Proposed legislative changes by the Ontario government would enhance public accountability and safety in schools while also providing more supports for students that have been sexually victimized by a teacher.
Introduced on April 17, 2023, The Better School and Student Outcomes Act would, among other changes:
- Expand eligibility for therapy and counselling for student survivors of sexual victimization by an Ontario certified teacher;
- Enable the Ontario College to Teachers (OCT) to refer matters relating to criminal convictions of a teacher directly to a discipline committee;
- Allow for the immediate revocation of a teaching certificate in cases involving convicted of a criminal sexual offence;
- Provide OCT’s with an increased authority to order remedial training for violative teachers;
The Ontario College of Teachers, who have been leaders in student safety in Canada, have also welcomed the announcement changes. “These proposed improvements to Ontario’s already-strong student safety framework shows the commitment from their provincial government and the Ontario College of Teachers to putting the wellbeing of students at the forefront of their educational experience,” says Signy Arnason, Associate Executive Director for the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Last month, Manitoba proposed a bill that aims to overhaul the disciplinary process for teachers accused of serious professional misconduct. The Education Administration Amendment Act (Teacher Certification and Professional Misconduct) will align Manitoba’s practices with teacher regulatory structures similar to those in other provinces.