The organization representing Québec’s English-language school boards is applauding a court ruling that will keep the English boards in place.
“The Québec English School Boards Association (QESBA) is very pleased with the Québec Superior Court judgment in our favour on a stay of Bill 40: An Act to amend mainly the Education Act with regard to school organization and governance,” stated a news release from the organization.
In February 2020, the Québec legislature approved the law to eliminate all elected school boards, which had been promised by the CAQ before it won the 2018 election. Under the new governance model, school boards are becoming regional school service centres. The transition has already been completed for the French-language school boards.
QESBA and its co-applicants filed for an interlocutory injunction or a stay in May of this year to suspend the application of Bill 40 to English school boards, arguing that the new governance model does not respect section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to manage and control our minority language educational institutions. The court found that the applicants had raised “very serious questions” pertaining to the law’s constitutionality. Moreover, it found that the disappearance of English-language school boards and their transformation into English-language school service centres constituted irreparable harm.
“We are very pleased with the decision today which has the effect of suspending the application of Bill 40 to English school boards pending a decision on the merits of the case. Given the very limited amount of time our boards have to organize school elections, scheduled for November 1, we are hopeful that the government will not appeal this decision,” said QESBA President Dan Lamoureux.
There are nine English-language public school boards across Québec with 100,000 students in 340 schools and vocational centres.