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Professional misconduct recognizes hateful remarks and behaviour

November 06 2020

(Toronto) - The regulation that underpins discipline in teaching now recognizes hatred as a form of professional misconduct.

The Professional Misconduct regulation, made under the Ontario College of Teachers Act, now includes “making remarks or engaging in behaviours that expose any person or class of persons to hatred on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination under Part I of the Human Rights Code.”

The change is further supported by the College’s commitment to inclusion, diversity and addressing systemic racism. The College is developing a professional advisory about anti-racism and discrimination to help guide the practice of Ontario’s 234,000 licensed teaching professionals, and is creating an Additional Qualification (AQ) course about anti-Black racism. Internally, Council members and College staff have undergone bias and anti-racism awareness training.

“We are taking important steps to further protect students and eradicate systemic racism,” says Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, Chair of College Council. “The advisory aims to educate and the regulation requires tougher penalties for unwanted and unnecessary behaviour.”

The Supreme Court of Canada defines hatred “objectively to determine whether a reasonable person, aware of the context and circumstances, would view the expression as likely to expose a person or persons to detestation and vilification on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

This applies to conduct and/or remarks made to anyone inside or outside the classroom, on duty or off, and via electronic means.

Allegations of hatred will be subject to the College’s established practice of investigation and, if warranted, public hearing and resolution.

“Providing advice to the profession about anti-racism is timely and timeless,” says Chantal Bélisle, OCT, Deputy Registrar. “And while participation in the AQ course is voluntary, we hope it becomes an important first-step in leadership development across the province.”

There are now 28 grounds for professional misconduct in the Professional Misconduct Regulation [O.Reg. 437/97], which were established when the College began in 1996. They describe the activities that constitute professional misconduct within the meaning of the Ontario College of Teachers Act.

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The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the profession of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education programs affecting more than 234,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is Canada’s largest self-regulatory body.

For more information or to see other College advisories, go to oct.ca or contact:

Brian Jamieson, Senior Communications Officer
416-961-8800, ext. 655
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 655

Gabrielle Barkany, OCT, Senior Communications Officer (Bilingual)
416-961-8800, ext. 621
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 621

Olivia Yu, Senior Communications Officer
416-961-8800, ext. 620
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 620

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

© 2022 Ontario College of Teachers

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