The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is calling on all provinces and territories to make disciplinary decisions publicly available when school employees commit acts of child sex abuse.

The recommendation was made as part of a study on child sexual abuse by K-12 school personnel in Canada.

The study found over the past 20 years there have been at least 750 cases of child sex abuse in Canadian schools involving 1272 victims and 714 employees or former employees.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society disagrees with the study’s call for public disclosure of teacher’s disciplinary records.

“We don’t believe that making teachers’ disciplinary records public would serve the public interest nor that of our members,” said MTS president Norm Gould in an emailed response to CTV Winnipeg.  “The majority of cases our MTS committee deals with are not egregious cases such as sexual assault. Again, those cases are heard in a court of law – in a very public process – with media usually reporting on them.  They are also incredibly rare.”

“Most of the few cases our MTS committee deals with are infractions of our Code of Professional Practice that involve the ways our members interact with each other. We have to respect the privacy and confidentiality of our members on those issues, especially in this age of social media when misinformation can spread so quickly.”The Canadian Centre for Child Protection said finding information for the study was difficult because only three provinces, Ontario, B.C. and Saskatchewan, publish teacher disciplinary decisions. 

“What we found is that there was nothing publicly available on teacher misconduct and so that in itself was tricky,” Canadian Centre for Child Protection director of education Noni Classen told CTV Winnipeg.  “What we ended up finding and using was media reports to find any evidence or any information around teacher misconduct or sexual abuse of students.” 

“What we found was there wasn’t very much transparency in terms of the public interest for them being able to access any information concerning inappropriate behaviour of teachers where it lead to professional misconduct.”

The study also included data from teacher misconduct cases and court cases.

In Manitoba 86 per cent of cases came from information reported by the media.

The study calls for public disclosure in all provinces and territories.

“Educators are in a position of trust,” said Classen.  “In other professions that information is made publicly available if there’s any disciplinary action or sanctions taken against them.”

“For example, doctors, you could find out if a doctor is in good standing or a lawyer that you’re going to, you can find if there’s been any disciplinary actions or sanctions against them.”

Manitoba Education and Training said department staff members will review the study and plan to meet with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to discuss the findings and concerns. 

“Nothing is more important than keeping kids safe,” Manitoba Education and Training said in a statement.  “Under The Education Administration Act, teachers and clinicians hold certification issued by the department, and can have that certification suspended or cancelled by the minister.”  

“If a teacher has had his/her certification suspended or cancelled, that information gets reported by the department to other Canadian provincial and territorial jurisdictions, as well as to all school boards, independent schools and First Nations schools in Manitoba.”