QUÉBEC CITY, Nov. 6, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Following an analysis of the Québec government report on governance and administration at the English-Montréal School Board (EMSB), and given the appalling situation observed by the investigators, the Minister of Education and Higher Education, Jean-François Roberge, announced today that the EMSB is being placed under trusteeship. The government has appointed Marlene Jennings as the trusteeship administrator.
The inquiry into the EMSB, ordered by Minister Roberge in January of this year after a series of allegations were levelled at the Board, sheds light on the following points, among others:
- major deficiencies in the management of the public funds entrusted to the EMSB
- a poor understanding of the roles and responsibilities of elected school board officials
- excessive politicization of decision-making to the detriment of the interests of the students, parents and school staff
- irregularities in the awarding of contracts
- irregularities in the management of the school board's human resources
In the interests of transparency, the Ministère finally made public the findings of the investigator's final report. The report was partially redacted to meet certain legal imperatives, particularly the need to protect the identities of the various stakeholders the investigators met with during the inquiry.
The decision to place the EMSB under trusteeship was approved by the Council of Ministers, comes into effect immediately and is applicable for a six-month period. The Council of Ministers has also appointed Marlene Jennings as administrator of the EMSB for the duration of this period. As of today, Ms. Jennings will assume all the functions and powers of the EMSB's Council of Commissioners apart from its power to institute and manage legal proceedings.
Ms. Jennings is also being tasked with presenting a plan to restructure the EMSB's administration. The Council of Ministers has named the firm of Deloitte to advise her in carrying out this mandate. Ms. Jennings will be required to report to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur on a monthly basis.
The decision to place the English-Montréal School Board under trusteeship was not made lightly. This is an exceptional measure taken under exceptional circumstances. Unlike the previous government, we cannot turn a blind eye to this situation, which has gone on for far too long. The students, their parents and all the school staff deserve good governance and an effective administration characterized by respect and ethical conduct. The main task of Ms. Jennings will be to restore the trust of the entire community in the EMSB.
Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education and Higher Education
Marlene Jennings, who is a lawyer by profession, served as the MP for the Montréal riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grace-Lachine in the House of Commons from 1997 to 2011. She became a member of the Privy Council in July 2004. She is also recognized within the anglophone community as a staunch defender of its school system. Before embarking on her career in politics, Ms. Jennings, who is perfectly bilingual, held the position of Deputy Commissioner for Police Ethics for the Province of Quebec. She oversaw the application of the public complaints conciliation process with respect to police conduct throughout Québec. Since September 30, 2015, she has served as vice-president of the board of directors of the Centre intégré universitaire de la santé et des services sociaux de Centre-sud de l'Ile de Montréal, known generally as the CIUSSS Centre-Sud.
SOURCE Cabinet du ministre de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur
For further information: Francis Bouchard, Press attaché to the Minister of Education and Higher Education, 418-644-0664