College supports legislative changes to better protect students
March 29 2018
The Ontario College of Teachers welcomes efforts to amend Ontario laws that make student safety a priority.
At its March 1st meeting, College Council approved a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Education to amend the Ontario College of Teachers Act.
“We want to assure Ontario parents that nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of their children,” says Council Chair Angela De Palma, OCT. “We applaud the government’s continued examination of laws that safeguard students and provide for a system of fair, transparent and timely justice.”
The legislation, introduced as Bill 31, if approved would:
- expand the list of acts that would result in mandatory revocation, including, the touching of a sexual nature by a teacher of a student’s genitals, anus, breasts or buttocks
- require that any other findings of sexual abuse by the College’s Discipline Committee that do not result in a mandatory revocation result in a mandatory suspension of the member’s certificate
- enable the College’s Discipline Committee to immediately suspend a member pending an order of mandatory revocation
- entitle students who are sexually abused by teachers to therapy and counselling
- apply retroactively to any historical matters that may have occurred prior to, or during the College’s existence.
In addition, Council also urged the government to amend the legislation to further expand the definition of sexual abuse acts that would result in mandatory revocation. This would include:
- other forms of physical sexual relations between the member and the student other than sexual intercourse
- touching of a sexual nature of the student by a member that is not restricted to an identified body part.
The College of Early Childhood Educators has recommended similar changes.
The College has also called for an additional amendment to the Act that would fine employers for failing to provide additional information to the College in in a timely manner.
“We’re always keen to collaborate with the government to improve the processes and practices that best serve students and the community,” says College CEO and Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT.
The proposed alterations would enhance the Protecting Students Act, aligning it with recent changes to Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act.