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OCDSB trustee Nili Kaplan-Myrth seeking judicial review of board sanctions against her

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board trustee Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth is asking a court to review sanctions laid against her by the board following two code of conduct complaints.

In an application for judicial review filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Dr. Kaplan-Myrth is seeking to quash a decision by the OCDSB in December to bar her from the next board meeting on Jan. 30 and from sitting on several committees for a period of three months, starting Jan. 1.

The decision to apply sanctions was based on comments she made on social media and at a heated meeting in September, during which she was facing a different code of conduct complaint that was not upheld.

Kaplan-Myrth unsuccessfully appealed the board’s decision this month, arguing an integrity commissioner’s report, which formed the basis for the sanctions, was based on “faulty or incomplete findings of fact” and “fundamental errors.”

“The decision that the Appellant Dr. Kaplan-Myrth breached the Code of Conduct is unreasonable on the facts and the law and the sanctions imposed are excessive and disproportionate,” said the application filed by her lawyer Mark Freiman.

The sanctions applied by the board were based on a 185-page report by Integrity Commissioner Suzanne Craig, which stated Kaplan-Myrth’s conduct and statements, in particular on social media, had a ‘negative impact’ on fellow trustees as well as discredited the integrity of the board. Craig recommended the school board bar Kaplan-Myrth from attending the next board meeting and from attending committees, including Committee of the Whole.

The court filing claims the integrity commissioners report was flawed as it ‘does not reveal an internally coherent and rational chain of analysis.’

In addition, Kaplan-Myth’s lawyer says the report is “incomplete” and “at times self-contradictory.”

“The offences alleged involve no moral or ethic wrongdoing. They are also a ‘first offence.’ Under any sentencing principle they should not involve a sanction that includes depriving the Appellant’s constituents of their elected voice of the Board,” Freiman writes.

Kaplan-Myrth, a family doctor who was elected to the OCDSB in 2022, has been an advocate for public health measures, including masking, and has been a target of racist and sexist remarks for her Jewish identity online and in-person.

She faced two code of conduct investigations last year with the first occurring in September after she asked Trustee Donna Dickson, a Black woman, not to ‘side with white supremacists’ on a vote to institute a temporary mask mandate for the school district.

Kaplan-Myrth has also filed a human rights complaint against the OCDSB and is requesting a leave of absence.

CTV News Ottawa has reached out to the OCDSB for comment. A date for the judicial review has not yet been made.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Ted Raymond

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