Integrity Commissioner - Peel School District Board

Posted on:
September 22, 2021

This is an opportunity for an ethical and independent lawyer with demonstrated experience in and knowledge of Code of Conduct issues, Human Rights Principles and the application of Code of Conduct policy, the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code with its impact on equity and inclusion, who will act to ensure a large, complex school board’s compliance with best practice on issues of integrity and good governance, especially with respect to the Code of Conduct for Trustees. The Integrity Commissioner must personify high ethical standards and have demonstrated impartiality in dealing with sensitive issues in a way that earns trust and respect from all parties. If you are interested in supporting the Peel District School Board in its efforts to comply with its Code of Conduct and establish and maintain good governance practice, this is a role which will interest you!The Peel District School Board is dedicated to the achievement and well-being of each student. Every day, staff members are privileged to serve approximately 157, 000 students in 250 schools throughout Peel District School Board, and families of communities as richly diverse and inspiring as any in the world. The Peel District School Board is seeking an Integrity Commissioner, working on a contract basis, who will be responsible for dealing with all code of conduct complaints arising against Trustees of the Board including those involving Human Rights issues. The Integrity Commissioner will help educate Trustees with respect to best practice in good governance, with emphasis on understanding how to conform with Code of Conduct expectations.The advice of the Integrity Commissioner must be provided on an as needed and timely basis. We invite applications from individuals or firms who can provide this service in this way. Reporting to the Board of Trustees, but acting independently, the Integrity Commissioner shall investigate, as required, any issue relating to the ethical responsibilities of the elected members of the Board of Trustees, including questions of violation of the Board’s Code of Conduct, any relevant Provincial or Municipal legislation or Board policies and procedures. When appropriate, the Integrity Commissioner shall initiate an inquiry, and will take further action as required. More generally, the Integrity Commissioner will provide dispute resolution and perform other duties related to ethical matters, as requested/needed by the Board. As well, the Integrity Commissioner will provide advice and direction pertaining to issues of governance, parliamentary procedures and ethical decision making.Using expertise and proven experience in code of conduct complaints which involve Human Rights issues, complaint resolution and restorative justice, the Integrity Commissioner will play a vital role in supporting the PDSB by providing advice, education and complaint resolution in an independent manner with regards to the ethical responsibilities of the elected members of the Board of Trustees. This role will be especially crucial to the successful functioning of the Board of Trustees given they are currently not sitting as a Board and are operating under supervision. The return of the Board to full governance as elected officials may require specific support from the Integrity Commissioner.In addition to responding to specific complaints, the Integrity Commissioner will undertake a program of education for Trustees including offering seminars including, but not limited to best practices in School Board governance, the Ontario Education Act as it pertains to the role of Trustees, Human Rights, equity and diversity, education law, governance and professional ethics.The Integrity Commissioner will prepare an annual report to the Board with respect to the advice and education provided and inquiries undertaken in the previous year and advise on any developments and recommendations of significance related to the role.The successful provider of these services must be deeply committed to anti-oppression and to dismantling racism and be prepared to contribute to the fulfillment of the mandate set out within The Ministry of Education’s Report on the Peel District School Board released March 13, 2020. That report strongly criticized the behaviour and impact of the Board of Trustees and citied areas such as disrespectful and accusatory behaviour between and among Trustees and at public meetings, breaches of confidentiality regarding Board matters and inappropriate behaviour of Trustees towards Board staff. The Integrity Commissioner will be a helpful advisor in addressing these issues and helping the Board restore public confidence.The Ministry report observed that individual trustees did not have a reasonable understanding of the principles of good governance, suggesting that some trustees did not know how their Code of Conduct responsibilities intersect with their Human Rights duties and the expansive application of the PDSB’s Policy on Human Rights. The report saw a need for a comprehensive orientation for newly elected trustees plus ongoing professional development and governance advice and support for the whole Board.In particular, applicants or this role will be expected to work from an analytic framework encompassing principles of intersectional equity, human rights and combatting anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and hate. The Integrity Commissioner will enhance the Peel DSB’s capacity to foster a culture of Human Rights and support the establishment and maintenance of respectful governance environments.Applicants must be able to practise law in the Province of Ontario and possess relevant experience and qualifications related to workplace investigations, Human Rights, education law, governance and professional ethics. They must demonstrate proven impartiality, comparable to that of an adjudicator, judge, or other independent officer in public service. Above all, the successful applicant will demonstrate independence and will personify high ethical standards. The Integrity Commissioner will possess experience in managing sensitive inquiries, conducting investigations leading to appropriate recommendations provided in a report to the Board of Trustees.Accordingly, the individual must possess excellent oral and written communications skills, and must also be familiar with investigatory procedures and applicable legal principles, particularly as they relate to evidence, legal interpretation and the rules of natural justice. Also essential is a practical knowledge of the education and school board systems, the Education Act and other applicable regulations, as well as the ability to interpret and apply the provisions of various statutes regulations, policies and other enabling documents. Finally, the Integrity Commissioner must have a proven ability to conduct research and detailed investigations. Furthermore, the individual must be able to interpret and apply the provision of various statutes, regulations, policies and other enabling documents as part of carrying out an investigation.At least five years of senior level legal, tribunal or judicial experience is required. Experience with School Boards or government agencies is an asset.To be considered for this position, please send a proposal by November 30, 2020 to: Frank Markel, JMG/LBCG Consulting for Impact, fmmphd@gmail.comIn your proposal, please provide a cover letter which explains your relevant experience, a list of your former and current clients for whom you provide this kind of service, your fee structure, including hourly and daily rates, the range of services you will provide, an explanation of how you will provide timely service and resumes of all individuals with whom you will work to provide this service. In addition, please provide two referees to whom we may speak about your work. Please specify “PDSB Integrity Commissioner” in the subject line of your email.

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