Ontario College of Teachers – Duty to Report Sessions
Information for OACAS Members and the Website
The Ontario College of Teachers, the body that licenses, governs, and regulates the profession of teaching, launched its professional advisory on Duty to Report in September 2015.
The advisory was in response to recommendations to education from the Jeffrey Baldwin inquest in 2014. Earlier this year the College requested input into the advisory, and a number of CAS staff provided extensive information to shape the final document. A number of other stakeholders contributed to the advisory including the First Nations, Metis and Inuit and Francophone communities.
The College planned several launches in various location across the province between September 21 and October 7th in collaboration with CASs and local police services. The launch sites included Toronto, Ottawa, Sudbury- Manitoulin, Thunder Bay, Windsor and Niagara. At the sessions the College discussed the development of the advisory and duty for teachers to report suspected abuse and neglect. The OACAS duty to report video was shown and each session was followed by a panel presentation of CAS and police staff. Those who attended the events were primarily educators, principals, school board representatives, parent teacher associations and volunteers.
The panel members were asked to present on issues primarily related to what the barriers are to reporting, how to break down barriers and what happens when a report is made. The media attended several of the events and coverage included radio, newspaper and local television stations. Each location was invited to share other materials which included local protocols with school boards, brochures and the provincial Child Abuse Prevention campaign.
CAS staff who participated in the sessions reported that there was a positive response to the presentations and that there was good coverage of the events. Themed questions included:
· Questions about consulting if the person reporting is not sure if there are “reasonable grounds”
· Allowing child welfare workers and OCL staff into the schools to interview children
· Is there disclosure about the referral source?
· What is conveyed to the person who reported about what happens next or following and investigation?
· What if the reporter of abuse or neglect is wrong?
This information may be useful to your agency as you continue to work with teachers and schools related to their responsibilities to report abuse and neglect. If your agency would like to consider hosting a similar event in your region, you can contact the College and they would be willing to work with you to develop a similar session.
College Professional Advisory can be found at: https://www.oct.ca/resources/advisories/duty-to-report