Trustees of the Board are individuals, each with unique needs, aspirations, strengths and weaknesses. Despite the many and diverse obligations in serving both the local electorate and the wider community, individual trustees are expected to provide the leadership necessary to ensure a caring and fulfilling Catholic education for every student within our system.
A code of ethics represents the trustees' commitment to the community and to the Board. The code is non-punitive. It is morally binding to trustees who freely and willingly accept its principles. It is a set of guidelines, rather than a measure of any past shortcomings. This code also sets, by example, the expectations imposed on others within our system and on others who interact with our system, including: students, parents, teachers, clergy, taxpayers, Board employees and the media.
A code of ethics provides one of the guides that can be used to evaluate performance. Each trustee is evaluated, first and foremost, by themselves, but ultimately our colleagues and community also judge us by our actions. Trustees who defiantly and persistently contravene the code may be called by the community to adhere to the code, or to resign from the Board.
Representation and Accountability
Trustees are fundamentally accountable to the students of the York Catholic District School Board for the delivery of a quality, Catholic education that is responsive to the needs of our community and is affordable to taxpayers.
Trustees are entrusted to represent the voice of the community. Each trustee must bring a commitment to serve the community by expressing ideas and views that advance the mission and goals of the Board. In consultation with the community, representation can mean voicing popular consensus, or it can mean expressing the position of a single member of the community. Though trustees are elected by various communities, they must be mindful of the needs of the wider community when preparing Board-wide initiatives such as budget, taxation and resource allocations.
Trustees have an obligation to attend all Board meetings as well as chosen or assigned standing committee meetings. As well, trustees should be prepared for meetings, familiarizing themselves with provided background materials and readings.
Trustees will endeavour to promote Board decisions to the community by explaining the reasons for decisions and outlining benefits to the community. Board decisions will be represented to the community without personal bias or prejudice.
Conflict of Interest
Trustees must abide by the rules and regulations defined within the municipal Conflict of Interest Act. Conflict that may lead to financial or professional gains for any trustee(s) destroys support and trust in our Board within the community.
The Director/designate is the official spokesperson in matters related to Board operations. The Board Chair/designate is the official spokesperson designated to deal with Board policy matters. When issues of a highly confidential, political or sensitive nature are involved, the Director or Chair will automatically assume the role of Board spokesperson. At times to be determined by the Chair and/or the Director, the Communications Manager is recognized as the official spokesperson for YCDSB. The Communications Manager may seek involvement and assistance from trustees or other Board staff in facilitating enquiries.
Honesty and Integrity
Information identified as confidential (including in camera matters) should be regarded as such and not be discussed with anyone other than appropriate fellow trustees or Board staff. Only truthful and factual information, that does not mislead or exploit, will be distributed by trustees.
Commitment to Knowledge and Growth
Each trustee must be committed to making informed decisions on a fair and consistent basis. In order to be a valuable resource and an effective force for change in education, trustees will communicate and exchange information with members of other boards and professional organizations.
The human and divine nature of each individual will be respected and nurtured without judgement or reproach. Trustees will build close ties with local church groups and the archdiocese in order to understand and build on the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Policies and Practices
As a Board, trustees will develop policies that are fair, equitable and consistent with the Board mission. Mutual respect will guide the relationship between trustees and Board administrators. The administrative function will be respected by trustees without interference or prejudice through the establishment of appropriate objectives and review procedures.
Respect for Each Other
Each trustee must respect the efforts of his/her colleagues. It shall be assumed that each trustee is working in good faith toward Catholic education and is engaging in the work of the Holy Spirit. While some personalities or behaviours may be difficult to appreciate, trustees must make genuine efforts to actively understand the viewpoint of the other. Trustees are bound together in a Christian democratic dialogue and decisions or outcomes resulting from this dialogue must be respected even if they are in conflict with one's own position. If any trustee finds they are unable to do this, they may work within the established processes toward future change, or consider a resignation from the Board.
(Approved January 21, 1998)