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College of Teachers to Require Criminal Declaration and Record Check

September 24 1998

TORONTO – New applicants to the Ontario College of Teachers will be required to declare prior criminal convictions and supply a report of criminal record screening provided by a local police department, College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy announced today. The new policy will come into force January 1, 1999 and is designed to ensure greater public protection.

The screening policy will apply to about 5000 teacher graduates from Ontario faculties of education and out-of-province teachers and graduates applying for College membership yearly.

"The College’s mandate is to establish and enforce professional and ethical standards, and protect the public interest," said College Chair Donna Marie Kennedy. "The College ensures that teachers are, and remain, highly skilled to practice their profession and that teachers are worthy of the trust placed in them by students, parents and their professional colleagues."

The College Council approved the policy at their September 24, 1998 meeting and requested the policy to be reviewed after one year. Council also recommended the College work in co-operation with faculties of education and employers of College members to implement similar checks.

A positive finding of a criminal record will not automatically disqualify an applicant from the teaching profession. The final decision to refuse an applicant because of a criminal record rests with the College Registrar according to the Ontario College of Teachers Act.

"The College will consider factors like the nature of the offence, the time elapsed since the conviction, rehabilitation efforts and behaviour since the offence was committed," Registrar Margaret Wilson said. "Applicants will be informed of the reasons why they have been refused membership and have the opportunity to appeal through the Registration Appeals Committee of the College."

The majority of Ontario’s 31 self-regulating professions require a declaration of criminal record upon registration with annual updates in some cases. The B.C. College of Teachers has a criminal record check policy in place for all of its members according to the British Columbia Criminal Record Review Act.

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON, M5S 0A1, P: 416.961.8800 / Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1.888.534.2222 / F: 416.961.8822 / info@oct.ca

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