Vancouver School Board Chair Janet Fraser and Trustee Lisa Dominato pose with Langara College journalism students after a board meeting on Wednesday Jan. 10. Photo by Carla Shore.
By ANA ROSE WALKEY
In the wake of a turbulent year that saw a previous Vancouver School Board accused of bullying, current board chair Janet Fraser spoke of the importance of a safe and respectful workplace.
In Oct. 2017, the standing Vancouver School Board was fired for refusing to balance their budget. However, bullying allegations in the workplace were said to have also been a factor.
Fraser is one of four trustees who was re-elected after being fired last year. At a board meeting Wednesday, she delivered a report about safety and respect in the workplace.
“We can acknowledge what happened in the past and think about it, but look forward to what we can do to make things work really well from here on,” Fraser said.
Through investigations done by WorkSafeBC and Goldner Law Corporation, there were findings of bullying and harassment of staff, senior managers of the district, other trustees and amongst the trustees.
The notion of creating a safe and respectful workplace was in the forefront for candidates during the by-election campaigns last October, according to Fraser. She said this was why it was so important to deliver her report on behalf of the new board.
“It’s been a question that came up a lot in the campaign about how can you ensure as a new board that your staff will work well on behalf of the students,” Fraser said.
Fraser later said that, although important, her presentation was not a motion to be put in place but a report to outline safe workplace structures that already stand.
“We don’t need a motion to say we’re going to do what we’re already doing and we have the strategic plan, we have all these policies in place, so I’m not proposing to change anything but I wanted to make a statement on behalf of the board,” Fraser said.