Education Law Newsletter



Our education law newsletter is a monthly publication outlining recent decisions and articles that can impact the workplace of educational institutions.

The articles listed below are intended to provide readers with general information. They should not be regarded or relied upon as legal advice or opinion.


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June 30, 2020 – School Board’s Decision to Demote Principal is Quashed on Judicial Review

June 30, 2020

School Board’s Decision to Demote Principal is Quashed on Judicial Review Oberg v Saskatchewan (Board of Education of the South East Cornerstone School Division No. 209), 2020 SKQB 96 A School Principal applied for judicial review of the decision of the School Board by which he was removed from his position as a School Principal because of conflict of interest and conduct unbecoming of a School Principal. The Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan quashed the decision to demote the principal, holding that the School Board breached its duty of procedural fairness toward the employee. The School Board demoted a school…

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March 3, 2020 – Union’s Advice to Teachers did Not Amount to Unlawful Strike

March 3, 2020

Union’s Advice to Teachers did Not Amount to Unlawful Strike Halton District School Board v Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, 2020 CanLII 5702 The School Board’s grievance alleged that the Union, in advising teachers not to participate in mandatory Behaviour Management Systems training, amounted to an unlawful strike. The arbitrator dismissed the grievance and determined that the Union’s advice to its members did not amount to calling, causing, authorizing, counseling, procuring, supporting, encouraging or threatening to call an unlawful strike.   CIVIL LITIGATION AH v Alberta (Minister of Education), 2020 ABCA 54 The Plaintiffs’ action against the Ministry of Education of Alberta…

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January 30, 2020 – Smudging Ceremony in School Not Found to be a Charter Infringement

January 30, 2020

Smudging Ceremony in School Not Found to be a Charter Infringement Servatius v Alberni School District No. 70, 2020 BCSC 15 The Court determined the School Board did not infringe on the religious freedoms of the Applicant and her two children (who were students of the School Board). The Applicant alleged that the smudging ceremony conducted by an Indigenous Elder at the school interfered with the religious freedoms of herself and her two children.   CIVIL LITIGATION Makela v Horizon School Division No 67, 2019 ABQB 974 The Plaintiff’s Action for damages for wrongful dismissal against his former employer, the School Board,…

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November 28, 2019 – Student’s expulsion for alleged sexual assault quashed on appeal

November 28, 2019

TS v Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, 2019 CFSRB 61 The School Board’s decision to expel the Appellant, a student who allegedly committed sexual assault on another student at school, was quashed on appeal by the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB). The CFSRB determined that the School Board had not established that the student was sexually assaulted by the Appellant and found that there was no basis to expel the student.   CRIMINAL LAW R v McAnally, 2019 ONSC 6028 A teacher charged with electronic transmission of child pornography, sexual touching and sexual assault involving students is found not guilty.  …

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October 31, 2019 – Arbitrator upholds without pay suspension of teacher who remained silent when faced with allegations of inappropriate conduct with students

October 31, 2019

Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association v Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board, 2019 CanLII 95001 (ON LA) An arbitrator upheld the three-month suspension without pay of a teacher who refused to answer questions during an investigation pertaining to his inappropriate conduct with two students. The teacher chose to exercise his right to remain silent in response to his employer’s inquiries in light of the fact that he was potentially facing criminal charges.   LABOUR RELATIONS Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario v Bluewater District School Board, 2019 CanLII 90975 (ON LA) An arbitrator upheld the School Board’s position that its kindergarten class…

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September 19, 2019 – OLRB determines that bargaining issues raised by OSSTF are to be bargained centrally

September 19, 2019

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation v. The Crown in Right of Ontario, et al. (September 6, 2019 – OLRB) OSSTF filed two applications before the OLRB under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 (SBCBA) with respect to secondary school teachers in the English language public school system and support staff in the various school systems represented by OSSTF. Both applications were for the OLRB to determine whether certain matters fell within the scope of central or local bargaining under the SBCBA. The specific matters related to such items as class size provisions for teachers, preparation time for Early Childhood Educators, new forms…

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August 13, 2019 – Arbitrator upholds teacher’s termination for inappropriate relationships with students

August 13, 2019

Sudbury Catholic District School Board and OECTA, Re, 2019 CarswellOnt 4511 The grievor, an automotive technology teacher with three (3) years of service, was terminated for inappropriate relationships with two female students. The inappropriate behaviour included discussions about a sexually transmitted disease, helping one of the students get a tattoo, paying for part of it and driving her home thereafter. The grievor also gave one of the students money to purchase a sex toy, sent frequent and inappropriate text messages and had the two students sign a contract that they were not having sex. The Arbitrator, in upholding the termination of the…

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May 17, 2019 – School board’s expulsion of Grade 2 student upheld

May 17, 2019

LK v Upper Grand District Board (EA 311.7), 2019 CFSRB 2 LK, a grade 2 student who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, was expelled from his school following several incidents. The incidents were of increased dysregulation and behavioural issues and culminated in a physical assault on an education assistant (EA) causing bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner. The EA suffered bruises, contusions and a concussion, and was subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. LK’s parents appealed the school board’s expulsion decision to the Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRB). The CFSRB found the conduct at issue constituted…

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April 12, 2019 – Court dismisses challenge to Ontario’s Sex Education Curriculum

April 12, 2019

ETFO et al v Her Majesty the Queen, 2019 ONSC 1308 The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association challenged the constitutionality of a government’s directive, which required elementary school teachers to follow the sex education curriculum in place from 2010 to 2015, instead of the curriculum introduced in 2015. The 2015 Curriculum referenced subjects such as consent, gender identity and sexual orientation. The Court dismissed the applications, stating that it is the role of elected officials, not the courts, to enact legislation and make policy decisions. The Court also noted that the 2010 Curriculum does not…

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March 1, 2019 – Supreme Court of Canada finds students had a reasonable expectation of privacy

March 1, 2019

R v Jarvis, 2019 SCC 10 The Supreme Court of Canada held that a teacher was guilty of voyeurism under the Criminal Code when he used a camera pen to surreptitiously record videos of female students’ upper bodies and breasts while they were engaged in ordinary school-related activities in common areas of the school. The Court found that being in a public or semi-public space did not automatically negate all expectations of privacy with respect to observation or recording. The students had a reasonable expectation of privacy.   LABOUR RELATIONS Huron Superior Catholic District School Board v CUPE, 2019 CanLII 8604 The parties entered…

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