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École élémentaire publique Julie-Payette in Ottawa to be renamed

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette delivers the throne speech in the Senate chamber in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. An Ottawa school named for the former governor general will choose a new name after "scathing" reports emerged on workplace culture at Rideau Hall under her leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

An elementary school in Kanata named for Julie Payette will be renamed, Ottawa’s French public school board decided at its regular meeting Tuesday evening.

The Conseil des Ecoles Publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO) approved a motion Tuesday to rename the école élémentaire publique Julie-Payette in light of reports highlighting a “toxic” environment at Rideau Hall during her tenure as Canada’s Governor General.

She resigned from the role in January following a “scathing” review of workplace culture under her leadership.

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According to a report, written originally in French, CEPEO sought a possible name change because the allegations against Payette could have a negative impact on the school’s reputation.

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The board surveyed staff and parents of students at école élémentaire publique Julie-Payette between April 23 and May 2 on the possibility of renaming the school.

Of the 321 people who responded, 66.7 per cent said they were in favour of renaming the school.

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The majority of those who voted to change the name indicated they’d rather the school not be named after a public figure, but instead have a name that reflects the school’s values and mission.

Those who voted to keep the name highlighted that the school’s name was chosen to recognize Payette’s contributions to the arts and sciences, per the report.

The CEPEO will begin the process of finding a new name for the school in the fall.

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