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Q & A: Can the minister dismiss a school board?

October 20, 2015 Gordon Thomas, Executive Secretary

Question: Can the minister of
education dismiss the trustees of the Edmonton Catholic School Board? Where does the Alberta Teachers’
Association stand on Catholic public education?

Answer: The minister of education has extensive powers relating to school boards, including the power to appoint an official trustee, under Section 42(1) of the School Act. The minister can appoint an official trustee if the board refuses to comply with certain orders or if the minister considers it in the public interest to do so. The official trustee has the powers and duties of the board and stays in office at the pleasure of the minister.

The minister of education has certainly expressed concerns about the effective governance of the Edmonton Catholic board and has appointed an “expert advisor” to assist the board with its issues. A report will be provided to the minister in three and six months. Edmonton Catholic, along with a number of other boards, needs to deal with the transgender issue, as the minister expects them to do.

The Association supports all its members. Under the Teaching Profession Act, the Association’s membership includes teachers employed by public and separate school boards. About one-third of our members are employed by separate school boards. The Association has a legal obligation to represent its members right across the province and does so, ensuring its members’ rights are protected regardless of whether they belong to a public or separate school board. The Association strongly supports Catholic public education. ❚

Questions for consideration in this ­column are welcome. Please address them to Gordon Thomas at Barnett House (


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