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Council Seeks Amendments to Bill 37 to Support Transparency

October 14 2016

The College’s Council has asked that recently re-introduced legislation that governs the College ensure that copies of all discipline hearings held in public continue to be made available to the public.

The proposed Protecting Students Act (re-introduced by the government as Bill 37) would require the College to remove discipline decisions from its website involving terms, conditions or limitations imposed on a teacher’s license after three years, despite findings of professional misconduct. Only decisions involving revocations, suspensions, not-guilty findings, and withdrawals owing to a lack of evidence would remain on the website. Council voted to ask the Minister of Education to amend the legislation so that this information continues to be available to the public.

Council argues that disciplinary hearings are public and that decisions from those hearings should always remain part of the public record and available to parents.

The College posts all of the decisions now to its website and also shares the information with Quicklaw, a legal search engine. Of the 834 decisions available in the College’s online library, 376 would have to be removed if the legislation passes.

Transparency is not the only issue. Defence lawyers rely on the decisions, particularly when researching penalties, when defending their clients. As well, decision summaries published in Professionally Speaking would still be available and searchable online. Anyone reading the summary who wanted to see the full decision from which it was written would not be able to access it.

By comparison, all health care regulators provide all of their discipline decisions to the public regardless of the penalty imposed.

At its September 29-30 meeting, Council approved an additional motion to make all public decisions available to CanLII, a free, legal and searchable database.

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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