Montreal, May 4, 2023 – The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) is shocked at the further infringement of the English-speaking community’s constitutional rights to control and manage our school system contained in Bill 23, An Act to amend mainly the Education Act and to enact the Act respecting the Institut national d’excellence en education.
The government introduced Bill 23 this morning in Quebec City, which empowers the Government of Québec to appoint the directors general of school boards, a clear violation of our section 23 rights to manage and control our educational institutions. The Bill also authorizes the Minister of Education to annul decisions of school boards “not consistent with targets, objectives, policy directions and directives the Minister has established.”
“This is yet another attempt by this government not only to centralize power but also remove our communities’ rights to manage and control our institutions by virtue of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There are no bigger issues than the nomination of a Director General who will be responsible for ensuring the successful path of all of our students, teachers and staff, and of the Minister of Education possibly annulling policy directions of school boards,” said QESBA President Dan Lamoureux.
The introduction of Bill 23 also violates the spirit of the stay of Bill 40, issued in August of 2020 by the Quebec Superior Court, and confirmed by the Quebec Court of Appeal, which suspended modifications to the school governance model in the English network pending a decision on the merits of the case. Justice Sylvain Lussier’s decision on the constitutionality of Bill 40 is pending since he took the case under deliberation in June of 2021.
“The stay on Bill 40 that also attempted to amend Quebec’s education act for our minority community and a decision on the merits of that case is expected any time now, further complicating the issue. English school boards should be exempt from Bill 23. We will try to convince parliamentarians of this in the weeks to come, including during public hearings. If this government persist, we will examine all options available to us including further legal remedies,” concluded the President.
QESBA is the voice of English public education in Québec and represents 100,000 students in over 300 elementary, high schools, and adult and vocational centres across Québec.