An unidentified man who disclosed to the Teacher Regulation Branch that he had been charged with sexual assault but the charges were stayed has filed a human rights complaint against the branch for not issuing him a teaching certificate.
The man made his application to the TRB in December 2016 and his disclosure prompted it to investigate if he was suitable to become a teacher.
The investigation began in February 2017 and concluded last fall, but to date the TRB still has not decided if it will issue him a teaching certificate.
The TRB is part of the Ministry of Education and regulates B.C.’s teaching profession under the provisions of the Teachers Act.
The applicant says the delay amounts to discrimination “on the basis of a criminal conviction unrelated to his proposed profession,” contrary to the Human Rights Code.
“In this case, the applicant strongly disputes the allegations of sexual assault,” Tribunal Member Devyn Cousineau noted in her reasons for decision issued Thursday (March 28). “The alleged incident happened in 2009, over seven years before the applicant applied for a teaching certificate. Charges were laid in 2010 and stayed on the day that the trial was scheduled to begin in March 2011.
“The reason that the charges were stayed appears to relate to the applicant’s fiancee refusing to testify – in his view, because the allegations were false.”
The TRB denies any discrimination.
“It argues that the applicant has not experienced any adverse impact in respect of his membership in the profession,” Cousineau said of the TRB, “and that, in any event, a criminal charge for sexual assault is related to the job of being a teacher.”
The TRB asked Cousineau to dismiss the complaint, but she decided it “surpasses the realm of conjecture” and as such decided the complaint should be heard as it “warrants the time and expense of a hearing.
“I stress that this decision is not a prediction about whether the complaint is likely to succeed,” she said.
She also ordered that the tribunal restrict publication of the applicant’s name “until the hearing of this complaint,” a date for which has not yet been set.
“This complaint involves unproven allegations about sexual assault against a person who is applying to become a teacher,” Cousineau noted in her reasons. “If the applicant is eventually granted a teaching licence, in my view it would be harmful to his professional reputation and the interests of his students to have his name associated with these allegations. As such, I have exercised my discretion in this decision to anonymize the name of the complainants,
“This is an interim measure, which will remain in place until the hearing of the complaint,” Cousineau said.