Ontario is protecting children and students by re-introducing legislation that would make the disciplinary process for the province’s educators more clear and transparent.
Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, said: “Educators are professionals who care about the safety, well-being and achievement of their students and children. But in those rare circumstances when discipline is required, it is important for Ontario families to be confident in the action that is taken. This proposed legislation will strengthen the authority of the colleges to take decisive action, while ensuring the process is open and transparent for everyone involved.”
If passed, the Protecting Students Act and subsequent regulations would improve the Ontario College of Teachers’ investigation and disciplinary processes, reduce the potential for conflicts of interest and help protect children, students and teachers by:
- Ensuring a teacher’s certificate is automatically revoked if he or she has been found guilty of sexual abuse or acts relating to child pornography
- Requiring employers, including school boards, to inform the college when they have restricted a teacher’s duties or dismissed him or her for professional misconduct
- Allowing the college to share information with the school board or employer if the subject of a complaint poses an immediate risk to a student or child
- Requiring the college to publish all decisions from its discipline committee
- Improving timelines for the investigation and consideration of complaints.
Protecting Students Act
The re-introduction of the Protecting Students Act is part of Ontario’s commitment to re-introduce all government bills that were before the legislature in spring 2016, so that debate on important issues may continue.
Michael Salvatori, College Registrar, Ontario College of Teachers, said.”We are committed to ensuring that Ontario teachers support student success and achievement. That’s why, working with the government, we are keen to strengthen our disciplinary processes. In the rare cases where discipline is required, teachers, parents and students know that a fair, timely and transparent process will be in place.”
Protecting the safety of children and students is part of the province’s plan to build an education system where all students and educators can reach their full potential.
- The Ontario College of Teachers is an independent, regulatory body that is responsible for regulating the teaching profession in the province.
- In June 2012, the Honourable Patrick J. LeSage released a report that contained 49 recommendations to modernize the Ontario College of Teachers’ investigation and discipline practices.
- These recommendations were also relevant to the College of Early Childhood Educators, an independent, regulatory body that governs early childhood educators in the public interest.
- In August 2015, amendments to the Early Childhood Educators Act came into force to address recommendations coming out of the LeSage Report. – CINEWS