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Former WRDSB teacher wants to appeal Ontario court decision


A former teacher wants to appeal an Ontario court’s decision to dismiss her request to continue a presentation to Waterloo Region District School Board trustees.

Carolyn Burjoski announced Thursday she’s filed a notice of motion for leave to appeal the Nov. 29 ruling. This is a formal request asking for the court’s permission to launch an appeal.

At a board meeting on Jan. 17, 2022, Burjoski raised issues she had with two books in elementary school libraries. She felt they discussed gender and sexuality in a way that wasn’t appropriate for young children.

Board Chair Scott Piatkowski stopped her mid-presentation citing his concerns that Burjoski’s comments could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Burjoski later asked for a judicial review of the board’s decision to stop her presentation.

A panel of judges reviewed the case earlier this year.

Their decision, which was issued on Nov. 29, dismissed Burjoski’s request to finish her remarks to the board.

They felt the decision to end her presentation was reached through a democratic process and found “no basis” for bias by the board.

The ruling also included details, not previously released, about the January 2022 meeting.

It said Burjoski filled out a request form before her presentation and she was only approved to speak about the need for transparency in the library review process. When Burjoski’s presentation went beyond the approved topic, Piatkowski expressed concerns.

She continued to discuss the appropriateness of specific books that addressed gender identity issues, the judges said. That’s when Burjoski was stopped and trustees voted to end her presentation.


Burjoski now wants to appeal the judge’s decision.

“They dismissed my review and stated that the board’s decision to half my presentation was reasonable,” she said in a video posted to YouTube. “This ruling is deeply concerning. It could set a troubling precedent for free expression in Canada, empowering school boards and other public bodies to silence and censure every voice they disagree with.”

Burjoski feels the issue has a wide-reaching impact.

“It’s vital that our judicial system protect our charter rights against administrative overreach that stifles our free speech,” she said in the video. “I am fully committed to this cause and am deeply grateful to the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms for sponsoring this appeal pro bono.”

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is a legal advocacy organization, based in Calgary, which describes itself as a “voice for freedom in Canada’s courtrooms.” It has represented people challenging COVID-19-related tickets and was part of legal challenges against gay-straight alliances in Alberta schools.


Burjoski also launched a separate $1.75 million lawsuit in May 2022 against the school board and Piatkowski alleging defamation, libel and slander.

The school board asked the courts to dismiss the case but a judge rejected that request on Nov. 23 and ordered the school board to pay $30,000 for Burjoski’s legal fees.

There has been no decision yet in the lawsuit. Top Stories

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