Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO)

Celebrating Canada’s cultural mosaic in the classroom.

A classroom in Eastern Ontario that doesn’t resemble a junior United Nations is a rare thing these days. It only makes sense for the faculty and staff of our public schools to reflect the diversity of our communities as they groom our next generation of citizens and leaders.

At Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO), every effort is made to promote inclusiveness and support diversity, from the code of conduct expected amongst students, to the hiring practices of the board.

CEPEO is the public school board responsible for French language education in Eastern Ontario, including the Ottawa area. It serves 14,500 students at 40 elementary and secondary schools, with about 1,850 staff. At one school alone, up to 50 different ethnicities are represented among students and staff.

At all levels, CEPEO’s organizational culture promotes the values of altruism, collaboration, pacifism, receptivity, discernment and empathy from the perspective of sustainable develop-ment and common good.

The board holds to the highest standards of impartiality and equity in its hiring practices. Candi-dates are never asked about their race, age, descent, country of origin, colour, ethnicity, citizen-ship, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap. Where possible, the selection committee is made up of individuals of different gender, origin, culture, age or status to provide diversified points of view.

“Since it is part of our mission to celebrate cultural diversity, we are proud to have the opportuni-ty to be in close contact with various cultures which enrich our work environment on a daily ba-sis.” “Our innovative policies and practices create and foster a fair and inclusive workplace which offers skilled immigrants the chance to join our fine big team of dynamic employees.” Said Edith Dumont, Director of Education.

Anyone involved in the recruiting process receives training to ensure they apply fair practices. All employees receive ongoing training in human rights principles and the role that they play in creating an equitable and inclusive workplace. Integration of new employees is supported by regular training sessions, mentoring programs and a professional learning community for new immigrant teachers.

The goal is to create a workplace that is healthy and free of discrimination, where every individ-ual feels comfortable expressing their ideas and sharing their knowledge. This includes oppor-tunities for advancement without boundaries. In fact, three of the board’s five secondary school principals in Ottawa are of immigrant origin.

Various activities are also regularly held at the schools and at CEPEO’s head office to celebrate the richness of its cultural diversity. It’s all part of fulfilling the board’s responsibility to be representative of the Ottawa region and develop among students the knowledge, know-how and life skills to thrive in our society.


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