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Tutoring and Conflict of Interest - Guidelines for Members

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Introduction

Members often ask whether they can engage in private tutoring on their own time.

ETFO has publicly opposed referring students in publicly funded schools to private education providers.

ETFO believes that all students in the public system should have access to the resources, services, and supports they need to succeed. 

OTF’s Tutoring Policy

Members should know the Ontario Teachers’ Federation (OTF) policy on tutoring:

  • Members are legally able to engage in tutoring on their own time.
  • Teachers must not tutor their own students for remuneration.
  • The teacher should consult the student’s regular teacher.
  • The teacher will be in violation of the Code of Ethics if he or she makes adverse comments about the student’s regular teacher, or if the teacher interferes in an unwarranted manner between the student and the student’s regular teacher.

Conflict of Interest

Teachers are bound by the Professional Misconduct Regulation 437/97 under the Ontario College of Teachers Act. Section 26 states that a teacher is guilty of professional misconduct when practising the profession while in a conflict of interest.

Public servants, such as teachers, are held to higher standards than other employees in conflict of interest situations.

Teachers should be guided by the following rules, which apply to public servants:

  • They must not advance their own agendas, financial or otherwise, in ways that might prejudice their employer’s interests or reputation.
  • They must not use information that is unavailable to the general public, and to which they have access because of their official duties, for private gain.
  • They must not place themselves in situations where their judgement could, even unconsciously, be affected by their private business.
  • Their interest in their private financial affairs must not clash, or appear to clash, with the employer’s interests.   

Guidelines for Members

ETFO has developed specific guidelines for members:

  • Find out whether the board has a policy on tutoring and follow it. If a teacher breaches the policy, he or she may be disciplined and/or reported to the College of Teachers.
  • Private tutoring should not take place on school property or during the instructional day.
  • Members should not advertise private tutoring through connections at the school, through school or board publications, or through the board’s computer network.
  • Regular communication should occur with the student’s own teacher so as not to work at cross purposes or outside the regular classroom curriculum.
  • Members tutor students at their own risk, and may not be eligible for ETFO support should problems arise from the private tutoring situation.

Members are advised to consult Professional Relations staff in Protective Services at (416) 962-3836 or 1-888-838-3836 for additional advice.