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Bill 200: Proposed changes would improve information flow, resolution of discipline matters

June 01 2016

More ways to log a complaint. Faster complaint resolution. Greater transparency in investigation and disciplinary matters.

Newly proposed legislation promises all these and more.

The provincial government introduced Bill 200, Protecting Students Act, 2016, on May 17.

The Act to amend the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2007, and the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, is now in second reading. Proposed amendments address 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
  • require employers to tell the College when they have restricted a teacher’s duties or dismissed them for misconduct
  • 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 all decisions from its Discipline Committee
  • improve timelines for the investigation and consideration of complaints
  • enable the College to share more information with police and other regulators
  • enable more information to be posted to the College’s public register (Find a Teacher > oct.ca), and
  • place a five-year limit on when a member can apply for reinstatement and open the process to the public.

In re-introducing the bill, Education Minister Liz Sandals said, “As a government, we strive to maintain the highest levels of accountability and transparency and we expect the same of all organizations that operate in the public interest. Most importantly, parents, children and students expect a public education system that is fair, transparent and accountable and they need to be able to easily find answers to questions that they may have about disciplinary proceedings and decisions.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus, MPP Lorne Coe (Whitby-Oshawa) said, “When this bill was first introduced in 2013, our caucus did not feel that it went far enough. At the time, our caucus offered support for the bill as a good first step, though we certainly felt that there were certain elements missing from the bill that needed to be entrenched in legislation.

“Sexual abuse and exploitation of children are unacceptable crimes on one of the most vulnerable populations in our society, and there should be zero tolerance for these types of acts. We have an unequivocal responsibility as a society to protect our children and students.”

Lisa Gretzky, MPP for Windsor West, speaking on behalf of the NDP caucus, said, “this legislation makes the process of charging and sentencing professionals with misconduct more transparent. We know that true transparency does not come at the expense of due process. The two principles can, and do, coexist in many professional colleges, and this is a model that we hope this legislation will achieve.” 

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