On Oct. 16, 2019, the Office of the Integrity Commissioner received a formal complaint regarding the actions of Trustee Will Davies. At a Supplementary Meeting of the Board on Nov. 19, 2019, the Integrity Commissioner's Report was presented to the Board of Trustees; it includes a finding that Trustee Davies has not contravened section 6.5 or section 6.65 of the Trustee Code of Conduct (page 49). The Integrity Commissioner's report includes a detailed summary of the procedure, results of her office's independent investigation and findings. The report can be found here.
The Board approved receipt of the Integrity Commissioner's report at the Supplementary Meeting on Nov. 19. This report is for information purposes only, and the Board received the report to ensure it is recorded as such in the minutes. Voting to receive this report does not mean the Board agrees or disagrees with the report. If the report had included recommendations, as a Board, we would have been in a position to act on them. In this case, there were no recommendations so the report was approved for receipt.
As a Board of Trustees, we must not interfere with the Integrity Commissioner's independent process. Although a Code of Conduct contravention was not found, as a Board of Trustees we will continue to uphold the Peel District School Board's values of respect and inclusion.
I can understand how hurt and harm was felt, and how this term could have been perceived as racist. My opinion isn't the relevant part here. How the community feels and interprets this word is what is most relevant.
We need to continue to redress the impact of this matter. Some of this work began at the end of the last school year.
When a Trustee raised this matter in June, Trustee Davies took the opportunity to meet with me, with the assistance of the Integrity Commissioner, to discuss Code of Conduct parameters, and to go over concepts such as cultural fluency, unconscious bias, micro-aggressions and being mindful of one's audience. That meeting took place in early July. In late August, on request of both myself and Trustee Davies, we met again with the Integrity Commissioner to review concepts of the professional role of Trustees in the context of their governing Code of Conduct.
As Trustees, we are responsible for advocating for the students, staff and families that we serve. I echo the Director of Education's statement that acknowledges the impact this situation has caused to all members of the Peel community, including students, families and staff. We will continue to listen to the voices of our community so that we can move forward in our necessary work to achieve inclusion for all through continuous progress on equity.
I commit to working alongside my Trustee colleagues, staff, students, families and the community to strengthen our commitment to addressing anti-Black racism and all forms of discrimination. Our Board remains committed to championing equity and inclusion, and to creating spaces where all students, staff, families and community members feel safe, welcome and included.
The Peel District School Board Trustee Code of Conduct (page 49) governs the conduct of Trustees and provides transparency, accountability and public confidence in its governance of the Board. As outlined in the Complaint Protocol for the Trustee Code of Conduct, the Integrity Commissioner, who is independent and not a board employee, is responsible for receiving complaints from individuals who believe a Trustee has violated the Trustee Code of Conduct and following the process outlined in the Protocol.
Full Integrity Commissioner Report