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Former TDSB head Chris Spence found guilty of professional misconduct

Chris Spence, Director of Education, TDSB, briefs the media following a Resource Allocation Review meeting with trustees in Toronto on Dec. 6, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/The Globe and Mail/(Power Power/

The former education director of the Toronto District School Board has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

The Ontario College of Teachers panel came to its decision last month against Chris Spence, who resigned almost four years ago after admitting to plagiarism.

Spence said he was “ashamed and embarrassed” that he had copied five passages in a Toronto Star opinion piece on the importance of extracurricular activities.

And both the Globe and Mail and the National Post found numerous other instances in which Spence seemed to be lifting the work of others without credit.

“Having considered the evidence, onus and standard of proof, and the submissions made by College Counsel, the Committee finds that the facts support a finding of professional misconduct,” the panel wrote in its decision.

Panel members said Spence committed five acts of misconduct:

  • Failing to maintain the standards of the profession.
  • Signing or issuing, in the member’s professional capacity, a document that the member knows or ought to know contains a false, improper or misleading statement.
  • Failing to comply with the Education Act or the regulations made under that Act, if the member is subject to that Act.
  • An act or omission that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional.
  • Conduct unbecoming a member.


Spence, who was representing himself, didn’t attend the hearing. He had asked for the matter to be adjourned, but the College denied his request.

The committee will hold a hearing to decide on a penalty.