Challenging publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario.
(thanks to Kevin for posting this on FB!)
Ontario Catholic students fighting for equality in schools are closely watching a constitutional challenge against the publicly funded Catholic education system that was recently launched by a Toronto woman.
Reva Landau, a non-practising lawyer, filed the case with the attorney general in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice in December. She says the Supreme Court should take another look at its previous decisions.
“So the other party [Quebec] has withdrawn from the great historic compromise,” says Landau. “The argument to continue funding the separate school board is gone. I think this should be reconsidered because it is so out of tune with the way things are today. The Charter of Rights says there should be no discrimination.”
Landau says giving aid to one religious institution that is not equally available to others violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. She says there is also “appalling” inequity and “blatant discrimination” in the Catholic board’s hiring practices for teachers.
“Catholic teachers in Ontario can get a job in both school systems, Catholic and secular. Non-Catholic teachers can only apply for jobs in the secular school system,” she says. “A non-Catholic teacher can apply for a job in the Catholic system, but they have a legal right to discriminate. About 30 percent of the teaching jobs in Ontario are in the Catholic separate system; that’s a huge burden for teachers to bear.”
Schools are forcing a religion onto teachers, she says, or forcing teachers to lie.
Furthermore, Landau adds that gay-straight alliances (GSAs), or any student group that supports queer youth, are banned in Ontario Catholic schools.