Protecting Ontario Students
The Ontario College of Teachers is an independent, regulatory body with the responsibility for regulating the teaching profession in Ontario. In September 2011, they appointed the Honourable Patrick LeSage to review their investigation and disciplinary procedures and dispute resolution program, and in June 2012, Justice LeSage released a report that contained 49 recommendations.
Although the LeSage Report recommendations were directed at the Ontario College of Teachers, they were also relevant to the College of Early Childhood Educators, whose mandate is to govern and regulate the profession of Early Childhood Educators in the public interest.
In August 2015, amendments to the Early Childhood Educators Act came into force to address recommendations coming out of the LeSage Report.
The government has been working with both colleges to address all of the recommendations included in the report. The Protecting Students Act, if passed, would improve the investigation and disciplinary processes of the Ontario College of Teachers, reduce the potential for conflicts of interest and help protect students and children by:
- Ensuring a teacher's certificate is automatically revoked if he or she has been found guilty of sexual abuse or acts relating to child pornography
- Requiring employers to inform the college when they have restricted a teacher's duties or dismissed him or her for professional misconduct
- Allowing the college to share information with the school board if the subject of a complaint poses an immediate risk to a child or student
- Requiring the college to publish all decisions from its discipline committee
- Setting clear rules for the use of dispute resolution
- Providing authority to the college to disclose information about members to the police and other regulators
- Improving timelines for the investigation and consideration of complaints.
In addition, the following proposed amendments to the bill will improve the investigation and disciplinary processes of the College of Early Childhood Educators by:
- Establishing limitations on when and how often a member of the College of Early Childhood Educators can apply to have terms, conditions or limitations varied or removed from their certificate
- Providing the College of Early Childhood Educators registrar with the discretion to determine when an employer report does not require investigation.
The government first introduced the Protecting Students Act in September 2013, but the proposed bill died when the House was dissolved due to the election call in May 2014. The bill was re-introduced in May 2016, however it died when the spring session ended.