment issues, legal and procedural concerns, understanding legal liability, dealing with parents, acting professionally (with respect to such issues as dress, language and e-mails) and working with others. This presentation, which will be tailored to meet the specific needs of the audience, follows an interactive format.

Language: English


Substitute Teachers: Roles and Responsibilities

Description: This presentation draws from the components of other Teacher Employment Services presentations with a focus on substitute teachers. Key components of the presentation may include employment issues, legal and procedural concerns, liability risks and protection, dealing with parents, acting professionally and working with others. We explore some of the unique issues faced by substitute teachers and discuss how to help these members feel welcome in your school and how they can be used most effectively. This presentation is designed to be tailored to meet the specific needs of the audience and follows an interactive format.

Language: English


Supervision and Evaluation—What Teachers Need to Know about the New Standards and Evaluation Policy

Description: Supervision and evaluation. Now what? I am unsure if my principal is supervising or evaluating my teaching. What can I expect and what are my rights and responsibilities? What is supervision? What is evaluation? Supervision and evaluation of teachers must be consistent with Alberta Education Policy on Teacher Growth, Supervision and Evaluation, and it must be based on the Teaching Quality Standard. This presentation provides an overview of the Teacher Quality Standard and the critical components of supervision and evaluation, which must be followed in the Alberta context. 

Language: English


Teacher Liability Inside and Outside the Classroom

Description: As society become more litigious, teachers are becoming increasingly concerned about their liability with respect to the safety of the students in their care. This presentation will review the underlying principles of teacher liability, examine some actual situations in which teachers were found liable and explain the steps that teachers can take to avoid being found negligent. The liability of teachers in such circumstances as accompanying students on field trips, organizing school sports, administering medication and assisting students with special needs will be discussed.  

Language: English or French


Teachers and Educational Assistants

Description: This presentation will review the legislative provisions governing the respective duties of teachers and educational assistants; examine the rights, responsibilities and duties of each group; look at ways of enhancing the relationship between teachers and educational assistants; discuss the proper reporting channels between teachers and educational assistants; and suggest policies that schools and school boards can adopt to ensure that teachers and educational assistants adhere to standards and are held accountable for what they do. 

Language: English or French


Teaching Quality Standard: What Teachers Need to Know (current TQS)

Description: In Alberta, teachers are expected to meet the Teaching Quality Standard (TQS), which is a Ministerial Order. Quality teaching occurs when the teacher’s ongoing analysis of the context, and the teacher’s decisions about which pedagogical knowledge and abilities to apply result in optimum learning by students. Principals are expected to provide ongoing supervision and evaluation of teachers on the basis of the TQS. Certification in Alberta is also based on the TQS. This session takes a detailed look at the TQS and helps teachers understand the expectations to be met.

Language: English


The ATA and Professional Conduct: Serving the Interests of the Public and the Profession

Description:This presentation outlines the Association’s professional conduct process. The session touches on the legislation that guides the process, and highlights the steps involved, from the initial request for an investigation, through the investigation process and onto the possible outcomes of an investigation.

Language: English or French


The Law and the Teaching Profession: What EVERY Teacher Needs to Know

Description: Teachers practise within a complex set of employment, professional and social parameters set out in various laws, regulations and policies. This presentation addresses, among other topics, employment contracts, professional conduct, teacher competence, professional relations, litigation, negligence and liability. The presentation can be structured as a general overview or tailored to the needs of the group requesting it. Current issues such as field trip liability, safe grads and assignable duties can be included.

Language: English or French


Understanding Conflict—A Communication Workshop

Description: This workshop is based on the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s Healthy Interactions Program. Healthy Interactions is a districtwide interest-based process for handling conflict concerns and has been successfully implemented in a number of school districts in the province. Although the concepts taught in this two-day workshop are based on the Healthy Interactions approach, it is significantly condensed and includes only a few of the individual skill building aspects of the program. This workshop is intended to help individual teachers and principals enhance their personal ability to deal with conflict concerns.

Language: English


What Is the ATA?

Description: Why do I belong to the ATA and pay dues? What does the ATA do for me? The answers to these questions and many more will be provided in this presentation. The session will give a brief history of the ATA and then cover the major roles the ATA plays in education in Alberta. Topics include a review of the different program areas, the roles of each area, what some of the accomplishments of the ATA have been and what is the ATA working toward for the future.

Language: English


You Did What? When Teachers Get in Trouble

Description: This presentation examines a number of topics related to the areas where teachers call for employment advice or representation. The presentation will examine protocols to protect teacher privacy and autonomy when seeking advice, interpersonal professional conflicts, contract and certification issues, employment risks related to the role-modelling obligations, problems related to technology and liabilities associated with providing service for medically fragile students.

Language: English or French