Rick Boon can join his father, veteran Art Boon, on a trip to the Netherlands for the 70th anniversary of the country’s liberation during the Second World War.

An earlier decision by Rick's employer, the Avon Maitland District School Board, not to allow unpaid leave for him to make the trip sparked widespread anger.

The board's decision was upheld despite a petition containing more than 2,000 signatures asking for the leave to be granted, because, the board said, he had been given time off for several similar trips in the past and told no more would be given.

Early Friday, with 90-year-old Art set to depart with another caregiver, Ted Doherty, the board's director of education, released a statement saying it would not prevent his son from going with him.

It reads in part, "Having reviewed this new request and this new information, I have decided to maintain my position and not grant a leave of absence. That being said, Mr. Rick Boon will not be directed to attend work next week.

"If Mr. Boon chooses to go to The Netherlands, we will sort out the legalities following his return. It should be clearly understood that Mr. Boon will not face any disciplinary action from the Board."

Doherty goes on to say he has concerns about whether the request now being made under the Employment Standards Act is valid, and remains concerned about setting a precedent if they had granted the leave.

Rick did not want to speak with the media, but in a statement says, “Recently, I made an application for the Family Caregiver Leave under the Employment Standards Act and my application fulfilled the requirements for the allocation as requested.”

Art has been active in local schools speaking about his experiences during the Second World War.

His plight even caught the attention of Celtic musician and composer Loreena McKennitt, who posted the petition.