Greater protection of the public and a better guarantee of quality teaching go through recognition of a professional order, or the equivalent, of teachers based on their competence and their ability to control and promote the quality of their actions. .
Since union representatives have always been fiercely opposed to the creation of a professional order, let us begin by making the necessary distinctions.
To say that the quality of education results from the improvement of working conditions and that the protection of the public is thereby ensured is sometimes true. Does it take a great sense of observation to see it as a strategically useful discourse, less to protect the public than to obtain its support? Anyway, that is not the purpose of union recognition.
It should be remembered that in North America, as in other industrialized Western countries, labor law stems directly from economic liberalism and always shares its postulates, namely those of a power structure; that the Labor Code tames this balance of power; that while, in theory, trade unionism is meant to be an agent of improving the working conditions of its members and of social transformation, our labor laws only recognize and organize the first of the two roles; that the legal responsibility and very effectively assumed by the unionized association is to defend its members and not to protect the public, to such an extent that it can be prosecuted for not having discharged this obligation.
These observations do not lead to questioning either the justification of the union association or the relevance of its action, but to realize that the responsibility to protect the rights of the public is not devolved to it, but often comes into contradiction with its first obligations.
Let us first dispose of an objection to the proposed professional order: if the union is not accountable for the protection of the public, the employer is. So there is no void. This is to forget that in practice, the legislation, the regulations, even the culture of helping labor relations and employer-employee relations are often exhausted in employer-union relations and that the responsibility theoretically entrusted to the employer of nsure the quality of the teaching service must almost always be exercised through the application of collective agreements, by definition subject to the dialectic of labor relations which does not always meet the requirements of the protection of the public, it is the least we can say.
The void that remains to be filled is filled for the reasons mentioned above, but also and above all for the reasons that justify the creation of a professional order or the equivalent. Namely that the particular competence acquired to provide a public service (in this case that of education) and the resulting degree of autonomy required justify allowing these specialists to form themselves into a professional order whose essential function is to ensure the protection of the public in this area, in particular by controlling the practice of the profession by its members.
Of course, the factors to be considered for the constitution of a professional order (listed in section 25 of the Professional Code) do not all apply with the same degree of evidence, but was this the case of the 45 constituted professional orders? Upstream of the distinctions between exclusive right to practice and reserved title, we must recognize that the factors to be considered, relating to the activities assumed by teachers, apply very well for the first four criteria and sufficiently for the fifth.
Surprising, yes, but not surprising from the point of view of the logic of power. The interests of a group must be defended and union recognition meets this need. Another need, just as important, is that of the protection of the public and the recognition of the professionalism of the mission of the masters. However, the creation of a professional order or the equivalent would respond to this in an infinitely more credible way.
Public protection would be better served and the autonomy-responsibility couple would come out a winner.