August 5, 2020 – School Board’s Directive Requiring Teachers to Remain in School Until 4 p.m. Was Reasonable

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School Board’s Directive Requiring Teachers to Remain in School Until 4 p.m. Was Reasonable

The Portage la Prairie Teachers’ Association v The Portage la Prairie School Division, 2020 MBQB 93

The Union brought an Application for judicial review of an arbitrator’s decision holding that the School Division’s directive requiring teachers to remain in school and available until 4:00 p.m. each day, regardless of whether they have assigned duties after the instructional day, which ends at 3:20 p.m., was reasonable. The Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench dismissed the application for judicial review and held that the directive was reasonable, due in part on the long-standing practice between the parties.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS

Lindsay v Toronto District School Board, 2020 HRTO 496

The Applicant, a Canadian of Scottish descent, claimed that the School Board’s use of the school’s team name (the “Blackscots”), logo and mascot discriminated against him and members of his ethnic group by trivializing his heritage and reinforcing prejudice and harmful stereotype. The Tribunal dismissed the Application holding that the claims rested on bare assertions and speculation and had no reasonable prospect of success.

 

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Matthew Schroeter v Peel District School Board, 2020 CanLII 39827

The Applicant, a casual teaching assistant, alleged that the School Board’s attempt to schedule a meeting and the subsequent termination of his employment constituted a reprisal for having filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour. Prior to his termination, the Applicant was repeatedly asked to attend a meeting with the School Board to discuss performance issues and the harassment allegations.

The Ontario Labour Relations Board determined that the decision to terminate was linked to the Applicant’s refusal to meet with the School Board and was completely unrelated to the Applicant’s decision to file a complaint.

 

PRIVACY

Saskatoon School Division No. 13 (Re), 2020 CanLII 42857 (SK IPC)

The Union requested that 900 of its members (who are teachers) complete an online survey regarding “class load and class composition”.  The School Boards’ Association advised school divisions to instruct its teachers not to complete the online survey as the survey requested students’ personal information. Hundreds of surveys were completed prior to the online survey being disabled and the data collected destroyed.

In his investigation report, the Commissioner determined that the information requested by the survey  qualified as “personal information” as defined by The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  and that there was no authority for the disclosure of students’ personal information for the purpose of the survey. The Commissioner made recommendations for each school division, including providing notification to affected individuals and that school divisions establish policies and procedures consistent with the Act.

 

CIVIL LITIGATION

O’Connell v Williamson, 2020 ONSC 3874

The School Board was found vicariously liable for the teacher’s sexual abuse of one of his former students (while she was still a student at his school). The School Board was also found directly liable to the student as a result of the School Board’s inappropriate response to the abuse.

 

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION INITIATIVES

  • The Ministry of Education has announced new changes to advance equal opportunity for Black, Indigenous and racialized students.
  • The Province has released the Guide for schools and school boards to safely reopen for the 2020/2021 school year.