Former British Columbia ombudsperson Howard Kushner has been appointed new commissioner for teacher regulation.
The commissioner for teacher regulation ensures that concerns about the competence and conduct of B.C. teaching certificate holders are addressed independently, fairly, expeditiously and in the public interest. The commissioner oversees conduct/competence reports and complaints, discipline processes and considers certification appeals in public and independent schools.
“Educators are role models who need to act ethically and in students’ best interests,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education. “We are fortunate to have someone of Mr. Kushner’s calibre to effectively and efficiently uphold the high standards for education, competence and professional conduct we expect from B.C. educators.”
Kushner has had broad exposure to law and professional regulation. He taught administrative law at the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta. From 1999 to 2006, Kushner was B.C.’s ombudsperson. He was the chief legal officer for the Law Society of British Columbia from 2006 to 2009, overseeing the disciplinary process of lawyers, from initial intake of complaints through to citation. Since 2012, he has practised law in Vancouver, where he has provided legal advice to professional regulatory bodies, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists. Kushner has sat on several disciplinary panels for professionals, including the College of Pharmacists of BC and the Teacher Regulation Branch (TRB).
"Teachers have a lifelong impact on their students. It’s imperative that this impact be positive and beneficial to the students,” said Kushner. “My experience as ombudsperson, and subsequently with self-governing professions, provides me with a valuable background and perspective on the regulation of teachers.”
The TRB provides operational support to the regulatory structure for the teaching profession in British Columbia. The commissioner is an independent statutory decision-maker appointed for a term of five years. Kushner replaces Bruce Preston, who held the position since November 2012.
- The recruitment to fill the commissioner for teacher regulation position involved an extensive search and screening.
- The commissioner's role is a prominent feature of the Teachers Act, intended to raise public confidence in the regulation of teachers and to ensure student safety.
- Within the Ministry of Education, the Teacher Regulation Branch is the operational arm of the regulatory structure.
- The branch provides administrative support to the commissioner's office and the other teacher regulatory bodies, including the BC Teachers' Council, the Independent School Teaching Certificate Standards Committee, the Disciplinary and Professional Conduct Board and the Director of Certification.
Teacher Regulation Branch: http://www.bcteacherregulation.ca/index.aspx
Standards for the Education, Competence & Professional Conduct of Educators in B.C.: http://www.bcteacherregulation.ca/documents/AboutUs/Standards/edu_stds.pdf