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Minister's Directions to the YRDSB
Minister's Directions to the YRDSB

On April 11, 2017, the Minister of Education provided a list of directives to YRDSB in response to the report provided by Patrick Case and Suzanne Herbert. Below is a status update of the progress on the Minister's ​directives.


 

​Direction ​Timing and Deliverable ​Progress

1. That the Board improve support and recovery strategies for students and staff who have felt the impacts of the equity issues in the board, particularly racism and other forms of discrimination, whether systemic or unique. As an immediate measure the Board will:

  • encourage all staff, including those on a leave of absence, to make use of the Employee Assistance Program, as required, and immediately notify its EAP provider of such; and 
  • ensure the EAP provider makes available counsellors with expertise in counselling those who have experienced racism and other forms of discrimination.

In 24 hours: Submit confirmation of initial steps taken and notification of EAP provider.

By April 28: Submit a report from EAP provider that provides data reflecting the uptake of the services since the public release of the report.

By May 9: Submit a plan that outlines long-term student and staff support and recovery strategies that will be put in place.

An email was sent on April 12, 2017 encouraging all staff, including those on a leave of absence, to make use of the Employee Assistance Program. This action was communicated to the Minister of Education on April 12, 2017.

A report from the Employee Assistance Program service provider was received by the Board on April 27 and sent to the Minister of Education on April 28 in confidence according to the Municipal Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act.  

At the June 6, 2017 Board meeting a revised report​ regarding support and recovery strategies for students and staff members who have felt the impacts of equity issues in the Board was approved and sent to the Minister by June 13.

2. That the Board collectively and urgently undertake meaningful training in relation to their responsibilities as governors, including human rights and equity training. This training is to be provided by a party external to the school board.

Further, that the Board provide a plan to implement this direction which includes the dates, specific topics and names of the external training provider(s), and that provides for learning to acquire a full understanding of the individual and collective responsibilities of the Board, and of effective practices to fulfill those responsibilities.

That the submitted plan contain a commitment on the part of each member of the Board to complete the training as confirmed by each Board member's signature to the plan.

By April 28: Submit plan.

3 months: Submit report confirming completion of training.

At the July 10, 2017 Special Board Meeting, a report ​indicating the completion of training was approved and sent to the Minister by July 11. 


3. That the Board ensure that the Director and senior administration undertake governance training to better understand and fulfill their responsibility to provide elected leadership with pertinent information in accordance with relevant legislation.

By April 28: Submit plan.

3 months: Submit report confirming completion of training.

At the July 10, 2017 Special Board Meeting, a rep​ort ​indicating the completion of training was approved and sent to the Minister by July 11. 
4. That the Board immediately develop a strategic and intentional plan to re-build trust with communities in the board, and that the plan include re-engagement on the part of the Board. By April 28: Submit plan. At the June 6, 2017 Special Board Meeting, a revised plan to rebuild trust with communities, which includes a plan of re-engagement was approved and sent to the Minister of Education by June 13.

5. That the Board immediately suspend international travel for the Board, the Director of Education and senior administration, and that the Board revise its "jurisdictional learning" policy to include the following:

  • all proposals for jurisdictional travel for the Board, the Director of Education and senior administration be discussed at a public Board meeting as part of a regular, standing agenda item;
  • the purpose for the travel be clearly linked to the school board's priorities as articulated in the multi-year strategic plan and/or the Board Improvement Plan for Student Achievement (BIPSA);
  • clear accountability for decision-making and approvals; and
  • any costs associated with the travel be reimbursed only after a report on the trip is posted on the school board's public website and presented at a public Board meeting.

Immediately: Submit confirmation that international travel has been suspended.

6 months: Submit revised Board-approved policy.

At the October 3, 2017 the Board approved received a report and approved the following recommendations: 

1) Approval of Policy #228: Jurisdictional Learning

2) That the board receive a report on all international travel by trustees and senior team (nil report - no jurisdictional learning has occurred in the last quarter).

6. That the Board establish a robust Human Rights Office, properly staffed and resourced, that is responsible for human rights compliance, and processes and procedures to receive and respond to/investigate complaints of harassment and discrimination​ reported by staff, students and parents. The Human Rights Office will, on a permanent basis, report directly to the Director of Education. Further:

  • The office staff must include a director who has demonstrated expertise in human rights law and practice, with responsibility for developing and overseeing a new human rights and workplace harassment complaints policy and procedure.
  • The office will take the lead in developing and implementing the board's employment equity strategies.
  • The office will review staffing in French immersion schools.
  • The office will report their data regarding complaints made to their office and progress on the employment equity plan to support the Board's equity related advisory committees.
  • The office will take the lead on board compliance with the provisions of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and mandatory training for staff on the AODA and for institutional responsibilities arising from the Ontario government's strategies to end sexual violence and harassment.
  • The office will undertake an audit of the board's compliance with the AODA and provide mandatory training for all staff on AODA.
  • The Board must immediately establish a process for receiving and investigating complaints of racism or any other prohibited ground(s) of discrimination that reassures the Minister that it addresses the concerns identified in the Report.

By May 9: Submit report on the process established to receive and respond to/investigate complaints.

2 months: Submit plan for the implementation of this direction.

6 months: Submit report reflecting completion of all elements of this direction.

At the October 3, 2017, Board Meeting the Board of Trustees received a report with an update on the already established Human Rights Office. This office will receive and respond to/investigate complaints of harassment and discrimination reported by staff, students and parents.

7. That, separate and distinct from the Human Rights Office, the Board establish a senior administration position that includes the following responsibilities and reporting structures, and that the Board approve the equity plan described in (a) below:

  • the development, coordination, implementation, and maintenance of an equity audit and equity plan that supports the board's plan for student achievement and well-being, such plan to include strategic and ongoing professional development, including mandatory training on equity, human rights, and anti-oppression for all staff in the board;
  • provide leadership and direction for policies and practices which support educational achievement for students who face barriers to school success;
  • support the Board's equity related advisory committees by ensuring that data and other resources are provided to support their deliberations;
  • supervise a team of Teacher Liaisons who provide support for equity and inclusiveness in schools;
  • provide support for school leaders;
  • coordinate the Every Student Counts survey;
  • consult with the senior administration to determine their equity learning needs and be responsible for the practice of equity as it relates to the board's instructional priorities;
  • liaise, connect and engage with diverse communities of the board; and
  • report directly to the Director of Education.

By May 9: Submit report confirming the senior administration position responsible for equity has been established.

6 months: Submit equity plan.

At the May 8, 2017 Special Board meeting the Board of Trustees confirmed the establishment of a senior position responsible for equity. This position is the Coordinating Superintendent of Education, Equity and Community Services. 

At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees approved an equity plan to submit to the Minister by October 11. 

8. That the Board immediately establish an office of an Integrity Commissioner and retain an independent consultant to support such establishment. The mandate of the office will be as follows:

  • establish a credible Code of Conduct that includes not just a complaint process but that is anchored in good governance, ethical and equity principles;
  • address complaints by trustees against one another, under the Code of Conduct;
  • address complaints by the public against trustees;
  • provide confidential advice to trustees on ethical matters whether arising with the board or with their dealings in the community;
  • embed learning and training about ethics into trustee orientation and continuing education.

By May 9: Submit a progress report on retaining a consultant.

2 months: Submit report confirming that a consultant has been retained.

4 months: Submit report confirming that an Integrity Commissioner has been appointed

​At the June 6, 2017 Board meeting the Board of Trustees approved a report to retain a consultant to support the establishment of an office of an Integrity Commissioner and an update to the detailed work plan with estimated timelines.

 

At the July 10, 2017, Board Meeting the Board of Trustees approved a report to retain a consultant to support the establishment of an office of an Integrity Commissioner.

9. That the Board immediately undertake a robust, transparent appraisal to assess the Director's performance that involves a 360 assessment conducted by an external human resources management professional. The 360 is to include confidential feedback, at minimum, from each member of the senior leadership team, each trustee, chairs of the board's EIAC, SEAC, and PEAC, and representatives of the employee unions, federations, and associations.

Consistent with good governance practice, the results of this performance appraisal should inform the Board's decision-making on whether the Director has met his legislated and contractual duties, and what further steps, if any, should follow including with respect to the Director's contract of employment.

This direction does not preclude the Board of Trustees taking other actions as considered appropriate.

No later than May 31: Submit a copy of the completed performance appraisal to the Minister.
10. That the Board re-establish a work plan for the Every Student Counts survey, consulting with the Ministry.

2 months: Submit work plan.

By end of 2017-18 school year: Submit report confirming that the survey has been completed

At the June 6, 2017 Board meeting the Board of Trustees approved a report​ with a detailed work plan to conduct the Every Student Counts Survey.
11. That the Board, the Director, and senior administration undertake comprehensive training on data collection in the context of upholding and furthering human rights, and that such training be provided by an appropriately qualified external organization, and that periodically, over the course of three years, the Ontario Human Rights Commission be asked to monitor the progress of data collection and its use to further equity within the board.

2 months: Submit plan.

6 months: Submit report confirming that training has been completed

At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting the Board of Trustees approved a report​ with an update on the plan for the Director and senior administration to undertake comprehensive training on data collection in the context of upholding and furthering human rights.
12. That the Board ensure that human rights compliance training be provided for the Director, senior administration, all principals, and all staff that have the responsibility for overseeing complaint processes and those who, in the course of their work, engage with such processes.

2 months: Submit plan.

10 months: Submit report confirming that training has been completed

At the June 6, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees received a rep​ort​​​ with a training plan for the Director, senior administration, all principals, and all staff that have responsibility for overseeing complaint processes and those who, in the course of their work, engage with such processes.    ​
13. That the Board develop a policy and practice which supports the development of inclusive and respectful relationships between the Board and advisory committees to facilitate meaningful input into board matters.

3 months: Submit progress report.

6 months: Submit Board-approved policy, and supporting practice.

​At the October 3 2017, Board meeting, the Board of Trustees received and approved a report regarding relationships between the Board and its advisory committees. 
14. That the Board allocate appropriate resources and ensure that the Director develops a coherent and strategic leadership plan that supports transparent and equitable processes for staff development, promotion, and placements. 3 months: Submit plan. ​At the July 10, 2017 Special Board Meeting, a rep​ort ​indicating the completion of the Strategic Leadership Plan was approved and sent to the Minister by July 11. 
15. That the Board actively promote positive and inclusive space for all staff and students regardless of race, nationality or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.

3 months: Submit plan.

6 months: Submit report on the actions taken by the board to implement this direction and on the outcomes to date.

​​​At the October 3, 2017 Special Board Meeting, a report with an update regarding the actions taken to promote positive and inclusive spaces for staff and students.  
16. That the Board create a policy for the recruitment and appraisal of the Director of Education position using an advisory committee composed of Board and non-Board members, including staff, members of board advisory committees and members of the broader community. 6 months: Submit Board-approved policy.

At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees approved policies regarding the recruitment and appraisal of the Director of Education.  

17. That the Board review the role of its Board and Trustee Services department and ensure that it is staffed with a staff member who has the necessary experience and be given the needed independence to ensure the office functions effectively. 6 months: Complete staffing of the department. Submit organizational chart. ​At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees received a staffing report.
18. That the Board and Director create a tool to monitor the performance of the board that reflects the progress in implementing the strategic plan and meeting the Board of Trustees' legislated responsibilities. 6 months: Submit copy of reporting mechanism. At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a report for the monitoring of the Multi-Year Strategic Plan. 
19. That the Board undertake regular self-assessments through a process that includes Board members and the community, and is in keeping with effective governance practices. 6 months: Submit Board-approved plan. ​At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a report for the Board self-assessment.
20. That the Board ensure the resumption of performance appraisals for its supervisory officers, and ensure that equity is a mandatory part of the performance appraisal, both for performance and professional learning goals. 6 months: Submit report providing the professional learning goals, performance goals, and performance measures for all supervisory officer positions. ​At the October 3, 2017 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a report​ for the supervisory officer performance appraisal. 

21. That the Board re-examine and revise its BIPSA so that it aligns with the Ministry focus on the well-being of every student, especially those who are most vulnerable, including Indigenous students, racialized students, children and youth in care, and students with special education needs.

That data from the Every Student Counts survey and other sources of demographic data be used to inform the board's understanding and its strategies in relation to student well-being.

That the board undertake a review of EQAO data in the context of the survey results and other data and establish clear and measurable equity goals in the BIPSA to identify, remove, and prevent systemic barriers.

10 months: Submit revised BIPSA.
22. That the board develop a comprehensive employment equity plan and, in close collaboration with its employee groups, conduct an employment equity plan, an employment equity survey and an employment systems review including, but not limited to, an examination of hiring, promotion and retention of equity seeking groups in all employment categories and programs. This review will include the identification and a plan to prevent and remove barriers to inclusion for racialized people, women, persons with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ, and Indigenous people. 12 months: Submit report on the implementation of this direction
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