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Governing Ourselves

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.

Investigation commitee Case Study

The College’s Investigation Committee considers all complaints made to the College about its members and reviews all information resulting from investigations.

The committee can dismiss a complaint or refer the matter, in whole or in part, to the Discipline or Fitness to Practise committees for a hearing

The Investigation Committee may also caution or admonish the member in writing or in person, or provide written reminders or advice, or ratify a Memorandum of Agreement reached through the complaint resolution process.

In addition, the Investigation Committee can refuse to investigate a complaint if it is not related to a member’s possible misconduct, incompetence or incapacity. In this process, the committee considers the information provided by the complainant and decides if the complaint will be investigated by the College.

By law, cases under investigation are confidential. For the education of members, the following account, based on facts from real cases, raises important questions about teacher conduct such as what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Details have been altered to respect confidentiality.

The following two cases tell the stories of two families who complained to the College because their children’s teachers had called the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) to report suspected child abuse, neglect or risk of harm.

Case 1

In the fall of 2013, parents of a Grade 1 student complained to the College that their child’s teacher had made a report to the local Children’s Aid Society (CAS) regarding their child, without a valid reason. According to the parents, the school called home on two occasions saying that the student had complained about being uncomfortable in the genital area. The mother had responded to the school’s concerns saying that her child had not complained at home of such discomfort.

The teacher had called back and asked the father if he would be taking his child to see a doctor. The father responded that he would if his child expressed discomfort again, at home or at school.

The parents stated that they then received a call from the local CAS, indicating that they had received a report, and directing them to bring their child to a see a doctor

The parents said they then had their child examined by the family doctor. They provided the CAS and the school principal with a letter from the doctor clearly stating that their child exhibited no signs of trauma or infection in the genital region. The CAS then ceased its involvement with the family.

Case 2

In the early fall of 2012, parents of a Grade 9 student filed a complaint with the College that their child’s teacher had contacted CAS, without having a sufficient reason. The parents said that this call happened after they urged their child — who was dealing with peer pressure and issues related to puberty — to seek help from the school or a number of other organizations they brought to their child’s attention. The child decided to seek help at the school.

The mother stated that the school principal and the member requested a meeting with the mother. The meeting was subsequently cancelled, but the principal and the member met with the student and, then, the teacher in question made a report to the local CAS.

The parents reported that the CAS met with the family numerous times. Early on, the CAS offered to end their involvement because there were no child protection concerns, but the parents asked for the visits to continue as they felt they were helpful to their child and the family

Investigation Committee Review

In both of these cases, the parents complained that the members should not have filed a report with the CAS, because the teachers did not have reasonable grounds to suspect child abuse, neglect or risk of harm, and because the CAS did not eventually identify any problems

One of the parents was a regulated health professional who indicated he was familiar with the Child and Family Services Act, which requires teachers to report to CAS if they have reasonable grounds. This parent provided copies of the Act as part of his complaint.

The Investigation Committee carefully considered all the information provided, and the concerns raised by the parents.

The Outcome

The Investigation Committee decided that the allegations made - by the parents did not relate to professional misconduct, in competence or incapacity on the part of the members.

The committee stated that information provided by the com plainants actually supported the teachers’ decisions to make a report to the CAS. The panel agreed that these two members, like any member of the teaching profession, are obligated to contact the CAS if they believe that a child may be in need of protection.

As a result, the complaints were not investigated; the members were advised of the complaints and their outcome, but were not PS required to provide a response to the complaints.