Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.
COLLEGE UNDERTAKES REVIEW
College commissions former chief justice to review discipline practices
The College has commissioned Ontario’s former chief justice, the Honourable Patrick J. LeSage, to review its investigation and disciplinary procedures and outcomes and dispute resolution program.
College Registrar Michael Salvatori, OCT, who developed terms of reference and initiated the review over several weeks this past summer, says, “These cyclical reviews of policy, programs and practices are a cornerstone of the College’s commitment to continuous improvement. We regularly ask independent experts to review key aspects of the College’s practices to ensure that we continue to serve the public interest effectively.”
In 2002 the College released its advice to all Ontario certified teachers in a professional advisory, Professional Misconduct Related to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Misconduct.
“It is prudent and timely to review the currency and relevance of the advice, and of our practices and procedures across the College’s entire investigation and disciplinary mandate,” says Salvatori.
“This independent review is timely, given the British Columbia government’s move to replace the BC College of Teachers with a Teachers’ Council,” says Ontario College of Teachers Council Chair Liz Papadopoulos, OCT.
“This is an excellent opportunity to add outside expertise to the internal reflection that is done at the College. This input will help inform our practice and decision-making processes.”
“The LeSage review is also very timely in light of some of the criticisms that were raised in recent media reports after we announced this independent examination. We are deeply committed to ensuring the safety of Ontario students,” says Salvatori.
“We want to find the flaws in our processes and address them head on. The welfare of students has always been and must always be our number one concern.”
Patrick J. LeSage is a former commissioner of the Ontario Securities Commission. He was made a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to the Ontario justice system and for his ongoing dedication to public service. In 2009 he was appointed a member of the Order of Ontario.
The former chief justice has presided over some of Canada’s most publicized and complex cases. He has served on a number of commissions and has conducted reviews, including that of Ontario’s police complaints system and of the Canadian military justice provisions of the National Defence Act.
The College has asked LeSage to determine whether College processes and procedures protect the public interest, including processes and procedures contained in the Ontario College of Teachers Act, regulations passed under that Act and College bylaws, and policies, rules and guidelines used by the Investigation and Discipline committees. In addition, he will:
- determine whether these processes and procedures provide fair, impartial and timely adjudication of complaints against members
- examine whether the College’s dispute resolution program protects the public interest
- consider whether the College’s communication and publication practices prior to and following a hearing meet current standards of transparency
- examine whether the College’s Investigation and Discipline Committee members receive appropriate training and legal support to carry out their mandate to protect and serve the public interest
- examine whether cases involving similar findings of fact have resulted in a consistent range of penalties or other outcomes
- examine whether the College provides acceptable protection of confidentiality in its investigation and hearing procedures
- review College protocols for the initial handling of frivolous and vexatious concerns.
The College has asked LeSage to complete his review by May 31, 2012. His report will be made public by the Ontario College of Teachers.