Many OSSTF/FEESO members are required to belong to a professional college in order to work in their chosen field. The professional colleges to which our members are affiliated include:
- College of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists of Ontario
- College of Psychologists of Ontario
- College of Early Childhood Educators
- College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario
- College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
- College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario
- Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers
- Ontario College of Teachers
- Ontario College of Trades
Some OSSTF/FEESO members also belong to the Teachers of English as a Second Language Association of Ontario as a requirement of their employment.
While the specific mandates of these colleges vary, they do share a number of common responsibilities in their legislated duties to serve and protect the public interest. Each college is empowered to regulate its profession and to govern its members, and each accomplishes this by developing, establishing and maintaining qualifications for membership. This includes issuing, renewing, amending, suspending, cancelling, revoking and reinstating certificates of qualification and registration. The colleges also establish and enforce some version of professional and ethical standards applicable to their members, and they receive and investigate complaints that deal with discipline and fitness-to-practise issues.
With some—though not all—of these colleges, issues that create particular challenges for our members invariably arise from time to time. Those issues can include: fees and fee increases; tendencies on the part of some colleges to go beyond the scope of their mandates; regulation and policing practices, including the identification of members in a college’s public registry; and college-specific, ongoing professional development requirements for continued registration.
Watch for future Update articles in which we will delve deeper into specific issues and concerns related to particular professional colleges. Each of these articles will focus on three key areas: mandate creep, regulation/policing of the profession, and ongoing professional development requirements. If you have concerns about your professional college, or if you receive notice from your professional college that you are being investigated, contact your local union leadership as soon as possible. For further information, log into myOSSTF and review ‘Guidelines for Members’ under the ‘Services’ tab.