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Disciplinary Decision Picture
Connexions Professional Regulation

May Discipline Decision Summary

The Discipline Committee hears matters regarding allegations of professional misconduct and/or incompetence. When it makes a finding of guilt, a summary of its decision and reasons must be published in the College’s newsletter, Connexions, as well as on the College website and CanLii.

Amal Ali

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE ORDER

Revoked Amal Ali’s Certificate of Registration (registration number 27399)

Contribution of $10,000 towards the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

Allegations: Amal Ali (the “Member”) was employed as an Early Childhood Educator at a child care centre (the “Centre”) in Toronto, Ontario. On one occasion, while working at the Centre, the Member physically grabbed and/or took hold of a 19-month-old child in a rough and/or aggressive manner.

Specifically, the Member observed two children fighting. As a result, the Member took hold of one child, held their arms behind their back, and encouraged the second child to hit the child she was restraining.

The incident was reported to the Centre by a parent who observed the incident. The Centre then terminated the member’s employment. The Member did not respond to any correspondences from the College, and chose not to attend the hearing.

Finding: The Member was found guilty of several acts of professional misconduct (Ontario Regulation 223/08), including that she failed to supervise adequately a person who was under her professional supervision; that she verbally abused a child that was under her professional supervision; that she physically abused a child who was under her professional  supervision; that she acted or failed to act in a manner that, having regard to the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional; and that she conducted herself in a manner that is unbecoming a member.

Penalty: The panel directed the College’s Registrar to revoke the Member’s Certificate of Registration, effective immediately. In addition, the Member was required to contribute to the College costs in the amount of $10,000.

In its decision the panel stated, “Both children were victims in that the Member failed to provide a safe and nurturing environment. The children could not stand up for themselves or report her behaviour based on their very young age. This Member has completely failed to act with integrity and lacks a caring, empathetic and fair manner.

To read the full decision, click here.

Katherine Anne Bechard

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE ORDER

Suspend Katherine Anne Bechard’s Certificate of Registration (registration number 50338) for a period of eight (8) months

Terms, Conditions and Limitations on Certificate of Registration that includes passing a course in behaviour guidance and mentorship

Contribution of $1,500 towards the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

Agreed Facts: Katherine Anne Bechard (the “Member”) was employed as an Early Childhood Educator at a school (the “School”) in London, Ontario. On one occasion, while supervising a group of kindergarten students at the School who were removing their outdoor clothes after recess, the Member engaged in unprofessional conduct with a four-year-old child who had been identified as having a developmental delay (the “Child”).

Specifically, while trying to remove the Child’s coat, the Member refused assistance from another ECE, grabbed the Child by the waist, lifted him up off the floor and sat him down so forcefully that the Child hit his head on the wall behind the bench. While sitting the Child on the bench, the Member spoke to him in a harsh/and or aggressive manner. In addition, the Member did not check to see whether the Child was injured, did not comfort the Child and did not report the incident to her supervisors.

On another occasion, the Member was supervising kindergarten students, including the Child from the previous incident, in the playground during recess. The Member again refused offers of assistance from another ECE and teaching staff to assist her with the Child and abruptly grabbed the student, who was lying face down on the ground, by the back of his coat and/or pants. The Member then carried him face-down and parallel to the ground, swung him forcefully to place him on his feet, and/or spoke to the Child in a harsh and/or aggressive manner while handling him roughly.

Finding: The Member was found guilty of several acts of professional misconduct (Ontario Regulation 223/08), including that she verbally abused a child who was under her professional supervision; that she physically abused a child who was under her professional supervision; that she psychologically or emotionally abused a child who was under her professional supervision; that she failed to maintain the standards of the profession; that she acted or failed to act in a manner that, having regard to circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional; and that she conducted herself in a manner that is unbecoming a member.

Penalty: The panel directed the College’s Registrar to suspend the Member’s Certificate of Registration for a period of eight (8) months. The panel also directed the Registrar to impose terms, conditions and limitations on the Member’s Certificate of Registration that include the completion of a course in behaviour guidance at the member’s own expense, and mentorship. In addition, the Member was required to contribute $1,500 to the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

In its decision the panel stated, “Physical abuse of a child is reprehensible. It disgraces the profession and the Member. It also constitutes conduct that is unbecoming a member. The Member acknowledged that she behaved in a manner that is unbecoming a member and that her conduct would reasonably be regarded by members of the profession as disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional.

To read the full decision, click here.

Tara-Leigh Rachel George

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE ORDER

Revoked Tara-Leigh Rachel George’s Certificate of Registration (registration number 52691)

Contribution of $10,000 towards the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

Allegations: In 2016, the College received a public complaint regarding the Member. The complaint was investigated and a panel of the Complaints Committee reviewed the results of the investigation. The panel then issued its Decision and Reasons with respect to the complaint, and directed the Member to appear before the Complaints Committee to receive a verbal caution.

The Decision was sent to the Member via mail. The Member was asked to select from three dates to attend the verbal caution. The Member did not respond by the deadline set out in the cover letter. The College later phoned the Member twice, but was unable to reach her. The College then sent its first follow-up correspondence with an extended deadline. The Member did not respond by the extended deadline.

The College sent a second follow-up correspondence advising the Member of the date that she would be required to attend at the College for her verbal caution. The Member failed to attend the verbal caution and did not respond to any of the College’s communications.

Finding: The Member was found guilty of several acts of professional misconduct (Ontario Regulation 223/08), including that she failed to appear before the Complaints Committee to be cautioned; that she failed to respond adequately or within a reasonable time to a written inquiry from the College; that she acted or failed to act in a manner that, having regard to the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional; that she conducted herself in a manner that is unbecoming a member

Penalty: The panel directed the College’s Registrar to revoke the Member’s Certificate of Registration, effective immediately. In addition, the Member was required to contribute $10,000 toward the College’s costs.

In its decision the panel stated, “There were no mitigating factors in this case. The Members conduct calls the professions ability to self-regulate into question. Counsel urged the Panel to send a strong message to the Member and the public that self-regulation is a privilege and not a right.

To read the full decision, click here.

Christine Elizabeth Sbardella

Suspend Christine Elizabeth Sbardella’s Certificate of Registration (registration number 16759) for a period of five  (5) months, or the period of time required to comply with the terms, conditions and limitations set out, whichever is greater.

Terms, Conditions and Limitations on Certificate of Registration that includes mentorship and treatment with a medical professional

Contribution of $1,000 towards the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

Agreed Facts: Christine Elizabeth Sbardella (the “Member”) was employed as an Early Childhood Educator at a nursery school (the “Centre”) in Ottawa, Ontario. On one occasion, the Centre’s board of directors became aware that the Member had misused the Centre’s corporate credit card, which had been issued to her in her capacity as Executive Director of the Centre. The Centre then commissioned a forensic audit of its financial records.

According to the audit, the Member misused company funds in the range of $110,380: $55,383 was used for personal expenditures and another $54,997 was identified by the auditors as “potential” misuse of funds (due to the nature and amount of the expenses, which included, for example, alcohol and other expenses inconsistent with Centre operations). The Member’s misuse of the corporate credit card spanned several years. The Centre terminated the Member’s employment following the audit.

The mitigating factors in this case included the fact that the Member demonstrated remorse and admitted to the conduct. In addition, the Member had repaid a significant amount of the money to the Centre.The Member had worked in the Centre for 27 years and there was no evidence of any prior issues. Further, the Member had been experiencing some mental health issues which contributed to her conduct.

Finding: The Member was found guilty of several acts of professional misconduct (Ontario Regulation 223/08), including that she failed to maintain the standards of the profession; she acted or failed to act in a manner that, having regard to the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional; that she signed or issued a document she knew or ought to have known contained a false, improper or misleading statement; and that she conducted herself in a manner that is unbecoming a member.

Penalty: The Member was required to appear before a Panel of the Discipline Committee to be reprimanded immediately following the hearing of this matter. The panel directed the College’s Registrar to suspend the Member’s Certificate of Registration for a period of five (5) months, or the period of time required to comply with the terms, conditions and limitations set out, whichever is greater. The terms, conditions and limitations imposed on the Member’s Certificate of Registration include: that the Member must arrange mentorship; that the member must arrange treatment with a medical professional of her choice at the frequency considered necessary by that practitioner for a period of at least five (5) months; that the Member is prohibited from handling money or fees on behalf of her employer for a period of six (6) months following her return to practice; and that the Member is prohibited from using her employer’s corporate credit card for a period of one (1) year following her return to practice. In addition, the member was required to contribute $1,000 toward the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

In its decision the panel stated, “The Members conduct in misusing the credit card and not being honest about it demonstrates that she failed to build a climate of trust, honesty and respect in the workplace. Such conduct would reflect negatively on the profession of early childhood education.

To read the full decision, click here.

Dominika Maria Walczak

DISCIPLINE COMMITTEE ORDER

Suspend Dominika Maria Walczak’s Certificate of Registration (registration number 05370) for a period of five (5) months

Terms, Conditions and Limitations on Certificate of Registration that includes mentorship

Contribution of $1,500 towards the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

Agreed Facts: Dominika Maria Walczak (the “Member”) was employed as an Early Childhood Educator at a child care centre (the “Centre”) in Oakville, Ontario. On one occasion, while the Member and an educational assistant were responsible for supervising a group of preschool children, two children under three years of age left the Centre, unsupervised, during or immediately after a transition from outdoors back into the Centre.

That afternoon, another RECE employed by the Centre saw two children from the Member’s preschool class in front of the Centre, and alerted Centre staff to this fact. The Member did not see the children leave the Centre and was unaware that they were missing until the other RECE staff member reported it. The educational assistant retrieved the two children, who had wandered across the plaza where the Centre was located and onto or across the road in front of the Centre.

Finding: The Member was found guilty of several acts of professional misconduct (Ontario Regulation 223/08), including that she failed to supervise adequately a person who was under her professional supervision; that she failed to maintain the standards of the profession; that she acted or failed to act in a manner that, having regard to the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional; that she failed to comply with the Act and/or the professional misconduct regulation made under the Act; that she contravened a law, which contravention caused a child or children under her professional supervision to be put at or remain at risk; and that she conducted herself in a manner that is unbecoming a member.

Penalty: The Member was required to appear before the Panel for a reprimand. The panel directed the College’s Registrar to suspend the Member’s Certificate of Registration for a period of five (5) months. In addition, terms, conditions and limitations including mentorship were imposed on the Member’s Certificate of Registration, and the member was required to contribute $1,500 toward the College’s prosecution and hearing costs.

In its decision the panel stated, “An oral reprimand provides the Panel with the opportunity to remind the Member of her professional obligations as an early childhood educator.

To read the full decision, click here.

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