February 29, 2024

Montreal, February 29, 2024 – The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) is shocked that the Quebec Court of Appeal has overturned the original ruling on the minority language education sections of Bill 21, An Act respecting the laicity of the State.

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) challenged Bill 21, which came into force on July 16, 2019, that bars public-school teachers from wearing religious symbols while at work. The EMSB challenged the articles specific to education based on section 23 minority rights of management and control and were successful with the case on its merits. The QESBA intervened on appeal joining the EMSB in their fight seeking the rightful exemption from Bill 21.

“Once again, Section 23 was put into the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect and preserve all minority language educational institutions. Section 23 clearly gives minority communities the right to manage and control their institutions and we maintain that bill 21 infringes on our rights,” said QESBA Vice-President Paolo Galati.

“We have an important teacher shortage in Québec. To impose these restrictions is counter-productive and unnecessarily punishes school boards, schools and ultimately, students. The QESBA will need to meet with its board members to decide on next steps,” concluded the Vice-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.