03/11/2012 04:12 EDT | Updated 05/11/2012 05:12 EDT

CAQ proposes professional order for teachers

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec wants to create a professional order for teachers.

François Legault says it's the best way to ensure students get a good education.

"The creation of a professional order represents an important milestone in ensuring the quality of instruction given to our children across Quebec, as well as finally giving teachers the status they deserve as professional educators," Legault told a press conference Sunday.

If elected, Legault said the CAQ would develop the new order in consultation with teachers.

Legault is also proposing a pay hike for teachers of around 20 per cent.

The order proposed by the CAQ would set criteria for two formal evaluations per teacher per year. School principals would conduct those evaluations. Student performance would also be taken into account.

Despite comments he made last year suggesting the party would link pay rates to instructor evaluations, an idea which drew significant ire from the teachers' union, Legault said Sunday the party isn't interested in instituting merit pay.

Legault said he’s already received support for the professional order from many teachers he’s spoken with.

However, the teachers' union isn't keen on the idea.

Serge Laurendeau of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers said there are already ombudsmen in place to address any complaints or concerns from parents and evaluation procedures already exist in the teachers' collective agreements.

A few years ago, Quebec teachers were surveyed to see if they'd be interested in having a professional order, he said.

"The answer was clearly 'No'.I don't see what this would bring in addition to what we already have."

Ontario and British Columbia have professional orders for teachers.

Legault said the price of establishing an order in Quebec and implementing the proposed evaluations hasn’t been worked out, but he didn’t expect it to be too costly.