CCSTA has put its support behind a Quebec high school’s wishes to have freedom of religion.
Loyala High School, founded by the Jesuits, is seeking to be exempted from teaching Quebec’s mandatory ethics and religious culture program. Instead, the Montréal school wants to be allowed to use its own course and teach it from a Catholic perspective.
While the law allows for such an exemption as long as the alternative course is deemed by the Minister of Education to be equivalent to the provincial program, the Ministry’s office denied the exemption request.
According to the CBC, the Superior Court of Quebec initially sided with Loyola in 2010, but reversed the ruling in December, 2012.
CCSTA has been following this story and recently offered its support to Loyola High School. The CCSTA Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution at its Annual General Meeting in Winnipeg last June to showcase its support to the Loyola High School exemption request. The resolution states: “Be it resolved that the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association: expresses its full moral support and encouragement of the Loyola High School in Montréal as it proceeds with its challenge in the Supreme Court of Canada; expresses its hope that the Supreme Court of Canada will uphold the religious liberty of Loyola High School and other religious schools in this case, and; calls upon the Province of Québec, and specifically its Ministry of Education, to respect the religious liberty of Loyola High School and other religious schools in the province by permitting them to meet the prescribed competencies of the Ministry’s “Ethics and Religious Culture” curriculum using a structure and methodology more in keeping with their religious identities.”
In October, CCSTA President Ted Paszek sent the resolution to Loyola High School along with a personal letter explaining why the CCSTA passed the resolution.
“We wanted to express our solidarity with you in this struggle… (and) we will continue to follow this case, and wish you every success with your petition to the Supreme Court next March,” Mr Paszek wrote.
The case has since been brought forward as an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada and a decision is expected to be made this March.