June 7th, 2022
The Waterloo Region District School Board held a Special Board meeting on June 6, 2022, to deal with a Trustee Code of Conduct Complaint. Earlier in the evening, Trustees met in closed session to deal with a confidential report from its Integrity Commissioner with respect to a complaint filed in late February 2022. The complaint alleged that Trustee Mike Ramsay had breached the Trustee Code of Conduct.
The Education Act authorizes school boards to adopt a code of conduct for trustees that provides a mechanism for boards to hold trustees accountable through enforcing their code of conduct at the local level.
The WRDSB Code of Conduct process was followed and the Board engaged the services of an Integrity Commissioner to conduct an investigation. The Integrity Commissioner conducted a formal review which included interviewing the complainant, Trustee Ramsay, and other Trustees and also reviewed relevant documents.
The confidential report of the Integrity Commissioner is a finding of facts and does not make any recommendations. Per Board Policy G201, the Board of Trustees are responsible to determine whether the Code of Conduct has been breached and, if so, whether any of the sanctions available to Trustees will be imposed. The Board of Trustees meeting which reviewed the report was held in private session arising from the requirements of the Education Act. As the report was a part of the private in-camera session, it cannot be shared publicly as per the Act. The Education Act also requires that all resolutions involving determination of a breach of the Code of Conduct and any sanction imposed by the board is to be held in public session.
During the public session, Trustees voted 6-3 (the required 2/3 majority) in support of the motion indicating that Trustee Ramsay had breached the Code of Conduct. The following sanctions were applied as a consequence of the breach:
- A ban on attending Committee-of-the-Whole Meetings until September 30, 2022.
- A ban from attending the Board meeting scheduled for Monday, June 27, 2022.
- A ban from attending in-camera meetings and from receiving in-camera materials until September 30, 2022.
“As public officials, school board trustees are duty bound to be accountable to the public and the WRDSB Code of Conduct is our tool to ensure public accountability,” Scott Piatkowski, Chair, WRDSB Board of Trustees.