Quebec’s secularism challenge taken by English Montreal school board to Canada’s Supreme Court

Francois Legault. Image credit: Facebook

Montreal/CMEDIA:The English Montreal  School Board (EMSB) is reportedly taking Quebec’s Challenge of secularism law, known as Bill 21, to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The EMSB had voted to take its challenge to the Supreme Court in a special meeting Wednesday.

“We have always maintained that Bill 21 violates the rights of Quebec citizens…discriminates against people of religious minorities…opportunities to teach within our system…of all the groups, Muslim women,” Joe Ortona, chair of the EMSB reported saying.

Back in February, the  Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the province’s controversial secularism law in a ruling on challenges to the law’s constitutionality.

Premier François Legault’s government had appealed Superior Court decision, rendered in April 2021, that upheld most of the law but made the exception for English schools thereby creating an unfair distinction between francophone and anglophone schools.

A key argument of groups back in 2022 opposed the law on the basis of gender by disproportionately targeting Muslim women and that it cannot be shielded by the notwithstanding clause

Quashing a previous exception that allowed English schools to employ teachers wearing religious symbols,  such as a head covering, while on the job, the Appeal Court justices said in a summary of their decision, that the law does not go against “the unwritten principles of the Constitution, nor the constitutional architecture, nor any pre-Confederation law or principle having constitutional value.”