Province Launches Review of the TDSB
Margaret Wilson to Examine Governance Issues at Ontario’s Largest School Board
The province has asked Margaret Wilson to conduct a review of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) amid growing concerns about the governance of Ontario's largest school board.
The review will include an examination of the current operational issues at the school board, and a focus on the board's governance structure. The final report, which will be submitted to the Minister of Education before the end of the year, will include recommendations on how to address current operational and relationship issues, as well as recommendations on how the government should conduct a consultation about possible improvements to the governance structure at the TDSB.
The purpose of the operational review is to ensure the school board - with 11 new trustees to be sworn in on Dec. 1, 2014 - has the tools it needs to succeed and ensure the board is focused on student achievement and well-being.
Over the past two years, the province has worked to support governance at the TDSB. In December 2012, the province assigned a special assistance team to help the board eliminate its capital deficit and implement recommendations from a report by PwC. The province also released a forensic audit in December 2013 - conducted by Ernst and Young LLP - at the request of the board, following concerns raised by the board's audit committee.
Despite this support, the board continues to be plagued by accusations of inappropriate behaviour, "insubordination" and an ongoing "culture of fear" among staff and elected trustees at the TDSB. These ongoing concerns have put public confidence in the governance of the TDSB at risk.
- Margaret Wilson served as the Registrar at the Ontario College of Teachers between 1995 and 2000. Prior to that she served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.
- In order to allow the Minister to provide direction to the board, the government has amended the “Provincial Interest in Education Regulation” under the Education Act. The amendments are specific to the TDSB and include a sunset clause to revoke the amendments on Dec. 31, 2015.
- The forensic audit of the TDSB conducted by Ernst and Young LLP covered the period from September 2009 to June 2013. The final report was released in December 2013.
- The province imposed a funding freeze on new capital projects at the TDSB in the fall of 2012, after several capital projects had run over budget. The capital freeze was lifted in July 2013.
“Ensuring public confidence is a critical component of taking our education system from great to excellent. The ongoing concerns at the TDSB are putting public confidence at risk – not just in Toronto but across the province. As Minister I have no choice but to act. I am confident that this review will help us begin the process of restoring public confidence in the TDSB.”