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BPC Bulletin December 10, 2023

BPC Bulletin: Carolyn Burjoski v. the Waterloo Region District School Board

News Reports and Commentary Selected by Franklin Carter of the Book and Periodical Council’s Freedom of Expression Committee.

In a court in Ontario, a judge has ruled that a retired schoolteacher’s defamation lawsuit may proceed against a regional school board.

The legal dispute emerged after the schoolteacher, Carolyn Burjoski, and the Waterloo Region District School Board disputed the age-appropriateness of two books in elementary school libraries.

The dispute occurred on January 17, 2022, in an online meeting. Each book focused on a youthful sexual-minority character.

While Burjoski expressed her concerns about the books, Scott Piatkowski, the chair of the board, cut off her presentation. He said Burjoski’s remarks could violate the Ontario Human Rights Code. Other school trustees upheld his decision in a vote.

Burjoski said that Piatkowski subsequently misrepresented her views and defamed her in various media. Piatkowski denied the accusations. In May 2022, Burjoski filed a defamation lawsuit against the board, and the board tried to have the lawsuit dismissed.

On November 23, 2023, Justice James Ramsay of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that Burjoski’s lawsuit may proceed. “The Human Rights Code does not prohibit public discussion of issues related to transgenderism or minors and transgenderism,” he wrote. “It does not prohibit public discussion of anything.”


The staff members of CityNews Kitchener report:

Burjoski will not finish presentation, court decision made two years later | CityNews Kitchener 

Jennifer K. Baker of CTV News Kitchener reports:

Court finds WRDSB trustees acted reasonably in ending former teacher’s presentation | CTV News

The staff members of Cambridge Today report:

Public school board responds to news of defamation lawsuit being allowed to continue - 

Kate Bueckert of CBC News reports:
Ex-teacher silenced for book views can proceed with lawsuit against Waterloo region board after court ruling | CBC News

Spencer Turcotte of CTV News Kitchener reports:

WRDSB ordered to pay $30K for former teacher’s legal fees | CTV News

The National Post reports:

Court victory for silenced transgender-book critic who made headlines | National Post


In the National Post, Barbara Kay comments:

Barbara Kay: Silenced teacher becomes a hero of the anti-woke resistance (

In the National Post, Julia Malott comments:

Clear-eyed judge razes left’s favourite tactic — silence critics in bad faith | National Post

In the New Hamburg Independent, Luisa D’Amato comments:
Time for the school board to learn its lesson (

The Book and Periodical Council was formed in 1975 as the Book and Periodical Development Council to provide a venue for members to discuss industry issues, address mutual concerns and undertake projects for the benefit of Canadian writing and publishing.