March 20, 2023
We Need Your Help to Amend Bill 35!
BILL 35 denies teachers fairness and due process and exposes them to frivolous and malicious complaints. Please register to speak at a committee hearing!
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society Opposes Bill 35
The Society does not oppose regulation. But Bill 35 does not protect teachers’ due process, follow the rules of natural justice and ensure absolute fairness.
You will find no argument from teachers about the importance of keeping the children in our classes safe. In fact, student safety is the first point in our Code of Professional Practice. We strongly support measures to keep all children safe within the public school system.
According to a January 2023 MTS public poll: 81 per cent of parents trust teachers to protect and keep students safe, and 75 per cent of parents are not concerned about teacher misconduct at their child’s school.
Keeping kids safe should not come at the expense of making teachers vulnerable. Bill 35 exposes teachers to frivolous and malicious complaints because of its overly broad definition of “misconduct.” Also, the phrase “significant emotional harm” could be interpreted as anything from how a teacher grades a student, to their choice of content including that deemed by some members of the public to be controversial (for example, 2SLGBTQIA+ issues), to their classroom management and resource choices.
Furthermore, professional competence is not related to protecting children’s safety and should not be part of any teacher misconduct framework.
The bill is also silent on whether teachers would have union representation at public hearings—and does nothing preventative or proactive to keep a student safe.
We insist that our members’ many concerns must be addressed in any proposed legislation touching on these issues. Bill 35 in its current form is unacceptable.