College Addresses Standing Committee on Bill 229
December 01 2020
Council Chair Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, and College CEO and Deputy Registrar Chantal Bélisle, OCT, addressed the provincial government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs today to support proposed legislation that will further safeguard Ontario’s elementary and secondary school students and modernize the operations of the College.
The committee received public and institutional briefs regarding Bill 229, Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020.
“This bill reinforces many of the recommendations College Council has made in recent years,” said van Woudenberg.
“The amendments reinforce the teaching profession’s promise to uphold and exemplify its ethical standards of care, trust, respect and integrity.
“These changes will make it easier for the College to fulfill its mission to protect the interests and well-being of Ontario’s students. The modernization of the College’s governance structure will also better serve the public interest by strengthening trust and confidence in Ontario’s teaching profession.”
On safeguarding students
“We asked for stronger regulations to protect students,” added Bélisle. “The amendment to make acts of hatred more explicit in regulation further enables the College to help eliminate racism and other discriminatory actions in education.
“We asked for stronger penalties and broader definitions for acts of professional misconduct related to sexual abuse and child pornography.
“By aligning these heinous acts to Canada’s Criminal Code, the College can better protect students and only permit those who deserve to teach, to do so. This speaks directly to our mandate to protect the public interest.”
The government amendments will also make it possible for the College to order mandatory medical assessments and keep all discipline decisions public.
“The benefits to the College, the public interest and Ontario Certified Teachers are numerous,” said van Woudenberg.
“Once enacted, the College will be able to operate more nimbly, more efficiently, and more effectively and allow an even greater level of member and public engagement in our work. We are strongly committed to these values.
“The College has always been a leader of regulatory changes and trends and the proposed legislation helps to evolve our governance structure to serve as a model for regulatory governance in Ontario.”
See the College's full presentation.
The legislation is anticipated to come into effect later this year.