Gillian Tuck Kutarna

Partner | Guelph

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Portrait of Gillian Tuck Kutarna

Ontario government moves to ban suspension for students in Grades K to 3

The author would like to acknowledge the contribution of 2020 Summer Student and 2021/2022 Articling Student Kayla Cockburn. On July 9, 2020, the Ontario government announced “New Changes to Advance Equal Opportunity for Black, Indigenous and Racialized Students.” [1]  The...

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School board held liable for historical sexual abuse of student

The author would like to acknowledge the contribution of 2020 Summer Student and 2021/2022 Articling Student Lindsay Armstrong. In a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board was held negligent and vicariously...

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Changes to education leadership in Ontario

Over the past few months, 14 of the 72 Ontario Directors of Education have either announced their retirement or left their positions.  Such a significant turnover in leadership will not only be felt by the school boards with vacancies, but...

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COVID-19: Emergency preparedness and communications

On March 9, 2020 we presented an urgent “Morning Recess” webinar summarizing for our school board clients their legal rights and responsibilities in the face of the global spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Please contact us if you would like...

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Government Announces “Education That Works for You”

Last week, during Ontario’s March Break, Education Minister Lisa Thompson announced several key changes to Ontario’s education system, under the banner “Education that Works for You.” Curriculum and Class Size Revisions to the Health and Physical Education curriculum, to take...

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Court of Appeal Finds Contract Between University and Student

In Lam v. University of Western Ontario, 2019 ONCA 82, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that a court may take jurisdiction over a claim that arises from an academic dispute between a student and a university. Facts Simon Lam...

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What’s Happening

Please join us for another Morning Recess webinar on Thursday, April 25 at 10:00 when we review the dos and don’ts of school excursions. Gillian Tuck Kutarna on April 5, 2019 will be presenting Trustee as Advocate for the Ontario...

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What’s Happening

Gillian Tuck Kutarna and Nadya Tymochenko will be presenting at this year’s Canadian Association of School System Administrators in Ottawa July 4 to 6. The Morning Recess fall webinar schedule will be available in August. Have a great summer!

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Labour and Privacy Update

Teacher’s work refusal due to violence of five-year-old student upheld by Labour Board In Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers / Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association v. Toronto Catholic District School Board, 2017 CanLII 37597 (ON LRB), the Ontario Labour Relations Board...

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What’s Happening

Nadya Tymochenko and Gillian Tuck Kutarna will be speakers at the Canadian Association of School System Administrator’s Conference in Ottawa July 4-6. Morning Recess Webinars will be back in September.  Look for our new 2018-2019 schedule.

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Private School Teacher Termination Upheld

This past June, the Ontario Court of Appeal (the “Court of Appeal”) overturned a wrongful dismissal decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Remy Fernandes (“Fernandes”) had been teaching at Mississauga Private School (the “School”) for over ten years...

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In Camera Board Meetings May Not Always be Private

The Supreme Court of Canada recently held that what happens at in camera meetings may not stay at in camera meetings. Boards of directors may meet in camera (meaning “in chambers”, or privately) in order to discuss particularly sensitive issues,...

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In Camera Board Meetings May Not Always be Private

The Supreme Court of Canada recently held that what happens at in camera meetings may not stay at in camera meetings. Boards of directors may meet in camera (meaning “in chambers”, or privately), in order to discuss particularly sensitive issues,...

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TDSB Advisory Panel Report Highlights Structural Governance Issues for School Boards

Last March, the Minister of Education appointed the Toronto District School Board Governance Advisory Panel (“Advisory Panel”), to consult and make recommendations with respect to structural and procedural changes to the Toronto District School Board.  The Advisory Panel was constituted...

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Mandatory Requirements for Receiving Charitable Donation Tax Credit

In the recent decision of Bope v. The Queen, the Tax Court of Canada confirmed the requirements for a charitable donation tax credit, stating that entitlement to the credit depends on the donor proving, on the balance of probabilities, that:...

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The Volunteer Relationship

Many charities and not-for-profit organizations depend on the dedication and hard work of their volunteers.  Volunteer contributions can include fundraising, promotion and advocacy, governance, and service delivery.  As such activities are often integrated with day-to-day operations, and integral to an...

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Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) Enforcement Update

Two recent decisions by the CRTC have prompted us to include a CASL update for the education sector in this month’s newsletter. In March of this year, the CRTC fined Compu-Finder $1.1 million for three instances of sending Commercial Electronic...

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School Board Found Liable for Student’s Harassment of a Teacher

In the recent case of Malko-Monterrosa v. Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord1, the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal recently heard a complaint filed by Ms. Malko-Monterossa, a teacher who alleged that the Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord discriminated against her on the grounds of race,...

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Welcome Newly Elected School Councils

As newly elected School councils meet for the first time this month, we thought a survey of the legal parameters within which school councils function would be helpful. Purpose The Education Act requires that every school have a school council[1],...

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Keeping Abreast of the Standard of Care: Automated External Defibrillators in Schools

In April of 2009, grade 5 student Bezawit Chanyalew (“Bezawit”) suffered a cardiac arrest during gym class at her Vancouver school.  Before emergency workers could arrive, she suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen, leaving her with severe...

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The Accountability & Transparency Act – How It Might Impact School Boards

The government has re-introduced the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act (formerly Bill 179 covered in our March 2014 Client Alert), now Bill 8.  Comprised of 11 Schedules, Bill 8 addresses various issues relating to public accountability, and...

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School Boards Collective Bargaining Act Enshrines Two-Tiered Bargaining

In our Education Newsletter of October, 2013 we outlined the key features of Bill 122, which provides a framework for a two-tiered bargaining system.  On April 7, 2014, Bill 122 passed third reading at the legislature, establishing the School Boards...

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CASL is here. Are you ready?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) comes into force on July 1, 2014, and may significantly affect the way school boards are able to communicate with parents, employees, suppliers and stakeholders. CASL’s scope is broad, its reach is wide, and its penalties...

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OHRT Decision on Distribution of Religious Materials in Schools

R.C. v. District School Board of Niagara 2013 HRTO 1382 The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario recently ruled on an Application brought by a parent of children in the District School Board of Niagara (the “Board”) who objected to the...

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Reasonableness “Invited”, but not “Required” under terms of Collective Agreement

The Ontario Divisional Court just released its decision in Grand Erie District School Board v. Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, District 23 in which it dismissed an application for judicial review of an arbitrator’s finding that the duty of a...

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Teacher Awarded $20K in Damages for Harassment by Principal and Board Staff

A long service teacher who was given a home assignment and disciplined as a result of a variety of concerns, was found to have suffered harassment within the meaning of the Ontario Human Rights Code (the ”Code”) and awarded $20,000...

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School Board Foundations and the new Ontario Nor-for-Profit Corporations Act – Part I

Directors of Education, Superintendents of Business, Trustees and Boards of Directors of Foundations are advised to start thinking now about the impact that the soon-to-be enacted Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (“ONCA”) will have on their not-for-profit foundation. The new legislation...

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Financial Hardship Not Justification for Reduction in Accommodation Services

The Supreme Court of Canada recently released its decision in the case of Moore v. British Columbia (Education)  2012 SCC 61, regarding the right to special education programming and services in order to access core educational objectives. The Court stated...

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Canada’s Top Court Rules that Specific Performance Not Required For All Land Deals and Duty to Mitigate Applies

Miller Thomson successfully defended the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) before the Supreme Court of Canada in a recent decision involving a dispute over an agreement of purchase and sale. In 2004 Southcott Estates Ltd. entered into an agreement...

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Staff Advice and Recommendations Not Publicly Accessible Upon Request

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) and its municipal equivalent provide that every person has a right of access to a record or a part of a record in the custody or under the control of...

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Gender Identity & Expression Added to Code

On June 13, 2012 the Ontario Legislature unanimously approved Bill 33 ‘Toby’s Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression) at its third reading.  Following Royal Assent, the Ontario Human Rights Code...

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‘Responsive Records’ Under FIPPA Can Include Deleted Emails

The Information and Privacy Commissioner (“IPC”) recently upheld an appeal against Carleton University, overturning the University’s response to a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act refusing to produce emails which had been deleted. The IPC...

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MFIPPA Duty to Disclose: “Some Form of Connection” to Employment is Sufficient for Exemption

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (“Commissioner”) recently upheld a Toronto District School Board (“Board”) decision to deny a request made under Ontario’s Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”). The Board had conducted investigations into two...

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Board Does Not Have to Compensate Teachers for Work that is not Performed

In a matter between the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (OSSTF) and Peel District School Board (the ‘Board’), Arbitrator Laura Trachuk was asked to consider the case of a full time teacher who for several years requested and was given...

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Pre-Reform Decisions from the Ontario College of Teachers Discipline Committee

The Ontario College of Teachers (“College”) recently announced that it has hired retired Justice Patrick LeSage to undertake a comprehensive review of its disciplinary process, to be completed by May 2012. Education Minister Laurel Broten has also introduced reforms, including...

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Limits to Supervision Time is a “Hard” 80 Minute Cap, for all Teachers

In a recent arbitral decision, the issue was whether a teacher who has additional responsibilities as a “Teacher in Charge” or “Teacher Administrative Assistant,” can be asked to provide more than the 80 minutes per five-day instructional cycle of supervision...

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Board Ordered to Pay a Proportional Share of Teacher’s Hearing Aid

Modification of the work and the workplace found not to be enough in meeting the duty to accommodate a disability. When the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board refused to pay for a digital hearing aid for a severely hearing impaired...

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When is a Record Collected and Used? Case Note: Privacy Complaint No. MC08-91 and MC08-92, City of Vaughn

A couple of residents of the City of Vaughn, with a robust history of unsolicited contact with City staff and elected representatives, recently made a claim that when the City sent their correspondence to legal counsel for an opinion on...

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