Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Government Introduces Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2018
Date: October 30, 2018
On October 25, 2018, the Ontario government introduced Bill 48, the Safe and Supportive Classrooms Act, 2018.
If passed, Bill 48 will amend the Early Childhood Educators Act, 2017, the Ontario College of Teachers Act, 1996, and the Teaching Profession Act to expand the definition of sexual abuse. Notably, the amendments include:
- clarification that sexual abuse of a child does not include touching or behaviour that is a necessary part of a teaching professional’s responsibilities (Early Childhood Educators Act, Ontario College of Teachers Act, and Teaching Profession Act);
- a broader definition of “professional misconduct” that includes “prescribed sexual acts” that are prohibited under the Criminal Code (Early Childhood Educators Act and Ontario College of Teachers Act); and
- mandatory revocation of a member’s certificate if a discipline committee finds the member guilty of professional misconduct involving sexual abuse of a child (Early Childhood Educators Act and Ontario College of Teachers Act).
Bill 48 would also amend the Education Act to grant the Minister power to establish policies and guidelines respecting service animals in schools. In addition to requiring boards to comply with these policies and guidelines, the Minister could also require boards to develop their own policies with respect to service animals in accordance with the Minister’s guidelines.
The amendments would also introduce various changes to the governance structure of the Ontario College of Teachers.