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Ontario College of Teachers criticizes new bill designed to protect students

AP Photo/Steve Ruark/File

TORONTO — The Ontario College of Teachers says a bill designed to increase accountability for the province’s educators will in fact weaken some measures that already exist.

The regulatory body for Ontario’s teachers issued an open letter in response to Bill 37, dubbed the Protecting Students Act.

The Liberal government says the bill would tighten disciplinary processes and make their outcomes more transparent to the public.

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It says the act would ensure a teacher’s certificate is automatically revoked if he or she has been found guilty of sexual abuse or child pornography charges, as well as require boards to inform the college when they have restricted a teacher’s duties or dismissed the person for professional misconduct.

But the college says the bill is flawed in its present form, adding some of its disciplinary decisions that are currently available would have to be taken offline if it passes.

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It says the bill contains many welcome measures, but says it doesn’t go far enough to expose teachers with questionable records or hold them accountable for their actions.