Manitoba Government to Address Teacher Misconduct to Better Protect Children, Youth

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News from Broadway
[November 2, 2022]

The Manitoba government is consulting with key stakeholders on ways to enhance the current framework for addressing and preventing teacher misconduct, Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced today.

“The Manitoba government takes the safety of children and youth seriously,” said Ewasko. “Our government is consulting with stakeholders to solicit feedback on our proposed measures to better address misconduct.”

The Manitoba government is proposing changes that would include:

  • defining teacher professional misconduct that needs to be reported to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Learning;
  • exploring measures to improve information and public reporting processes including the development of a teacher registry;
  • updating the processes and the composition of the Certificate Review Committee; and
  • standardizing mandatory training and professional learning.

“As part of our consultations, we will also be engaging with Stop Educator Child Exploitation, a grassroots organization made up of survivors of sexual abuse and violence at the hands of school personnel in Canadian schools,” said Ewasko. “These consultations and proposed measures are the next steps to better protecting students in schools and increasing the transparency of our processes.”

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection released a report today on child victimization by school personnel in Canada, the minister noted.

“We value the work done by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, and look forward to reviewing the report in detail and will consider its findings as consultations move forward,” said Ewasko.

Manitoba’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education Action Plan committed to developing an enhanced framework for the regulation of the teaching profession in Manitoba. The department will consider the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s calls for an independent body as part of broader consultations.

As the Manitoba government considers changes to teacher certification and regulatory structures, the minister noted that consultations will be held with all relevant stakeholders to get perspectives from students, parents, guardians, teachers and school administrators.

This work builds on the policy directive that requires all school staff to complete the Respect in School program or Commit to Kids program by February 2023. Teachers and school staff are often the first to hear from students and this training is designed to empower them to recognize, prevent and respond to signs of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Other measures in place to protect children in schools include:

  • guidance from the Manitoba government to schools and divisions to update their policies respecting professional boundaries and individual interactions between school personnel and students;
  • requirements for schools to report allegations of abuse and neglect to appropriate legal and/or child protection authorities;
  • requirements for a satisfactory background check, including a Child Abuse Registry check and vulnerable sector search, as part of teacher certification applications and school division hiring processes; and
  • requirements for all schools to provide a safe and caring school environment that fosters and maintains respectful and responsible behaviours including a code of conduct.

For more information on education and early childhood learning in Manitoba, visit https://edu.gov.mb.ca/.

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