Appellate court’s decision on teachers’ privacy rights in Ontario

I’ve stuck my neck out in the BLG Insights article linked below in saying that the Court of Appeal for Ontario got a recent school search case wrong. Privacy claims are unpredictable, and can hook on ideas held by decision-makers in a way that impedes common sense outcomes. This is one of those cases in my view, and does harm to security and safety on a number of levels.

Practically, Ontario organizations ought to be addressing the very subject matter of this case in preparation for an October legislative change that will require workplace monitoring policies. The new legislation doesn’t change the right to “monitor,” but organizations shouldn’t view their policies as neutral. Rather, advocacy in support of several essential organizational interests should be embedded in that policy so clear need for balance is established from the start.

CAISJA presentation on student appeals and related higher education student affairs issues

I had a great time this morning at pre-conference workshop for the annual Canadian Association of College and University Student Services conference. The workshop was organized by the new CACUSS academic integrity and student judicial affairs division – CAISJA. I love addressing professionals working in the higher education sector because attendees are always very knowledgeable and engaged. Today was no exception!

Here is a copy of my slides, which were just to put a little structured content into three hours of discussion moderated by my CAISJA hosts.

As promised to attendees, here is the Hicks Morley paper (written in 2005) on student appeals and here are some citations to recent and relevant case law.

  • Cotton v. College of Nurses of Ontario – On administrative fairness and mandatory medical assessments. See here for my case summary.
  • Zeliony v. Red River College – On hearing transcripts and the requirement to give reasons. The College’s reliance on unsworn witness statements (in part because witnesses said they were afraid to testify) is an important issue that is not addressed head-on in this award.
  • Lerew v. St. Lawrence College – On hearing transcripts and the requirement to give reasons.
  • F.H. v. McDougall – The Supreme Court of Canada on the existence of only one standard of proof in civil cases – the balance of probabilities standard.

Though it is technically neither an academic integrity nor a student judicial affairs issue, we did get into discussion on threat assessments, student privacy and non-disciplinary suspensions. Some materials on this topic are posted here (my CAUBO March 2008 presentation), here (comments made after the Kajouji case) and here (link to good podcast).

Thanks again to my CAISJA hosts. I hope this material is helpful and, for those who attended, look forward to keeping in touch!