Proposed amendments to the Ontario College of Teachers' Act reinforce College's ongoing efforts to strengthen investigation, disciplinary and reporting processes
TORONTO, Sept. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario College of Teachers (the College) welcomed the introduction of the Protecting Students Act by Ontario Minister of Education Liz Sandals amending the Ontario College of Teachers' Act (OCTA).
The Protecting Students Act contains the most significant amendments to OCTA since the College was established in 1997. These proposed changes support certain of the College's current practices and significant efforts to streamline its investigation, discipline and reporting processes.
The amendments are consistent with advice provided to the province by the College's Council in response to an independent review by former Ontario Chief Justice Patrick LeSage. The review, released by the College in 2012, included 49 recommendations which called for faster timelines and greater reporting requirements to protect the public interest.
Since the report, the College has moved forward to implement many of the recommendations.
For example, timelines have been set for issuing and publishing Notices of Hearing and the College always calls for the member's name to be disclosed in cases of professional misconduct. As well, all discipline decisions are now posted on the College's website.
"The College has made great strides in how it investigates concerns and shares information with the public," said College Chair Liz Papadopoulos, OCT. "The proposed legislation will expand the College's authority to deal with matters in an effective and transparent manner. This will better serve the public interest - those of parents and students."
The proposed legislation will:
- allow complaints to be "fast-tracked" directly to the Discipline Committee where there is a criminal conviction and a guilty plea by the member
- make the penalty for sexual abuse or acts relating to child pornography automatic revocation of the member's teaching license
- open all reinstatement hearings to the public
- make publishing the names of College members found guilty of professional misconduct mandatory
- formalize the complaint resolution process and procedures
- enable record-sharing between the College and other public agencies, such as social services or the police
"The amendment to allow cases to be fast-tracked where there has been a criminal conviction is one that will be well received in our schools and communities," said College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT. "It's a defining moment for the College and we commend the province for its substantial work in moving these reforms forward."
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 237,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is the only self-regulatory body for the teaching profession in Canada.
This news release is available in French.
SOURCE: Ontario College of Teachers
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