Bill 98, The Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act
April 19 2023
The Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario's teaching regulator, welcomes new legislation that will increase supports for student safety while enhancing transparency and accountability to parents and guardians.
The proposed legislative changes were introduced in Bill 98, the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act on April 17, 2023.
"Protecting the well-being of Ontario's more than two million students is the College's top priority," said Diana Miles, Chair of Council, Ontario College of Teachers. "Additional accountabilities found in this legislation will better equip us to serve the public interest."
"We have been devoting significant resources to improving processes that help ensure students feel safe and supported," said Linda Lacroix, OCT/EAO, Registrar & CEO, Ontario College of Teachers. "The new legislation will provide us with additional capacity to strengthen our disciplinary procedures to more quickly find fair resolutions that will boost public confidence."
The proposed changes will better protect students by:
Expanding eligibility to support student survivors of sexual abuse
Since 2020, the College has provided funding for therapy and counselling for student survivors of sexual abuse, a prescribed sexual act and/or a prohibited act involving child pornography by an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT). The College has advocated for updated eligibility requirements that allow us to provide that help to more people who may benefit from it.
Updating existing disciplinary processes
The College has established new efficiencies in its investigations and disciplinary processes to better protect students. The new legislation will complement these efficiencies and provide the College with enhanced authority by:
- enabling the Investigation Committee to refer a matter relating to a criminal conviction directly to the Discipline Committee
- allowing the Discipline Committee to make a decision without holding a hearing or allowing a member to make submissions if that member has been found guilty of a criminal sexual offence that requires mandatory revocation of their teaching certificate, as stipulated under the Ontario College of Teachers Act
- increasing the fine mechanism for employers who fail to provide additional information in a timely manner to the College with respect to employer reports to the College
- increasing the Investigation Committee's authority to order remedial training or education.