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Bill 98 - New Legislation Enhancing Student Safety and Discipline Processes Receives Royal Assent

June 12 2023

On June 8, 2023, Bill 98, the Better Schools and Student Outcomes Act, received Royal Assent. This new legislation introduces significant changes aimed at enhancing student protection, improving efficiency in investigations and disciplinary processes, and strengthening public confidence in the regulation of the teaching profession.

Expanding eligibility to support student survivors of sexual abuse

The Ontario College of Teachers has been granted the authority to extend eligibility for the Therapy and Counselling Program to include all student survivors of sexual abuse by any Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT), regardless of whether the OCT had direct professional practice involvement with, or direct supervision of, the student.

Increasing efficiencies in disciplinary processes

The new legislation enhances the College’s ability to serve its student safety mandate through streamlined investigation and discipline tools. New efficiencies in the College’s legislation include:

  • Granting the Investigation Committee the authority to require members to complete remedial training or education.
  • Enabling the Discipline Committee to revoke a member’s teaching certificate without a hearing if the member has been found guilty of a criminal sexual offense for which revocation is mandatory.
  • Increasing the fine mechanism for employers who fail to provide additional information to the College in a timely manner after making an initial report about a member.
  • Formalizing that the Registrar, rather than the employer, becomes the complainant when an employer files a report about a member.
  • Ensuring that a member whose certificate has been suspended or revoked must successfully complete the Sexual Abuse Prevention Program before the suspension is lifted or the member is reinstated.
  • Enabling the Investigation Committee to refer a matter involving a criminal conviction directly to the Discipline Committee.
  • Clarifying that a former member can only apply for reinstatement five years from the date of retroactive revocation in cases of professional misconduct related to sexual abuse of a student or child pornography.
  • Ensuring that an order to revoke a certificate for any reason applies immediately, despite any appeal.

The College supports the amendments that Bill 98 brings to the Ontario College of Teachers Act and is actively working to implement them. The Ontario College of Teachers remains committed to fostering safe and supportive learning environments for students across the province and will continue its efforts to maintain high standards of professionalism and accountability among its members.

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