Peel District School Board Review


On June 22, 2020, The Minister of Education appointed Bruce Rodrigues to supervise the Peel District School Board.

The Supervisor

Bruce RodriguesBiography

Bruce Rodrigues is currently the Chancellor of the University of St. Jerome's at the University of Waterloo. He is the former Deputy Minister of Education and Early Years and Child Care in the Province of Ontario.

Before joining the ministry, he was the CEO of Ontario's Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) where he led a new strategic plan for the organization and worked to modernize the provincial assessment program.

Mr. Rodrigues has held several senior leadership roles including as Director of Education of the Toronto Catholic District School Board and Associate Director of Education of the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

Mr. Rodrigues is also a seasoned educator of over 33 years. He was a secondary school teacher, where he taught Math, English and the Social Sciences. He also held positions of vice-principal, principal and superintendent before becoming director.

Mr. Rodrigues outstanding track record in Ontario's publicly funded education system and his commitment and passion for putting students at heart of his work reflects his deep devotion to student success that has been the hallmark of his career. He has a long history of involvement with issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion. Mr. Rodrigues also has a strong demonstrated commitment to issues of peace and justice. He was responsible for the creation of the Equity Secretariat at the Ministry while Deputy Minister.

On April 28, 2020 the Minister of Education appointed Arleen Huggins to conduct an investigation of the Peel District School Board to examine the PDSB's capacity to comply with the Minister's binding Directions issued on March 13, 2020.

Ms. Huggins submitted her report and findings to the Minister of Education on May 18, 2020. (PDF, 282 Kb)

The Minister's concerns with the PDSB's capacity to comply with binding Directions and lead the transformation to address systemic barriers has led to the supervision of the PDSB.

The Investigator

Arleen HugginsBiography

Ms. Huggins is a practicing lawyer with thirty years of experience in employment law, human rights law, workplace harassment and discrimination investigations and commercial litigation. She is a former President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and a Former Chair of both the Canadian Bar Association Standing Committee on Equity and the Ontario Bar Association Equal Opportunity Committee. Ms. Huggins was also on the founding Board of the African Canadian Legal Clinic and has served on the Doctors Without Borders Human Resources Committee and the federal Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC) for the GTA.

Further Reading:

The Ontario government is committed to creating learning and working environments where all students and staff feel welcomed, included and respected. The PDSB is the second largest school district in Ontario, serving a diverse student population across Brampton, Caledon, and Mississauga and the surrounding areas west of Toronto. The board consists of 217 elementary schools and 42 secondary schools that service over 155,000 students.

On November 27, 2019, the Minister of Education announced a formal review of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to address concerns about systemic discrimination, specifically, anti-Black racism, and serious issues related to governance, leadership and human resources practices in the board.

Based on the Reviewers' Report and Recommendations, the Minister issued 27 binding Directions to the PDSB on March 13, 2020.

The Review

The Review process was supported by the Ministry of Education's Education Equity Secretariat, headed by Patrick Case, Assistant Deputy Minister.

Their Report was informed by interviews, community consultations, and written submissions from the PDSB community.

Three Reviewers with expertise in these areas were appointed to conduct the independent formal review:

The Review Team:

The Reviewers compiled and analyzed feedback gathered from the community and PDSB staff to draft a report with recommendations on how the board can ensure effective board governance that promotes equity, increases accountability and transparency, and safeguards the success and well-being of all students.

This review was a critical step towards assuring students, parents, and staff in the PDSB community that schools and school boards are expected to respect and uphold principles of equity and human rights. The Reviewers have endeavored to provide recommendations that will provide voice, support, and a way forward for all students, staff, trustees, families and members of the PDSB community.

Meet the Review Team

Ena ChadhaEna Chadha – Ena Chadha is an experienced human rights lawyer, investigator, educator and mediator. A proud member of the South Asian community of Brampton, she has dedicated her career to working with leaders in the areas of equality rights and conflict resolution. Currently, she is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. Ena served as Vice-Chair with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario from 2007 to 2015 as a Mediator and an Adjudicator, where she rendered noteworthy decisions in the area of racial discrimination, sexual harassment and disability accommodation.

Previously, Ena was Director of Litigation with ARCH: Disability Law Centre and worked as counsel with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. She has litigated before various court levels, including prominent Constitutional challenges before the Supreme Court of Canada, advancing Charter rights in the areas of workers compensation, immigration law and government services. Ena, a graduate of the Peel DSB, has a Journalism degree from Ryerson, and received her Masters degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. Ena taught Administrative law at Osgoode Hall Law School, and serves as sessional lecturer at the Schulich School of Business (York University). Ena has spoken and published extensively on gender, race, disability and harassment.

Suzanne HerbertSuzanne Herbert – Sue Herbert has had a long career in public service and was a Deputy Minister in the Ontario Government from 1997-08, retiring after serving as Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the Ministry of Education, where she represented Canada for several years at the OECD Education Directorate, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Prior to becoming a Deputy Minister, she was the CEO of the Ontario Housing Corporation and held Assistant Deputy Minister positions.

Since retiring, Sue has undertaken a number of assignments. In 2017, she completed a review of governance and management practices in the York Region District School Board. In 2016, she provided strategic advice to three ministries on the adult education system in Ontario. In 2014-15, she was asked to review the funding model for Ontario's universities which resulted in the public report "University Funding Model Reform: Focus on Outcomes, Center on Students." In 2013-14 she led the negotiations of strategic mandate agreements with Ontario's 24 community colleges on behalf of the Ontario government.

Suzanne HerbertAnthony (Shawn) Richard – Shawn Richard is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law where he taught Trial Advocacy until 2018. He is also currently a partner at Lenkinski Law (which will be renamed Lenkinski Carr & Richard LLP in 2020).

Shawn has successfully represented clients in the Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Justice on various commercial and family law matters. His areas of practice include family, estates and civil litigation and he has recent publications in family law.

In 2013, Shawn acted as co-counsel for the Elliot Lake Mall Action Committee (ELMAC) at the Elliot Lake Inquiry. Before the Inquiry, Shawn practiced for several years at a civil litigation boutique in the areas of tort litigation (including medical malpractice, professional negligence and personal injury), employment litigation and commercial litigation.

Shawn Richard is the Past President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL). During his presidency, Shawn represented the organization before standing committees, and members of provincial and federal parliament to address issues of anti-Black racism and human rights; represented the organization at the meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers to discuss human rights in December of 2017; and prepared submissions and press releases on issues affecting Black lawyers and the Black communities.

Ministry Support for the Review

Administrative support for the PDSB review will be conducted by the Education Equity Secretariat, under the leadership of Patrick Case.

Patrick CasePatrick Case – Patrick Case, LSM, LL.B., LL.M. is the Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Equity Officer in the Education Equity Secretariat of the Ministry of Education. Case was most recently an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph. He is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and director of the Osgoode Hall Law School Certificate Program in Human Rights Theory and Practice.

From 1979 to 1985, Case was a school trustee with the Toronto Board of Education, and from 1989 to 1999 he was an equity advisor with the same board. From 1999 to 2009, Case was the director of the Human Rights and Equity Office of the University of Guelph. From 2006 to 2010, he held an appointment as a Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He is a past chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, which was created as a part of the federal government's redress agreement with Japanese Canadians and has been a co-chair of the equality rights panel of the Court Challenges Program of Canada. He was a member of the Minister of Education's TDSB Governance Advisory Panel in 2015 and one of two individuals appointed by the Minister of Education to review the governance and administration of the York Region District School Board.