Governance Review Committee

Background and mandate

More than 10 years ago, substantial changes were made to school board governance in Ontario. Since then, several major reports have called for a governance review to see if the structures in place are operating as effectively as they should.

In 2008, the McGuinty government assembled a Governance Review Committee to examine how well the current governance structure is serving Ontario's education system. The committee found many instances of effective governance by school boards and worked in partnership with the education sector to explore ways to build on these strengths.

Over six months, the committee consulted with trustees, school board directors, as well as parents and parent representatives. In April, the committee presented its report to the government, which included 25 recommendations.

Summary of the committee's report

In general, the committee found many strengths in the current system, but it also identified some areas for improvement in its report.

Overall, the report recommends that the government clarify that the mandate and duties of school boards. That mandate includes promoting student achievement and well being, delivering effective and appropriate programs, and ensuring that the board's resources are well managed.

Some highlights of its recommendations include:

  • Clarifying the roles of individual trustees, board chairs and directors of education
  • Requiring multi-year strategic plans that include goals for student outcomes
  • Requiring public annual reports from the boards on their progress in meeting their strategic plans and in providing transparent and sound governance
  • Directing the government to develop a code of conduct for trustees and requiring boards to adopt that code of conduct for all board members
  • Developing accessible and affordable professional development opportunities for school trustees to increase their knowledge of good governance practices
  • Setting out principles that would guide the drafting of provincial interest regulations; these would direct how the ministry would get more involved when a board is not achieving the goals of its strategic plan.

Introduction of Governance Legislation

On May 7, 2009, the McGuinty government proposed amendments to the Education Act that would make student achievement the number one priority for all school boards.

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