In a recent decision, the British Columbia Supreme Court held that a teacher appealing a disciplinary decision of the British Columbia College of Teachers must use his full name and cannot use only his initials to shield his identity.
The teacher had acted inappropriately toward some students. A disciplinary panel of the College of Teachers imposed a reprimand. The panel also recommended, and the College accepted, that the teacher’s full name be published in the mandatory case summary of the matter.
The teacher, who intended to apply for judicial review of the College’s decision, applied to the Court for orders banning publication of his name in the College’s case summary and in the intended Court proceeding.
The Court allowed the application to ban publication of the teacher’s name in the College’s case summary on the basis that there was no risk of harm to students or repetition of the misconduct. Further, the Court concluded there was no risk of the school system being brought into disrepute in the eyes of the community if the teacher’s full name was not published.
However, with respect to the intended Court proceedings, the Court determined that a publication ban was not necessary to prevent a risk to the proper administration of justice. While the publication of the teacher’s full name would cause personal distress and professional difficulty, the plaintiff’s predicament was insufficient to outweigh the constitutional right of freedom of expression and the strong presumption in favour of open court proceedings.