Raj Siyani
The Canada Times
November 5, 2023

Markham Public Library (MPL) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Katherine Bice has been called for her resignation after the Islamic Heritage Month display was removed from the branch. The union representing 6,000 library workers and municipal workers in York Region made the demand.

CUPE Local 905 released a statement on October 20. That said, they no longer have any confidence in Catherine Biss as CEO of MPL. His resignation may be the first step in rebuilding relations between employers and employees.

An email has been doing the rounds on social media lately. It directed MPL staff to take down any material on Islamic Heritage Month due to the current situation in the Middle East. It has also been directed to refrain from actively promoting it. This guidance is provided so that the library does not appear to be taking sides.

However, in an email sent by Bis, this statement is claimed to be incorrect. Also, he apologized if anyone in the community was confused or hurt as a result.

In a press conference the next day, the CEO said the email was sent immaturely. But he refused to elaborate on this as it is a human resource matter.

Bis acknowledged the temporary removal of the Islamic Heritage Month exhibition from the MPL branch. In addition, library authorities are also investigating allegations by staff and community members of supporting either Hamas or Israel. Later that day the exhibition was reinstated.

Biss said, usually the MPL reviews the complaints and decides the direction of the plan. But he admitted that he was wrong in this case.