Professionals should not go up against their regulator alone

The Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators (“CECE”) is the regulatory body of early childhood educators across the province. They:

  • decide who has a certificate to practice as an early childhood educators
  • handle complaints against early childhood educators

But your College does not work for you.  In fact, the College can:

  • deny applicant’s applications for a certificate to practice or
  • suspend, revoke or place terms, conditions, or limitations on an early childhood educator’s certificate to practice

If you plan to apply to the College or have received notice of complaint it is important that you have representation to protect your interests and defend your rights.  

Our team of experienced lawyers can assist early childhood educators with matters including:

  • Advising early childhood educators on compliance with relevant legislation and standards
  • Responding to complaints and investigations at the College
  • Representing early childhood educators at the Fitness to Practise Committee
  • Defending early childhood educators in hearings before the College’s of Discipline Committee
  • Advocating for early childhood educators to resolve matters through the College’s complaint resolution process
  • Representing early childhood educators in appeals before the Divisional Court of Ontario
College of Early Childhood Educators Appeals Fitness to Practise Committee Discipline Committee Complaints Process Registration


Applying for a license or in the College’s language a “Certificate of Registration” for either supervised or autonomous practice is a complex process

Applications are reviewed by the Registrar who seek extensive evidence of an applicant’s educational qualifications including one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a diploma program in early childhood education offered by an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology
  • Successful completion of a diploma or degree program in or related to early childhood education that the College has approved
  • Current licensure or registration in early childhood education with another province or territory in Canada
  • Possession of a letter of equivalency from the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario (AECEO)
  • A combination of education and work experience that the College deems as meeting the education requirement

Once an application is submitted, and reviewed the Registrar may:

  • Issue a Certificate of Registration
  • Send a letter to the applicant with the proposal to issue a Certificate of Registration that is subject to terms, conditions, or limitations
  • Send a letter to the applicant with the proposal to refuse to issue a Certificate of Registration
  • Determine that the applicant has not met the requirements and cannot issue a Certificate of Registration in which the applicant has an opportunity to respond, and a final decision is then made

Our office can help you prepare an application and offer legal advice on concerns you may have.  If you are planning to apply for a certificate from the CECE, contact us today.

Complaints Process

The Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators (“CECE”) receives complaints and reports from:

  • members of the public
  • clients of early childhood educators
  • employers of early childhood educators
  • other early childhood educators 

Members of the College are required to file a report, if during their practice they have obtained reasonable grounds to believe that another member of the same or different College has sexually abused a patient, is incompetent or is incapacitated

The first step of the complaint process is at the Complaints Committee.

Complaints filed with the College must be made in writing or voice recorded for transcription. The complainant, the College and the member exchange a series of documents: 

  1. A complaint is filed against a registered early childhood educator (“RECE”)
  2. The RECE is notified in writing that the College has received a complaint and they’re given the opportunity to provide the College with a written response to the complaint
  3. The College will conduct an impartial investigation
  4. The Complaints Committee will review the matter and issue a decision

The potential outcomes of a decision include:

  • A decision to take no further action
  • Require the RECE to appear before the Complaints Committee to receive a verbal caution
  • Refer a matter to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise Committee

These outcomes can have very serious financial and personal impacts on members.  If you have received a complaint from the CECE, please contact us today.

Discipline Committee

A complaint containing serious allegations of professional misconduct or incompetence are sent to the Discipline Committee for a discipline hearing. 

Before a matter progresses to a hearing at the Discipline Committee a pre-hearing may occur.  A pre-hearing is an opportunity for the College and the member to present their case in an informal manner.

In our experience a pre-hearing at a college can be used to:

  • Reduce the allegations against a member
  • Reduce the penalty being sought by a member
  • Raise important legal issues before trial

At the Discipline Committee a trial may take place where witnesses are called, and evidence is heard.

Outcomes at the Discipline Committee can include:

  • A reprimand
  • Terms, conditions, or limitations placed on the member’s certificate
  • Imposing a fine
  • Suspending or revoking the member’s certificate
  • Orders for the member to pay some or all of the costs of a trial

These are extremely serious public outcomes.  If your matter has or could be referred to the Discipline Committee, please contact us today.

Fitness to Practise Committee

The Fitness to Practise Committee is a specialized Committee dealing with cases where a member’s conduct was impacted by an ongoing medical physical or mental health condition.

In our experience, a referral to the Fitness to Practise Committee can offer a number of benefits to members, because:

  • Complaints are generally resolved in a more private manner
  • The goal of the process is ensuring the health of the member

If the Committee determines the member is incapacitated, outcomes may include:

  • Revoking a member’s certificate
  • Suspending the member’s certificate for a specified period
  • Imposing specified terms, conditions, or limitations on the member’s certificate

However, it is unusual for members to be referred to Fitness to Practise Committees without legal representation. It takes experienced and detailed representation to present the evidence that the Committee will want to see to consider a referral to Fitness to Practise. If there is a complaint against you, please contact us today.


Decisions of the Registrar can be appealed to the College’s Registration Appeals Committee.

Decisions of the Discipline Committee and Fitness to Practise Committee can be appealed to the Ontario Divisional Court.

Unfortunately, self-represented individuals are very rarely successful in appeals.  We have unique expertise in appeals from regulatory colleges.  If you are considering an appeal, please contact us today.