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Bill 101 Welcome but Needs Improvement Says College of Teachers

October 30 2001

October 30, 2001 (Toronto) The Ontario College of Teachers welcomes the governments bill to protect children from sexual abuse in Ontario schools but believes that the bill needs to be strengthened in three key areas to properly protect the provinces students.

The government introduced Bill 101 in response to former Justice Sydney Robins report Protecting Our Children, released in April 2000. The report reviewed how Ontarios publicly funded school system deals with sexual abuse and stems from the highly publicized case of Ken DeLuca, a Sault Ste. Marie teacher who pleaded guilty to abusing 13 students from 1973 to 1993 despite allegations made against him as early as 1973.

"Were pleased that protecting children against sexual abuse is at the top of the governments agenda," said College Chair Larry Capstick as he appeared today before the Standing Committee on Justice and Social Policy. "We are concerned however that Bill 101 does not respond to all of the recommendations of Justice Robins and the College and fails to give authorities the tools they need for early intervention to protect children."

The College is particularly concerned about the decision not to follow Robins recommendation to define prohibited activity as "sexual misconduct" instead of "sexual abuse". Robins preferred sexual misconduct because it is broader in scope and covers offensive conduct, such as the grooming of future victims. Sexual abuse will be more difficult to detect and prevent with the governments proposed definition.

"The notion of sexual abuse focuses on the impact on the victim rather than the responsibility of the professional," said Capstick. "The proposed definition of sexual abuse derived from the Regulated Health Professions Act doesnt reflect the unique context of the school system."

"Teachers are mentors and role models and often advise students on a range of issues, sometimes quite personal. Our profession is unique because we are with students for hours everyday throughout the school year and develop close ties based on respect and trust."

The College is also concerned that Bill 101 does not go far enough to prevent sexual predators from moving from school to school undetected. In fact, there is no duty under the bill to report to the College the transfer of a teacher suspected of sexual misconduct to another school. There is also no duty to report to the College when a teacher resigns in the course of an investigation by his employer into allegations of sexual abuse.

"These two scenarios are very familiar to the College as weve come across them time and time again in the course of our investigations and hearings and they have also been well documented by Justice Robins. Now is our chance to put a stop to them."

The Ontario College of Teachers is the self-regulating body for Ontarios 183,000 certified teachers. The College is responsible to deliver teaching certificates, govern its members, set professional and ethical standards and investigate complaints of professional misconduct against its members.

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Denys Gigure
Media Relations Officer
Ontario College of Teachers
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Toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222, ext. 221

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