Niagara Centre MPP Urges New NPCA Board To Drop Lawsuit Against Former Employee

“We can only hope that with a clean slate of board members the days of the NPCA trying to muzzle opposition by suing individuals who dare question its operation, management, hiring and firing practices is finally over.” – Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

Posted January 6th, 2019 on Niagara At Large 

An Open Letter from Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch to Board Members of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority 

Dear NPCA Board Members:

Former NPCA employee Jocelyn Baker still has a costly lawsuit hanging over her head after speaking out about alleged cases of workplace harassment inside the NPCA

I am sending this letter on behalf of constituent Jocelyn Baker, a former employee of Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, who is the defendant in a lawsuit brought against her by the NPCA stemming from comments made public by Former MPP Cindy Forster in the Ontario Legislature. 

I commend Niagara Regional Council for taking immediate action in replacing the former NPCA Board, which spearheaded the lawsuit against Ms. Baker.

She was mentioned in the recent Auditor General’s report covering staffing changes and harassment in the workplace and the unsuccessful lawsuit against taxpayer Ed Smith. That lawsuit cost the NPCA and taxpayers of Niagara over $130,000 dollars to settle with a total legal bill in excess of $260,000.

We can only hope that with a clean slate of board members the days of the NPCA trying to muzzle opposition by suing individuals who dare question its operation, management, hiring and firing practices is finally over. 

From my understanding, recent efforts to settle the lawsuit involving Ms. Baker this have been met with full resistance by the NPCA.  This matter has now dragged on for over a year and a half and we have no idea what that legal bill will be. 

A new Chair has yet to be appointed for the NPCA Board but I am asking the board to give serious consideration to dropping this lawsuit against Ms. Baker. 

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

It is time to turn a new page at the NPCA so it can focus on issues relevant to its mandate under the Conservation Authorities Act, which is to develop programs to further the conservation and restoration, development and management of our natural resources under increasing pressure from developments.

I look forward to a positive outcome from this request.

Sincerely, Jeff Burch, MPP

A Footnote from Niagara At Large –

Niagara’s Regional Government has posted the following public advisory on this Monday, January 7th’ meeting of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s new board.

UPDATE: Special Meeting of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority Board

​As directed by Justice Ramsay, the Board of the NPCA will hold a meeting on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. The location of this special meeting will be the Ball’s Falls Centre for Conservation facility, 3292 Sixth Ave. in Lincoln.

At the Dec. 28, 2018 special council meeting, the Region directed the 12 newly appointed NPCA board members to hold a meeting to discuss:

  • Electing a Chair and Vice Chair
  • Reviewing current status and requesting updates from NPCA staff regarding operations, including HR organizational changes and other ongoing matters
  • Receiving advice from NPCA’s legal counsel regarding HR matters

Additional information on this meeting will be available on the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s website​.

To read a news commentary Niagara At Large recently posted on this issue, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2019/01/05/its-time-for-a-new-board-to-clean-up-the-mess-and-end-the-chaos-at-the-npca/ 

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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