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. Carolyn Burjoski v. Waterloo Region District School Board

In Carolyn Burjoski v. Waterloo Region District School Board (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court considers a JR against a school board decision to stop a "presentation to a Committee of the Whole Meeting".

These quotes consider the applicant's procedural fairness argument:
Was there a breach of procedural fairness?

35. Burjoski also argues that there is no doubt that the WRDSB owed her a duty of procedural fairness because it made a decision that “affects the rights, privileges, or interests” of individuals is enough to trigger the duty of fairness. She maintains that she was denied such procedural fairness (see: Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship & Immigration), 1999 CanLII 699 (SCC), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817).

36. If any procedural fairness was owed to Burjoski, it was on the low end of the spectrum and it was not breached. The impact of the decision on Burjoski was relatively minimal. She was given an opportunity to speak about the library review process itself, as she requested to do in her request for delegation. It was only when she began to speak of topics irrelevant to those outlined in her request for a delegation that her presentation was interrupted with a warning. When she continued expressing her opinion about the content of books, and not the library review process, she was stopped by the Chair. In these circumstances and in this context, I consider that the restriction on her freedom of expression was minimal.

37. Like every administrative body, a school board such as WRDSB is “the master of its own procedure and need not assume the trappings of a court.” Important weight must be given to the choice of procedures made by the agency itself and its institutional constraints.

38. The WRDSB followed its own procedures in coming to a resolution to end Burjoski’s presentation. Although the Bylaws do not specify how the board may stop a delegation, even where a mode of procedure is not prescribed by statute, any reasonable mode not expressly forbidden by law may be adopted (see: Knight v. Indian Head School Division No 19, 1990 CanLII 138 (SCC), [1990] 1 S.C.R. 653). The Chair did provide brief reasons when he referenced the delegation procedure and his concern that Burjoski’s comments may have violated the Human Rights Code.

39. I consider that the process that was afforded to Burjowski was not unfair. She was given more than one opportunity to deliver her delegation on the topic approved in advance, but declined to do so even after she was reminded of its scope. I therefore would not give effect to this ground of review.


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Last modified: 01-12-23
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