Understand how Bill 48 impacts your profession.
By Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT @Nicole_OCTOEEO Photo: Matthew Plexman
Change is inevitable — and change within regulatory bodies is no exception. Regulating in the public interest is the constant. As such, Council recently created new strategic priorities for the College that are both current and aligned with our mandate. These include strengthening transparency and accountability, managing risk more strategically, and improving stakeholder engagement.
Last October, Bill 48, the Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2018, was introduced in the legislature. The new bill clarifies the definition of sexual abuse as it relates to professional misconduct. It also states that sexual abuse does not include touching, remarks or behaviour that is a necessary part of a teacher’s professional responsibilities.
Furthermore, the College will be responsible for providing funds for counselling and therapy to victims of sexual abuse by teachers. While we await the implementation of this program, the College is proposing to use reserves to finance the cost.
There are two more legislative changes included in Bill 48. One is the requirement of new teachers to meet math proficiencies. The other relates to the governance structure of College Council and committees. In March 2018, the College launched an independent review of our governance structure at the recommendation of the Governance Committee. I encourage you to read the report (found here: oct-oeeo.ca/governance) and the article on page 30 about the report’s recommendations to Council to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our governance practices.
At its November meeting, Council provided direction for the Registrar and me to communicate with the Ministry of Education in addressing the changes noted above. It is important for all OCTs to be aware of the content of the bill and how these proposed changes to self-regulation impact your profession.