Ontario teacher Chanel Pfahl retains her teaching certificate

The Democracy Fund lawyers successfully defend Chanel Pfahl in a complaint filed with the Ontario College of Teachers.

TORONTO: The Democracy Fund (TDF) achieved a successful outcome for Chanel Pfahl. In March 2022, Ms. Pfahl was advised by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) that she was under investigation for comments she made in an online forum of a private Facebook group.

The comments consisted of posts opposing the teaching of critical race theory in school and a YouTube video of a speech by Kemi Badenoch – a racialized British Parliamentarian who also opposed the teaching of critical race theory.

TDF represented Ms. Pfahl throughout the process, advancing the position that Ms. Pfahl's comments should not attract regulatory scrutiny and that she was within her rights to make such comments. The OCT has now concluded its investigation without a finding of guilt, choosing instead to administer a brief oral caution.

Accordingly, Ms. Pfahl has retained her teaching certificate and is free to practice her profession.

"We are, of course, pleased with the outcome since it allows our client to return to teaching with no disciplinary issues. We have maintained, and continue to maintain, that public comments by professionals about their profession should not typically attract scrutiny from a regulator. Often people in the nursing, psychiatric, teaching, legal or medical professions are the best situated to comment on matters of public interest relevant to their professions: the threat of disciplinary sanction will suppress their speech and deprive the public of their insights. And that is bad for a liberal democracy," says TDF Senior Litigator Mark Joseph.

Ms. Pfahl: "Being a voice of reasonable dissent should not result in punishment by a regulator. Although the investigation was a lengthy and unnecessary ordeal, I am very pleased with the result. Freedom of expression prevailed, and I owe much gratitude to my two wonderful lawyers at TDF for defending me."

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About The Democracy Fund:

Founded in 2021, The Democracy Fund (TDF) is a Canadian charity dedicated to constitutional rights, advancing education and relieving poverty. TDF promotes constitutional rights through litigation and public education. TDF supports an access to justice initiative for Canadians whose civil liberties have been infringed by government lockdowns and other public policy responses to the pandemic.