Question: I thought every certificated teacher who works for my board was a member of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, but I was told by a colleague that some teachers are not members. Is that true?
Answer: All certificated teachers are required by law to be active members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association with only a few exceptions. The superintendent of schools is excluded by the Teaching Profession Act from active membership. In 2004, the Teaching Profession Act was amended to allow limited opportunity for central office teachers to make an election of membership status.
To be eligible to make a membership election, the central office teacher’s duties must be confined to central office and cannot include teaching or school administration duties. If a central office teacher is identified by her board for an election of membership status, the central office teacher can retain active membership, opt for associate membership or cease to be a member altogether.
Should a central office teacher move to a different position with her board at central office, there is no new election of membership; the central office teacher’s membership election continues with her through her career unless the minister of education agrees to amend the central office teacher’s membership election.
This is an individual right exercised by newly appointed central office teachers. An overwhelming majority of central office teachers retain their active membership. Central office teachers who do not retain their active membership are no longer eligible for the protective or legal services of the Association and are not subject to the Association’s professional regulatory functions. A central office teacher who is not an active member is not subject to the Association’s Code of Professional Conduct or Practice Review Bylaws.
In 2005, the Association printed in the ATA News the names of central office teachers who were no longer subject to the Association’s professional regulatory functions. A group of these teachers challenged the Association’s right to print their names to the privacy and information commissioner.
The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada and back to the Court of Queen’s Bench, and earlier in 2015 the court confirmed the Association’s legal rights to print in the ATA News the names of central office teachers not subject to the Association’s professional regulatory functions. We intend to resume our practice of printing the names of these central office teachers later this fall to ensure that active members are aware of who is not subject to the Association’s Code of Professional Conduct and Practice Review Bylaws.❚
Questions for consideration in this column are welcome. Please address them to Gordon Thomas at Barnett House (email@example.com).