TORONTO, Oct. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - Greater transparency in investigation and disciplinary matters. Faster complaint resolution. Making the complaint process more accessible to the public.
Re-introduction of proposed legislation promises all this and more.
The College of Teachers welcomes the provincial government's re-introduction of the Protecting Students Act.
This Act, which amends the Ontario College of Teachers Act, addresses recommendations adopted by College Council stemming from a 2012 review of the College's investigation and disciplinary practices and processes by former Ontario Chief Justice, the Honourable Patrick LeSage.
Among its proposed changes, the legislation would:
- ensure that a teacher's certificate is automatically revoked if found guilty of sexual abuse or acts relating to child pornography
- allow 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
- require the College to publish summaries of Discipline Committee decisions where there has been a finding
- improve timelines for the investigation and consideration of complaints.
"We are committed to ensuring that our teachers are supporting the success and achievement of our students. And that is why we have been working with the government to strengthen the disciplinary processes at the College, said College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT. "In the rare cases where discipline is required, teachers, parents and students will know that a fair and transparent process will be in place."
Since the LeSage review, the College has acted on all recommendations within its authority to implement. It has significantly improved how it investigates concerns and how it discloses information publicly.
"We look forward to working with the province to bring forward amendments to the Bill in order to continue to protect students and maintain public confidence in our work," said College Chair Angela De Palma, OCT.
At its meetings on September 29-30, College Council made a number of recommendations to the Minister of Education to amend the legislation.
- ensuring that all decisions from disciplinary hearings are available to parents and the public and not removed after three years as currently suggested with respect to certain matters
- seeking to maintain the College Registrar's authority as the the official complainant in professional misconduct matters, not a Director of Education
- seeking legal authority to have discipline decisions take immediate effect when a member's certificate is revoked, instead of staying the order in case of appeals
- considering prior decisions involving members at both the investigation and discipline committee stages
- ensuring that decisions that result in not guilty findings or withdrawals due to a lack of evidence are not noted on a member's public record
- allowing discretion when posting terms, conditions or limitations of a sensitive nature from Fitness to Practise decisions
- removing the proposed spousal exemption clause.
The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the profession of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education programs affecting its more than 243,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body for the teaching profession in Canada.
SOURCE Ontario College of Teachers
For further information: Gabrielle Barkany (Bilingual), 416-961-8800, ext. 621, Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 621, [email protected]; Brian Jamieson, 416-961-8800, ext. 655, Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. [email protected]