Ontario Civil


Civil Procedure

DISCOVERY
Names of students not privileged when they originated in other documents

Plaintiff was teacher at defendant school. It was alleged that plaintiff assaulted one of students who was son of another teacher and her husband. Parents complained to school and reported incident to police. Police contacted Children’s Aid Society. Police and society conducted separate investigations. School held meeting of parents and others in community. It was alleged that husband defamed plaintiff at meeting. Plaintiff was not present at meeting. Society and police found that allegations were unfounded. Plaintiff’s employed was ended. Plaintiff sued school and parents. Plaintiff brought motion for order that representative of defendant answer certain questions put to him on examination for discovery. School claimed it was prevented from answering outstanding questions and making related production by virtue of privilege established by s. 266(2) of Education Act (Ont.). Motion was dismissed. Plaintiff appealed. Appeal allowed. Information as to who was invited and attended meeting reflected on whether there was defamation or libel and if so, how damaging it might have been to plaintiff. Name of parent who had some information as to society’s investigation indicated possibility that there was someone who could contribute some understanding as to how investigation was undertaken and substance behind its conclusions. Nothing in material suggested that any of this would or could improve instruction or education of any student. None of information belonged in Ontario Student Record (OSR) and was not subject of privilege. Question as to who attended meeting was about parents, not students. To disallow information from other sources to be released because it also happened to be in OSR, particularly information that reflected nothing more than identity of student, would extend privilege in manner that was contrary to public interest. Names of students were in OSR to assist individuals referred to in s. 266(2) of Act for improvement of instruction and other education of pupil. Names of students were not privileged when they originated in other documents where they were used for other purposes.

Robinson v. Northmount School for Boys (May. 2, 2014, Ont. S.C.J., Lederer J., File No. CV-09-378776) Decision at 226 A.C.W.S. (3d) 76 was reversed.  240 A.C.W.S. (3d) 328.

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