Moving from Ontario to British Columbia: What Teachers Need to Know

Moving from Ontario to British Columbia: What Teachers Need to Know Teacher in classroom picture

How is the process of getting a teaching job in British Columbia different from Ontario?

There are some key differences between teaching in Ontario and British Columbia. If you're an Ontario teacher or a Canadian teacher trained outside of BC, here are some important things to know about the job application and teacher certification process.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about teaching in bc

Q: Is supply teaching the same as teaching on call?

A: Yes, supply teaching is similar to teaching on-call in British Columbia. Instead of the term supply teachers, BC school districts use the term "teacher teaching on-call" or TTOC. One difference is that school districts do not have to maintain two separate occasional teachers' lists, i.e. "roster" or "LTO."

Q: Do I apply for jobs with the school board?

School districts hold the responsibility of hiring teachers in the public school system, and they often use the terms "school board" or "board of education" interchangeably. Nonetheless, a school board or board of education comprises a group of school trustees who develop plans, policies, and budgets that govern the school. Generally, boards of education do not have direct involvement in the hiring of teachers, although certain individual school trustees may participate in certain stages of the process in specific school districts. Teaching jobs are posted throughout the year on

Wordpress Image from Make A Future Website - Moving from Ontario to British Columbia: What Teachers Need to Know


Q: Do I have to take additional courses to get my BC teaching certificate?

A: No, if you are certified in Ontario and in good standing with the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), you do not need to take additional coursework to obtain your BC teaching certificate. According to the Teacher Regulation Branch, "If you hold a current, valid, unrestricted teaching certificate from another Canadian province or territory, you will likely qualify for a Professional Certificate under the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), even if you do not meet our currency requirements."

Q: Can I transfer my pension to the BC teachers' pension plan?

A: Yes, under an Interprovincial Transfer Agreement, you can transfer your Ontario Teacher's pension to the BC Teachers' Pension Plan.

Q: I have completed Additional Qualifications/Additional Basic Qualifications (AQ/ABQs) in these areas; what can I teach in BC?

A: Although your BC teaching certificate does not impose any restrictions on the subjects or grade levels/divisions that you can teach, it is important to keep in mind that school districts have their own set of standards for qualifications when hiring teachers for various roles. As such, while teachers are free to apply for any position, they must meet the specific requirements of the school district for which they are applying.

Q: What are BC class size limits?

A: In this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the BC Public School Employers' Association, the BC Ministry of Education and the BC Teachers' Federation,  the following class size and composition were set:

  1. Kindergarten classes shall not exceed 20 students;
  2. Grade 1 classes shall not exceed 22 students;
  3. Grade 2 classes shall not exceed 22 students;
  4. Grade 3/4 classes shall not exceed 24 students;

Moving from Ontario to British Columbia What Teachers Need to Know - Classroom picture

In multi-grade classrooms, the class size maximum for the lower grade shall apply. For example, in a K/1 split, the class size maximum is 20 students. Depending on class composition, grade levels, and school districts, these numbers may vary. For more details on this topic, read the MOA document.

Q: Does my seniority transfer/port over to BC?

A: In BC, teachers teaching-on-call (TTOCs) and those on temporary and continuing assignments accrue experience. The local collective agreement of each district determines how to apply, accrue, and recognize seniority. Teachers can only transfer their seniority when they obtain a continuing assignment with a district. They can earn up to 20 years' seniority credits within a school district and transfer them to another school district. Learn more about the process in the seniority section of the Provincial Collective Agreement.

Q: Can I transfer my Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to BC?

A: Initially, consider whether you anticipate the move to be permanent. If your answer is affirmative, there are transfer agreements in place with teachers' plans in other provinces. Typically, teachers in this situation are able to transfer their accumulated credit to their new employer's plan.

If you anticipate returning to Ontario and continuing your teaching career here, it may be advisable to keep your accumulated credit in the plan. Upon your return, you can explore the option of transferring any credit you earned while away into the plan.

Q: Do my additional qualifications (AQs) affect my salary grid placement?

A: The Teacher Qualification Service places teachers on their salary grid based on their qualifications. The TQS website provides a comprehensive explanation of how your Additional Qualifications (AQs) can influence your salary.

Q: What is the minimum duration of employment required as a supply teacher on the long-term occasional list before applying for a permanent position?

British Columbia's public school districts do not have policies similar to Ontario's Regulation 274, which outlines the hiring process for long-term occasional (LTO) and new permanent teaching positions. Instead, each school district's collective agreement has its own set of guidelines for the hiring process. LTO/on-call teachers do not have to fulfill a specific number of assignments within a designated timeframe to qualify for consideration for permanent positions.

British Columbia school districts and the Make a Future team travels to Ontario every year to recruit teachers. Find us at an upcoming event.

Check out our Event Calendar to meet us on the Road