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
"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.
Media Relations Officer
Ontario College of Teachers
416-961-8800, ext. 221
Toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222, ext. 221