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Teachers’ Licensing Body Issues Advisory on Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct

October 08 2002

October 8, 2002 (Toronto) – The professional body responsible for licensing Ontario teachers has issued a new advisory to the profession that defines clearly what constitutes sexual abuse and heightens awareness of the issue.

"The teaching profession itself is the driving force behind this effort to ensure that students are safe in the care of Ontario teachers," said College Chair Larry M. Capstick. "The profession, through the College, wants to deal with inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature in a decisive and open manner."

The College Council decided to develop the professional advisory – Professional Misconduct Related to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct – following the publication of the Robins Report – Protecting Our Students. The report led to the adoption of the Student Protection Act by the Ontario government, which came into force September 3.

"The feedback we received following the release of the Robins Report on sexual misconduct made it clear that the teaching profession wants clear guidelines when it comes to inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature and the College Council wholeheartedly endorses that direction," said Capstick.

The College’s professional advisory describes what may constitute sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual relationships in light of the Student Protection Act, the Ontario College of Teachers Act and the College’s Professional Misconduct Regulation. It also provides examples of situations that teachers should avoid or consider carefully.

The advisory is the first issued by the College in its five years of operation. "It’s part of the job of a licensing body – and a number of professions like doctors and nurses have issued similar advisories on a wide range of issues related to professional conduct, knowledge and skills," said College Registrar Joe Atkinson.

"There are a number of issues about which members of the teaching profession have indicated they would like their College to provide guidance. We were able to develop this advisory because there is such unanimity within the profession on this issue. This type of conduct is just unacceptable to teachers."

The College is embarking on a provincial tour of 15 cities across Ontario to get the message out to educators and the public about the professional advisory. The College’s 184,000 members will also receive the advisory in their December issue of Professionally Speaking, the College’s magazine. The advisory is also posted on the College web site at www.oct.ca.

The College will also take the opportunity to provide teachers, administrators and the public with information about the provisions of the Student Protection Act and their responsibilities under it.

The act strengthens reporting requirements between the College and employers to prevent teachers who have been disciplined for, charged with or convicted of a sexual offence involving minors from moving from board to board or school to school.

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For more information:

Denys Giguère
Media Relations Officer
416-961-8800, ext. 221
Toll-free in Ontario 1-888-534-2222, ext. 221

www.oct.ca

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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