CCLA presented oral and written submissions to the legislative committee looking into Ontario’s Bill 13, an Act to Amend the Education Act with respect to bullying and other matters. CCLA’s submissions emphasized the fundamental rights and freedoms of all people in Canada, including young people in schools (subject to reasonable limits). These rights include freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to equality, and the right to life and security of the person. In light of these protections, CCLA’s submissions included the following:
- support for the spirit and intention of Bill 13 to protect vulnerable students from bullying and harassment;
- endorsement of a requirement that schools support pupils who wish to establish and lead activities or organizations to promote awareness and understanding of and respect for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities
- concern that the bill should clarify the right of students, subject to reasonable limits, to choose the name of their club (gay straight alliance, rainbow club, etc).
- a recommendation that transphobia and gender identity be addressed throughout the bill
- concern that the definition of bullying as a punishable offence be revisited with protections for students’ basic rights; while educators should address bullying of all kinds (punishable or not) through various educational methods;
- concern with harsh and mandatory penalties that may have a disparate impact on minority groups
For CCLA’s full written submissions and recommendations, click here.