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Minister thanks College for ongoing commitment to education, student protection and the value of its role in education

March 01 2018

Indira Naidoo-Harris

“You ensure we are on track in a very real way,” said Ontario Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris in her address to Council today. The Minister attended a Council meeting as part of her annual visit to the College. She recognized how valuable the College’s work is and “looks forward to working together to building strong learning environments for students, educators and communities.”

The Minister provided insight into her vision of what Ontario’s public education system should look like, including greater equity and inclusivity in learning environments, increasing student and teacher well-being, and greater student protection, in particular, to sexual abuse.

“Protecting students is vital, because children are vulnerable,” said Naidoo-Harris. While 2016’s Protecting Students Act strengthened student protection, her government is now proposing additional changes, including:

  • expanding the list of acts constituting sexual abuse that will result in mandatory revocation of a teaching license;
  • stricter penalties for those found guilty of sexual abuse;
  • ensuring students have access to support services when abuse is alleged.

The proposed changes to the Protecting Students Act will bring it into alignment with recent changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act.

“Any sexual abuse is unacceptable,” said the Minister. She also wants to “strengthen the College’s ability to respond to cases of professional misconduct” and the “authority to revoke licenses in the best interest of student safety.”

Naidoo-Harris recognized the College’s leadership role in education, in particular by contributing to an inclusive learning environment through its development of an Additional Qualification for teaching LGBTQ students.

She also acknowledged some of the challenges faced by Council, in particular, the lengthy timelines related to public appointment vacancies on Council. The Minister has said her team is working to expedite the process, while looking at how her Ministry can improve its internal processes.

Naidoo-Harris also thanked the College for its continued efforts to increase transparency, its dedication to teacher professionalism and for its “invaluable guidance” to Ontario’s certified teachers. She is looking forward to working closely with the College to “to ensure students succeed in the classroom, their communities and in the world.”

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