Ontario Passes Anti-Bullying Bill

Today, the Ontario Legislature passed a groundbreaking new anti-bullying law. Bill 13, the Accepting Schools act, passed by a vote of 65-36 in the minority legislature, despite objection from the opposition Tories and the Catholic church. The bill outlaws “aggressive and typically repeated behaviour by a pupil…. causing harm, fear or distress to another individual including physical, psychological, social or academic harm” in schools, including cyber bullying, and promotes an inclusive environment that welcomes all people including those of any sexual orientation.

After passage of the bill, Premier Dalton McGuinty said “There are values that transcend any one faith. And if you talk to parents, they’ll tell you. They want their kids to be respected and accepted, they want their schools to be caring places, ideally we’d like to see them as a bit of an extension of the home in terms of the comfort level that our kids might enjoy inside their school.”

Only the Progressive Conservative MLAs voted against the bill, saying that the Liberal government used the anti-bullying bill to make their party look “homophobic” and to open up a debate about faith-based schools that “the public doesn’t want to have”. The Catholic School Board, for their part, opposed the bill, because it requires schools to allow students to use the name “gay-straight alliances” for their anti-homophobia clubs if they wish. The Catholic schools wanted to have a veto over the use of that name, claiming it represents a “political agenda” conflicting with their religious beliefs and freedoms.

Ontario is one of the few provinces in Canada that still has a Catholic school system in addition to a non-faith affiliated Public school system. Both boards receive public funding, an issue which became a heated debate in the 2007 Ontario election when a candidate suggested it was time to end faith-based school funding.

This legislation was tabled in response to two suicides – Jamie Hubley of Ottawa and Mitchell Wilson of Pickering, both Ontario boys who faced bullying and torment – Jamie because he was gay, Mitchell because he was weak.


Related Stories:

11-Year-Old Bullying Victim Commits Suicide

Gay Ottawa Teen Jamie Hubley Decides “It Hurts Too Much”

“Christian” Blames Victim And Media For Gay Teen Suicide

Communitech Photos on Flickr


Scott haakon
Scott haakon4 years ago

Badly written laws cause more problems than they solve.

Elizabeth S.
Elizabeth Fuller4 years ago

I hope these laws are enforced and stiff penalties given to deter students from trying to break it.

Elizabeth S.
Elizabeth Fuller4 years ago

Dalton McGuinty is the best thing to happen to Ontario and should consider becoming Prime Minister. He has done wonders for clean energy and schools. We need more leaders like him.

Julie Cook
Past Member 5 years ago

Way to go Dalton! Now it's time to stop funding Catholic schools as well. However, politicians don't want to go anywhere near that idea.

Arild Warud
Arild W5 years ago

Very good news.

Virginia Esquer
Virginia Esquer5 years ago

bullying should not be tolerated period, it does not matter the religion or their sex preference, we need to look on how it affects the child for the rest of their life.

Heidi R.
Past Member 5 years ago

Great step in helping stamp out the problem.

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the post.

Lynn Squance
Lynn S5 years ago

Well done Ontario!

So the Ontario PCs objected to the bill because it made them look bad? Sure shows people where PC values are! When did the public appearance of the Ontario PC party trump the lives of young people, the future of this nation?

And the Catholic Church? If you object to the law or don't want to abide by it, then don't accept public funding. Personally, the RC church's objection to this anti-bullying law tells me that it has no concern for people or the words of Christ. It is too caught up in the words of men.

Cyril C.
Cyril Coulterman5 years ago

Good for this government, and good for Ontario. It's about time. Pathetic though that Ontario PCs voted against the bill, saying that the Liberal government used the anti-bullying bill to make their party look “homophobic”. Trust me, they don't need the Liberals to make them look that way, they do a fantastic job of that all by themselves.