December 9, 2021
EDMONTON—Alberta’s education minister is preparing to yank the teacher-disciplinary process away from the province’s teachers’ union after it was revealed the body did not notify police of misconduct by a Calgary teacher who would later be accused of abusing some 200 students over nearly two decades.
The new legislation being worked on, and expected in the spring, would remove the disciplinary process from the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA), a union representing more than 40,000 members in the province.
Alberta’s minister of education, Adriana LaGrange, called it a “conflict of interest” that the union oversees disciplinary hearings for teachers and said the move is just one of several new measures being brought forward in the wake of the wide-ranging abuse case.
During an interview with the Star, LaGrange said provinces across Canada are also in discussion about setting up a national registry for teacher misconduct.
Further, she said she’ll soon bring forward an order-in-council that would ensure all complaints against teachers in her province that are sent to the ATA are also brought to the attention of the registrar at Alberta Education and the ministry. If there’s anything “really egregious” happening that “appears criminal,” the police would be notified by the government, she said.
“I’m in a position to do something to fix this process,” said LaGrange. “I’m a mother of seven. I’m a grandmother of seven. This could be my daughter involved in this case.”
The moves come after a $40-million class-action lawsuit proposal naming the Calgary Board of Education and the estate of Michael Gregory as defendants was filed last month. Gregory — a former Calgary teacher who started working in 1986 and who died earlier this year — is accused in the statement of claim of sexually abusing many junior high students.
The allegations have not been tested in court.