EPCA’s Position Regarding Recommendations made by the Elections System Study Panel (Jennings Report)

PRESS RELEASE For immediate diffusion

Montreal, September 2015 – The English Parents’ Committee Association of Quebec (EPCA) wishes to detail its position in regards to each recommendation made in the Final Report of the Election Systems Study Panel.

EPCA represents Central Quebec School Board, Lester B. Pearson School Board, Western Quebec School Board, Sir Wilfred Laurier School Board, Riverside School Board, Eastern Shores School Board, and New Frontiers School Board.

Our mandate is to advocate for and represent the parents of our member School Boards PCs and CPCs.

EPCA’s position to each recommendation in the Election Systems Study Panel Report is as followed:

  1. EPCA wishes its parents’ constitutional rights be respected and protected.
    • a. EPCA supports Universal Suffrage, with the exception of the election of the Chair of the Commission of Council.
    • b. Should there be an end to the existing School Board election system, EPCA presented to the Minister in June alternatives to gaining representation on School Board commissions (Alternative Universal Suffrage).
  2. EPCA agrees that the English Minority Communities’ current system of English School Boards with Parent Commissioners elected through their electoral colleges be maintained.
  3. EPCA agrees that the English School Boards’ Parent Commissioners be legally vested with all of the rights, responsibilities and duties of Commissioners including the right to vote.
  4. EPCA recommends that Parent Commissioners hold the majority of seats on the
    Council of Commissioners.
  5. EPCA agrees that the English School Board elections being conducted through online, telephone and mail-in ballots is a favorable alternative of Universal Suffrage, as proposed to the Minister by EPCA in June.
  6. EPCA agrees that English School Boards be given the legal authority to collaborate with their French School Board counterparts to revise voter lists for School Boards on their territories.
  7. EPCA agrees on all points that the voter registration be modified for English minority community potential voters so that:
    •  English Minority tax payers who pay into the English School Board system are automatically registered to the English School Board voting list;
    • Graduates of English public high schools are automatically registered to the  English School Board voting list;
    • English Minority youth who turn 18 are automatically registered to the English School Board voting list;
    • Parents of children who have graduated from an English public High School are automatically registered to the English School Board voting list;
    • In the event that the Québec government does not implement ESSP recommendations 6 and 7, that voters in English School Board elections have the ability to identify their respective School Boards and be registered to vote for the appropriate candidates by showing proper identification on the day of the
      elections at their polling station.
    • a. Employees of the School Board cannot sit on the Council of
      Commissioners.
    • b. No government appointees to the Council of Commissioners are accepted.
  8. EPCA recommends that each School Board have the option of having a non-voting seat available to a Cycle II student, by whatever means they see fit.
  9. EPCA has advocated for mandatory training of Commissioners and members of Governing Board for many years.
  10. EPCA agrees that ethical and conflict of interest guidelines be included in  the Education Act.
  11. EPCA agrees that current opportunity for Councils of Commissioners to co-opt community Commissioners with specific expertise be maintained.

We must bear in mind that many of our school boards cover huge areas and encompass many different communities. This being said, many of our communities are not only represented by parents, but also by community representatives who represent the Anglophones without children in the system but have the right to vote in the English School Board present election system.

These representatives from these communities should definitely be elected by Universal Suffrage as they represent their respective communities. EPCA stands firmly behind this notion.

This would bring a wider variety of representation especially from our outlying regions, a
representation that the Anglophone community is entitled to under the Canadian
Constitution.

For additional information and/or interviews: Mr. Angelo Grasso, Director General of EPCA, (514) 778-3722 or director-general@epcaquebec.org.

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