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New bill to punish Ontario teachers convicted of abuse

| | 08 Oct 2016, 09:59 pm
Ottawa, Oct 8 (IBNS): According to a recent update from the education minister Mitzie Hunter, a new bill surfaced that would automatically expel teachers out of the profession if they are convicted of sex abuse or child pornography.

The legislation was passed three years ago, but it faced many delays to finally get its approval.

In an interview with one of Toronto’s news dailies she said, “This legislation responds to the rare occurrence that may occur, and is making sure that we have a process that is decisive and moves quickly to take action on anything in a fair and transparent way.”

She further adds, “My job now is to move it through our legislative process as quickly as possible. It is very important that our schools remain a safe and healthy environment.”

The legislation was first introduced in 2013 but failed to take shape with the elections in 2014. But it was again brought before the law makers in May 2016.

Presently, when teachers are found guilty of sex abuse or child pornography, a discipline committee of the Ontario College of Teachers study the case and has the power to revoke the accused teaching certificate. But there is no mandate to do so.

The new legislation however forces the authorities to publish all disciplinary decisions with the names of the accused.

The legislation came in the wake of a report filed by Justice Patrick LeSage on how the self-regulating colleges were handling the complaints of misconduct in teachers. Most of the teachers who were found guilty were released off their current jobs to look out for a new job elsewhere, rather than inflicting them with a strong punishment.

However, Registrar Michael Salvatori mentioned in a statement that the Ontario College of Teachers has “been working with the government to strengthen the disciplinary processes, in the rare cases where discipline is required, teachers, parents and students will know that a fair and transparent process will be in place.”

Furthermore, the college authorities are also recommending a few amendments to the new act. They believe, all disciplinary decisions should remain publicly available past the current three years, as well as, “ensuring that decisions that result in not guilty findings or withdrawals due to a lack of evidence are noted on a member’s public record.”

 

(Reporting by Debarati Mukherjee)

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