May 6, 2021

May 6, 2021

Ms. Karen Falconer
Interim Director of Education
Toronto District School Board
5050 Yonge Street
Toronto ON M2N 5N8

Dear Ms. Falconer,

I am writing in relation to the Toronto District School Board’s lawsuit concerning the fires at the York Memorial Collegiate. I am compelled to express my extreme disappointment in the baseless and irresponsible allegations made against Fire Chief Matthew Pegg. I am also appalled at the calculated public release of the claim yesterday by the TDSB, which contained these allegations. In my view this could have only been intended to cause unwarranted harm for some undisclosed strategic benefit.

The City and Chief Pegg categorically repudiate the allegations contained in your statement of claim. We denounce the carelessness shown by the TDSB and its insurers in this matter. Most importantly, we reaffirm our confidence in Chief Pegg and his professionalism.

The Toronto District School Board and the City of Toronto have a long history of collaboration, cooperation and common purpose. Our respective sense of joint mission and the importance of our close relationship has never been more evident than in the current civil emergency. All of which makes this baseless attack on the integrity and professionalism of Chief Pegg, who leads the City’s emergency response management, all the more disappointing. It is difficult not to view this spurious attack on Chief Pegg as a betrayal of our close relationship.

The City and its residents have much to thank Chief Pegg for. Beyond his devoted service as Fire Chief, Chief Pegg serves as the General Manager of Emergency Management; a position that has placed him at the forefront of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last year and more, few have committed more hours and effort to ensure the safety of our community – your schools included. His leadership, integrity and professionalism has been a steadying factor for our residents and staff. We all owe Chief Pegg a great debt for his service to date. Put plainly, he deserved better.

We ask you to consider the harm caused to Chief Pegg’s reputation by the false claims of misfeasance advanced in your lawsuit. We also ask that you reconsider maintaining those claims and consider whether a public apology is owing to Chief Pegg. To the extent you require any information to assure yourself and your insurer that those claims ought to be abandoned and a public correction of the record made, do not hesitate to have your legal counsel seek it from our counsel, who will oblige.

Again, I want to stress the long history and common purpose of public service the City and TDSB share. A resetting of this relationship, in my view, is more important now than ever in our collective efforts to serve the people of Toronto.

Yours truly,
Chris Murray
City Manager
City of Toronto
Pronouns: he/him

cc: Mayor Tory
Chief Matthew Pegg
Wendy Walberg, City Solicitor
Tracey Cook, Deputy City Manager
Alexander Brown, TDSB Board Chair