Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dr. Christopher Spence's University of Toronto Tribunal Hearing

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Posted on July 13, 2014
Updated on December 29, 2014
Updated October 10, 2015
Updated December 06, 2016
Updated January 22, 2018

Lengthy decision from the University of Toronto Tribunal of July 2017 with all attached interim decision, the recommendation is for Governing Council to recall or revoke the degree.

Chris Spence has been found guilty of Professional misconduct by the College of Teachers of the following offences listed in the notice of hearing:

- he failed to maintain the standards of the profession, contrary to Ontario Regulation 437/97, subsection 1(5);
- he signed or issued, in his professional capacity, a document that he knew or ought to have known contained a false, improper or misleading statement, contrary to Ontario Regulation 437/97, subsection 1(12);
- he failed to comply with the Act and the Education Act, Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1990, chapter E.2 and particularly s.264(1) or the Regulations made under that Act or the Regulations made under that Act, contrary to Regulation 437/97, subsections 1(14) and (15);
- he performed acts or omissions that, having regard to all the circumstances, would reasonably be regarded by members as being disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional, contrary to Ontario Regulation 437/97, subsection 1(18);
- he engaged in conduct unbecoming a member, contrary to Ontario Regulation 437/97, subsection 1(19).

It is difficult to ascertain the penalty since Dr. Spence has retired. It is also questionable in light of his resignation whether there is even jurisdiction to proceed with the hearing. This was not addressed in the decision.

Dr. Chris Spence's University Tribunal  hearing into allegations that he “knowingly represented the ideas of another, or the expressions of the ideas of another as your own work” in his1996 PhD thesis titled “The Effects of Sport Participation on the Academic and Career Aspirations of Black Male Student Athletes in Toronto High Schools” will recommence Tuesday, August 24, 2015  at 1:30 p.m. within  the Council Chambers (Rm. 214) of Simcoe Hall to consider various preliminary issues raised by the parties.

The Tribunal hearing Dr. Spence's case is chaired by Mr. Paul Morrison is a senior partner at McCarty Tetreault LLP.

Dr. Spence has filed an abuse of process motion that is to be argued on a date and time to be determined by the University of Toronto Tribunal Chaired by lawyer Paul Morrison. Various preliminary issues are being dealt with including a motion by the University Provost for disclose of documents from Dr. Spence's former lawyers: See, University of Toronto and Spence, Re 2014 CarswellOnt 12490 and University of Toronto and Spence 2015 CarswellOnt 13009.

Dr. Spence is also alleging that the limitation period in this case has expired.

University Provost is seeking further disclosure of materials they say is required to answer the abuse of process motion. They are also seeking directions for the future conduct of the proceedings.

Update: As of October 02, 2015 I no longer represent Dr. Spence.


College of Teachers Hearing

The Law Society of Upper Canada, Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 2.02(1) (Honesty); Rule 2.02 (1.1) (Organizational Clients); Rule 2.03 (Confidentiality); Rule 2.04 (Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest).

University of Toronto, University Tribunal, Rules of Practice and Procedure, 2012

University of Toronto Act, 1971. Amended December 15, 1978.

Statutory Powers Procedure Act, R.S.O. 1990, Chapter S.22, Sections 17, 23(1) and 25.0.1.

Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters 1995, University of Toronto

Media Coverage

Louise Brown,  Chris Spence plagiarism case mired in legal conflicts of interest, Toronto Star, July 14, 2014
Chris Spence thesis plagiarism case: tribunal's chair steps down, Toronto Star‎, July 14, 2014

Kristin Rushowy Education Reporter, Chris Spence asking U of T to drop plagiarism charges | Toronto Star, June 10, 2014

Caroline Alphonso Former TDSB head to face academic charges over thesis The Globe and Mail,  June 10, 2014

Angella Hennessey, Drop plagiarism allegations: former school board director Chris Spence,  Toronto Sun, June 10, 2014

Chris Spence plagiarism hearing delayed, Toronto Star, October 25, 2013

Disgraced school board head Chris Spence breaks his silence The Globe and Mail,  July 25, 2013

Louise Brown GTA, Education Schools, Kristin Rushowy Education Reporter, Disgraced Toronto educator Chris Spence breaks silence Toronto Star,  July 25, 2013

Chris Spence insists he is 'absolutely not' a serial plagiarist, National Post, July 25, 2013

Caroline Alphonso, Chris Spence applied for top jobs months after allegations, The Globe and Mail,  July 26, 2013

Kristin Rushowy Education Reporter, Toronto school board director admits plagiarism in Star article Toronto Star, January 11, 2013

Chris Spence apologizes for plagiarism, The Globe and Mail, January 10, 2013

TDSB director resigns over plagiarism, PhD dissertation includes unattributed passages, The Globe and Mail, January 10, 2013

Toronto school board head resigns, plagiarism allegations grow CBC News, January 10, 2013


Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A. (Toronto), LL.B. (Osgoode), L.E.C. (U.W.I). Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario). Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana and Republic of Trinidad and Tobago).

Selwyn has appeared at all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada in Attorney General of Ontario v. Michael J. Fraser, et al., 2011 SCC 20, Ontario Court of Appeal in Freeman-Maloy v. Marsden 267 D.L.R. (4th) 37, 208 O.A.C. 307 (C.A.); Bangoura v. Washington Post (2005) 202 O.A.C. 76, (2005) 17 C.P.C. (6th) 30 (Ont.C.A.), the Federal Court of Appeal in The Honourable Sinclair Stevens v. The Conservative Party of Canada, [2005] F.C.J. No. 1890, 2005 FCA 383. He represented Correctional Manager Mariann Taylor-Baptiste in the ground-breaking competing rights case of Taylor-Baptiste v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 2012 CarswellOnt 8965, 2012 HRTO 1393, 2012 C.L.L.C. 230-022 reconsideration denied in 2013 CarswellOnt 1033, 2013 HRTO 180, 2013 C.L.L.C. 230-019 at the HRTO; Civil Rights lawyer Charles Roach in the Oath cases of McAteer, Topey, Dror-Natan v. Canada (Attorney General) 2013 CarswellOnt 13165, 2013 ONSC 5895 (ON S.C.) and Roach et al. v. Canada 2012 CarswellOnt 7799, 2012 ONSC 352 (ON S.C.) which is a constitutional challenge to the oath in the Citizenship Act.

In the educational law realm, Selwyn successfully represented Dan Freeman-Maloy (co-counsel with Peter Rosenthal) in the Ontario Court of Appeal. See, Freeman-Maloy v. Marsden  267 D.L.R. (4th) 37, 208 O.A.C. 307, 2006 CarswellOnt 1888, 79 O.R. (3d) 401, [2006] O.J. No. 1228, (2006) 146 A.C.W.S. (3d) 986 (C.A.), overturning Hoy J. decision in Freeman-Maloy v. Marsden [2005] O.J. No. 1730 (S.C.J.). Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada denied with costs. In this case the Court of Appeal ruled that a University President could be considered a public official for the purpose of a lawsuit alleging abuse of public office.

In November 2013, Selwyn successfully won Academic Appeal at University of Toronto, Academic Appeal Committee: S.M. v. Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

Obtained interim injunctive relief in Featherstone v. Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School
Board [2005] O.J. No. 4431  Billy v. York Catholic District School Board [2005] O.J. No. 4717, a Safe Schools Act suspension matter, that was settled at the Superior Court of Justice.

Selwyn provided representation to students from Emery Collegiate Institute in Suspension Appeal Hearings under the Education Act and a judicial review applicaiton in Divisional Court. See, B. (K.) (Litigation Guardian of) v. Toronto District School Board; 2008 CarswellOnt 455 (SCJ). See also, K. B. and T. M. v. Toronto District School Board et al. [2006] 81 OR (3d) 56; 268 DLR (4th) 698; 49 Admin LR (4th) 87; 211 OAC 75; K. B. and T. M. v. Toronto District School Board et al. [2006] O.J. No. 362 (sealing order); K. B. and T. M. v. Toronto District School Board et al. [2006] O.J. No. 746 (striking part of affidavit and sealing order); K.B. v. Toronto District School Board [2006] O.J. No. 1026 (intervention of JFCY); He's ready to fight for teenagers in trouble, Globe and Mail, January 14, 2006; Arrest Outrage Trustee, Toronto Star, December 12, 2005; Suspended Students Claim Bias, Toronto Star, December 13, 2005; TDSB seeks to bar public in case, March 23, 2006, Toronto Star.

Selwyn has also appeared in Pieters v. Ontario College of Teachers, 2008 CanLII 5113 (ON S.C.D.C.)

Selwyn also acted as co-counsel with C. Nigel Hughes for the families of three deceased persons killed during a civil demonstration in Linden, Guyana, at the Linden Commission of Inquiry. Selwyn is currently co-counsel with Brian M. Clarke representing the Guyana Trades Union Congress in the Walter Anthony Rodney Commission of Inquiry in Georgetown, Guyana.


Marsha S said...

Has this tribunal hearing happened as yet? What is the verdict?

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