Ministry appoints a former head of the Ontario College of Teachers to lead the Administrative Review of the Board of Education decision to close two schools.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 16th, 2017



Today, the Ontario Ministry of Education announced the appointment of Margaret Wilson as facilitator of the administrative review for the Burlington Secondary School Program and Accommodation Review (PAR) undertaken by the Halton District School Board during the 2016-2017 school year.

Margaret Wilson PAR Admin Review

Margaret Wilson will lead the Administrative Review of the Program Accommodation Review of the decision to close two of Burlington’s seven high schools.

“Margaret Wilson is a well-respected educational leader with significant experience examining complex education issues,” says Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board. “We look forward to working with Ms. Wilson and welcome a thorough, independent and impartial review of the PAR process the Board conducted.”


Parents at the first public meeting that addressed the school board’s wish to close two high schools.

In September, the Halton District School Board received notification from the Ministry of Education, granting administrative reviews of the Burlington Secondary School PAR. Requests for these reviews were submitted to the Ministry of Education by the Lester B. Pearson High School and Robert Bateman High School communities.

According to Ministry Guidelines, an administrative review is a process by which an independent, impartial facilitator reviews that the Board has followed its Pupil Accommodation Review policy. An administrative review is not an assessment of the decisions made by the Board of Trustees.

During this review period, the Halton District School Board will continue to keep student needs at the forefront. As such, the Board will continue to collaboratively plan for and implement the decisions made in June 2017. The Board will, however, be cognizant of minimizing the expenditures of the implementation during the review process.

The Board of Education Media Release doesn’t say very much about Ms Wilson – but she has certainly has a profile.

The Toronto Star reported on the work Ms Wilson did on the Toronto Bard of Education where she turned in a scathing report and an invoice for billing the government at a rate of $1200 per hour.

Here is what the Star had to say:

“Margaret Wilson, appointed by the province to look into dysfunction at the Toronto school board, was paid $1,200 a day ($150. An hour) for her work, according to documents obtained by the Star through a Freedom of Information request.

“As part of her final $48,034 bill, Wilson listed 40 work days in November and December of 2014, and January 2015.

“Based on an eight-hour workday, that works out to $150 an hour; for a 12-hour workday, $100 an hour.
“Review of TDSB: 68 interviews, read board + ministry documents, correspondence, previous reviews + audits & copious emails. Wrote report,” she noted in the expense form submitted to the education ministry.

“Wilson, a veteran educator and former union leader, also billed for two taxi rides at $17 each to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association in downtown Toronto.

“Her report on the Toronto District School Board, released in January of last year, was a scathing look at both management and elected trustees and had been ordered after a string of scandals and amid concerns about then-director Donna Quan’s management style and secrecy.

Liz Sandals and Margaret Wilson

Former Minister of Education Liz Sandals, left, and education consultant Margaret Wilson.

“Wilson criticized trustees for meddling and exerting undue influence on staff, repeated concerns about a “culture of fear” identified in previous reports, as well as a revolving door in the top job, and noted an “acute level of distress” among staff. The report made 13 recommendations to improve the board, including looking at whether it is too big to manage.

Wilson, a former Registrar and CEO of the Ontario College of Teachers, will consult with local accommodation review committees, the school board and people who participated in the process. The mandate of an administrative review is to determine if the board followed its locally developed accommodation review process.

The Ministry of Education approved requests for an administrative review of the accommodation review process related to Robert Bateman High School and Lester B. Pearson High School, both in Burlington.

Wilson will begin work the week of October 16 and will provide the Minister of Education with a final report upon completion of her review. The report’s findings will be released to the school board and the public.

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5 comments to Ministry appoints a former head of the Ontario College of Teachers to lead the Administrative Review of the Board of Education decision to close two schools.

  • You may want to ask her why the very organization she was in charge of allowed repeat sex offenders to teach in our schools. Seriously, please ask her before you release another press release using her name. Ask her to explain these examples. And ask her why First Nation Teachers are paid less than English, French and Religion teachers in Ontario. Why should young girls and young boys in our schools have to say “Me Too!”

  • Kim

    All i have to say is…I truly truly truly hope that this is not another fake process. Heres hoping for some proper procedures!

  • Colleen A

    While I continue to support the Board’s decision in June, I am keeping an open mind and will support the findings of this review. I hope that everyone, no matter what side of the issue you are on, will do the same.

  • Steve Atkinson

    I trust she will be appalled at the handling of this PAR. Regardless of decision, we deserved so much more than this hasty brushing aside of our “community input”. It will be interesting to see if the real motives are revealed, though it may not be in Ms. Wilsons’ mandate.

  • Hans

    Naturally the HDSB director says: “Margaret Wilson is a well-respected educational leader with significant experience examining complex education issues”. She is unlikely to be affected by such a transparent attempt to influence her.

    If Ms. Wilson can fix this ridiculous situation, whatever it costs, it will be money well spent.