Protecting Ontario's Children and Students
Ontario has increased the transparency and accountability of the Ontario College of Teachers and College of Early Childhood Educators with the passage of the Protecting Students Act, 2016.
The Ontario College of Teachers is the independent, regulatory body responsible for regulating the teaching profession in Ontario. The Protecting Students Act improves the Ontario College of Teachers' investigation and disciplinary processes, reduces the potential for conflict of interest, and helps 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 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 amendments 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 can apply to have terms, conditions or limitations varied or removed from his/her certificate
- Providing the college registrar with the discretion to determine when an employer report does not require investigation.
In September 2011, the Ontario College of Teachers appointed the Honourable Patrick LeSage to review its investigation and disciplinary procedures and dispute resolution program. In June 2012, former Justice LeSage released a report containing 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 in the public interest the profession of early childhood educators.
In August 2015, amendments to the Early Childhood Educators Act came into force to address recommendations arising from the LeSage Report.
The Ontario government has been working with both colleges to address all of the recommendations included in the LeSage Report, which informed the Protecting Students Act.