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The government is launching a new tool to combat bullying in schools, the first step towards creating a more inclusive environment for young people.
Under the new policy, which is the result of a national consultation, school administrators will be required to report incidents of bullying to the police.
It will be up to the government to decide whether to introduce it or not.
“It is important to note that this new policy will not result in schools reporting bullying incidents to the law enforcement agencies or to police, but to the school boards, which are responsible for the safety of students and their families,” said a draft policy released Wednesday.
The new policy comes after the federal government announced in January that it would introduce legislation that would allow schools to report bullying to police.
The bill will come into effect in the fall of 2019.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said the move will “set a dangerous precedent” and will be “a huge step backward for the many young people who are struggling to cope with bullying on a daily basis.”
The new law will require schools to file reports with the Office of the Superintendent of Schools (OSSE) and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The OSE is responsible for investigating reports of bullying, which the government says it will review “at a later date.”
The OHSC has also been charged with reviewing bullying incidents.
The Ontario Human Right Commission will be responsible for enforcing the new law.
The legislation will also be subject to judicial review.
In an emailed statement, the Ontario government said the new legislation is a “comprehensive anti-bullying strategy that will create a more transparent and effective process for school boards and staff to respond to bullying and ensure all students are safe.”
“The OSSE will continue to provide guidance to school boards on how to best respond to reports of inappropriate behaviour and we will work with school boards to develop a clear, coherent approach to addressing bullying, as well as to ensuring that students are protected from harm,” it said.
The federal government will also take steps to create a new national anti-bully strategy.