John O’Fee

John O’Fee

Endorse John O’Fee

Candidate for School Trustee

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John O’Fee

Contact Information

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Twitter: Click to View

Personal Information

Resident of: Lower Sahali
Current Occupation: University Lecturer/Lawyer

Political Experience:

Former Chairperson/President:
Interior Health Authority
Kamloops Airport Society
Thompson Rivers University Foundation
Kamloops School Board
City of Kamloops Audit Committee
Kamloops Parks and Recreation Commission
Thompson Nicola Regional District Audit Committee
Thompson Nicola Regional Hospital District
Former Director:
Thompson Nicola Regional District
Provincial Health Services Authority
Municipal Finance Authority
Current Director /Panel Chair:
Health Professions Review Board


John O’Fee graduated from the University of British Columbia with degrees in Commerce and Law. First elected to the Kamloops School Board in 1988 and served for eight years including three years as School Board Chair. In 1999 John was elected to Kamloops City Council where he served for eleven years in various capacities until 2011 when he left the private practice of law to become Chief Executive Officer of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc (Kamloops Indian Band). In this multi-faceted role John led a team of over 200 employees responsible for a wide variety of enterprises ranging from a working cattle ranch and retail gas station as well as providing band social programs and operating an elementary school.

John joined the School of Business and Economics at TRU first as a sessional instructor 2010 and as full time faculty commencing January, 2014. His courses include Commercial, Employment and Real Estate Law but John has also instructed Business Ethics for TRU at the Tianjin University of Technology in China. In addition, John instructs Real Estate Transactions at TRU’s Law School. John recently received the Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence from the School of Business and Economics.

Besides his work at TRU, John serves as a board member and panel chair for the Health Professions Review Board of British Columbia. This organization acts as an appellate body for decisions rendered by professional medical colleges in the province. He has also served is also a board member of the Provincial Health Services Authority and board chair of the Interior Health Authority. These organizations are tasked with the operation large scale health facilities including the BC Children’s Hospital, the BC Ambulance Service, the BC Cancer Agency, the BC Centre for Disease Control and many others. Each organization operates on an annual budget well in excess of $2billion.

John has been recognized as a distinguished Alumnus of Thompson Rivers University in 1995, selected for a BC Community Achievement Award in 2011 and was designated as Queen’s Counsel in December 2015.

External Page Links

Kamloops Matters Kamloops election 2018: John O’Fee doesn’t want to see the status quo when it comes to education Click to Visit
Radio NL Former Kamloops councillor making a run for a school trustee seat Click to Visit


John O'Fee was a school trustee and Chair of the Board of Education in 1993, the year I was first elected. It was a pleasure working with John. As a Chair he was a generous and even handed. He has a very good understanding of the role of a school trustee and is a strong advocate for our dynamic public education system. John brings to the table a wealth of experience and knowledge. I am very pleased to endorse John O'Fee for school trustee.

Denise Harper, Trustee, School District No. 73

I have come to appreciate John’s professional approach to education having taken several of his courses here at TRU. He demonstrates to me that he is a person who cares about students and wants to see them succeed.

Alexandra Severn, Student

John will bring his outstanding leadership skills, his high level of professionalism and his passion and knowledge for education to the Kamloops-Thompson School Board. As a former Board Chair and School Trustee, John was very well respected and was always a strong advocate for all students. He will be a tremendous asset to the Board.

Joan Cowden, SD 73 School Trustee. SD 73 Retired Teacher

I totally admire John for his unstinting support and passion in anything he undertakes. He is extremely professional, a listener, and advisor and advocate for anything he is passionate about...I wish him well

Julie (eulalie) Archer, Kamloops Resident

I served on Kamloops City Council with John O'Fee for 6 years and I can say without hesitation that John is a great choice for Kamloops School Board!

Peter Sharp, Kamloops Resident

Answers to Questions from the Public

Oct 12, 2018 at 12:58 am

Darryl Schmidt asks the City Councillor, Mayor, School Trustee Candidates

If your campaign had a theme song, what would it be?

John O'Fee Answered

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor .....not because it is catchy.....I just really like hearing that on a concert hall or cathedral pipe organ.

Oct 15, 2018 at 10:39 am

Maddie asks the School Trustee Candidates

I would like to know what you plan to do about the school dress codes and the implementation of them. Currently the dress codes and the implementation body shame girls, vilify boys, and are discriminstory.

John O'Fee Answered

Thanks for your question Maddie. The current School District Policy is quite broad and reads as follows:
a) Respect themselves, others, and property.
b) Attend school regularly and be punctual for all classes.
c) Engage in purposeful learning activities and set high standards for personal achievement.
d) Show consideration for diversity: the thoughts, feelings, and heritage of others.
e) Use electronic systems in a respectful, responsible, and ethical manner.
f) Conduct themselves in a polite, respectful, and co-operative manner.
g) Dress in a manner that appropriately reflects a school environment.

If you are facing a situation where you are being body shamed or mistreated by a the application of a policy, I would like you to take that up with your principal. If you don't feel the school principal is dealing with matters appropriately, you and your parent/guardian can move this matter all the way up to the school board.

Aug 28, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Kamloops Voter asks the City Councillor, Mayor, School Trustee Candidates

What do you see as the single most important issue facing Kamloops right now?
What are your ideas for managing or overcoming this issue?

John O'Fee Answered

From the perspective of education, our system risks losing relevancy if it fails to continually adapt. All education systems need to ensure that people acquire the core skills necessary to prosper in a rapidly changing world. The core elements of literacy and numeracy will remain but we can't simply presume that what we did in the past will be sufficient in the future.

Sep 7, 2018 at 1:41 pm

Bryce asks the School Trustee Candidates

School District 73 has an over-management issue and is "out of touch" with the actual users (teachers, students, and parent). As School Trustee how would you address this?

John O'Fee Answered

I have managed my own business and been the CEO of an organization with over 200 employees. I'm not willing to jump to your conclusion in the absence of facts. I would look at how our district aligns with best practices and see how we could improve. There is room for improvement in every organization but my own experience as a parent is that the current trustees and administrators were very much engaged in the school system. As a former trustee I know how many school events I attended and parents I met with. I'm confident that the current trustees are caring and committed people who have spent a lot of time connecting with their communities as well.

Sep 17, 2018 at 11:41 pm

Beat Klossner asks the School Trustee Candidates

Preparing for bargaining for the next collective agreement between teachers and the employers is currently underway.

Should teachers/ support staff be considered an "essential service" when bargaining time comes around?

John O'Fee Answered

As a lawyer I can tell you that it is not as easy as just making this sort of declaration. Every Canadian has constitutional rights and governments cannot simply declare something as essential. For example, unions and management have generally been able to work out sensible solutions to establish essential service levels in areas of nursing and fire protection. Education is important but it is not a life and death matter. As such, any declaration of essential service would likely be unconstitutional.

Sep 22, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Peter Kerek asks the School Trustee Candidates

There are many school-aged children living below the poverty line in Kamloops and across Canada. What role, if any, do you feel a school trustee should play in advocating for economic justice for these kids?

John O'Fee Answered

I was lucky to grow up in Kamloops in a stable home and a parent who had a steady, trade related job. As one of seven children we were not rich, but we were a long way from living in poverty. In my past time on the board, I would meet with committed educators who expressed their concerns about the challenges faced by many students. Poverty leads to instability and often children have attended multiple schools by the end of first or second grade. This lack of a stable home life manifests itself in the school system and elsewhere. School trustees can support programs aimed at the most vulnerable children to ensure they have appropriate nutrition and that their basic needs are being met. However, the core mandate for ensuring minimum living standards for children and their families lies with higher levels of government. School Boards do not have the budget or the mandate to address broader social issues such as poverty.

Sep 22, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Melissa asks the City Councillor, Mayor, School Trustee Candidates

What are 3 things you think are going well for Kamloops, what 3 things need improving and what are 3 things you'd like to express that could promote compassion and dignity towards our cities most vulnrable?

John O'Fee Answered

From a public education standpoint here is my answer.
Going well:
1. We have a strong base of academic performance in BC that ranks consistently with the best countries in the world. See:
2. We have access to a great university offering a wide range of academic and trades opportunities that makes higher levels of education more affordable and accessible.
3. We have a growing community that will continue to provide new employment opportunities for people equipped with proper skills.

Three things that need improving:
1. We need to convince the provincial government to provide capital funds for needed school improvements and expansion in some areas.
2. We need to address the public's perception of public education and get everyone to understand how vital education is to a functioning society and a thriving economy.
3. We need to better address the transition from public secondary education to post-secondary education (academic, trades and technology). Completing high school is more of a signpost than a final destination in a person's educational journey. A knowledge economy is going to require a higher level of skill and training.
Three ways to promote compassion and dignity:
1. All children matter whether one is a parent or not. Education can be a great equaliser in our society and it can enrich those from even the humblest of backgrounds.
2. Our district can send a clear message that schools are a safe space for students where they can be themselves.
3. We can explore how to create better outcomes for students with special needs so that they can participate in society to the full extent of their abilities.

Oct 1, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Jolene asks the School Trustee Candidates

As a special needs parent what do you plan to do to make sure children like mine get an education? The current lack of EA’s results in our children being sent home early or being told not to bring them to school due to lack of support. Many children did not even start the year off with their peers due to schools not having support for them the first week.
2) IEP’s. Many parents work and are unable to come during school hours to meet with staff to write IEP’s but instead get sent home a copy of it and expected to accept this. This is not meaningful consultation. What do you plan on doing to make sure parents are included in this important decision making?

John O'Fee Answered

Thank you for advocating on behalf of special needs students. We all know that children facing challenges benefit the most from early intervention. I would need to learn if the problem with EA's relates to a lack of funding or a lack of available people able to provide that service. In either case, we have a duty to ensure that each child matters and gets the best possible outcome from public education.

Sep 22, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Cam Johnson asks the School Trustee Candidates

What are your thoughts on the overcrowding of many of the cities school’s? And what can be done to help that problem?

John O'Fee Answered

As you may know, school districts do not set local property tax rates and receive their operating and capital money mostly from Victoria. Unlike some compact urban districts, Kamloops faces unique challenges because of our rural/urban blend. Taken as a district, we appear to have plenty of space but when viewed within regions, we have clear space demands. Our school board will have to work with all locally elected representatives to advocate for needed capital investment.

Sep 26, 2018 at 7:13 pm

Tabitha Gallicano asks the School Trustee Candidates

I just learnt of this question platform, so, some have already answered this question on facebook. Thank you!
The worlds of children and youth have been changing. The easier access to weapons, the increase in violence, and suicide due partially to bullying has some parents nervous about sending their children to public school. Some schools in larger metropolitan areas have implemented metal detectors and security upon arrival and departure. Other schools have put more support programs, such as counselors, psychologists, and group therapy in place for students. Within the last years there have been many cutbacks but such programs could prove wonders to a young persons mental well being. This is imperative as students spend a good portion of their lives at school. As trustee, do you potentially for-see more financials being allocated for resources that will not only keep our children physically safe, but also their mental and emotional health?

John O'Fee Answered

I feel the answer lies in better and earlier detection of mental health issues and earlier intervention. Putting metal detectors and the like in schools really ignores why we have the problem in the first place. Having resources in place to deal with student mental health issues is a clear priority.

Oct 3, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Dick Stewart asks the City Councillor, Mayor, School Trustee Candidates

What was their previous Job ? or employment ?

John O'Fee Answered

I am a full time faculty member at TRU. By profession I am a lawyer.