Toronto council backs fight against Quebec’s Bill 21, calling it ‘contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians’
TORONTO — The Toronto District School Board’s board of education has endorsed a vote against Bill 21, the provincial government’s bill that would limit the ability of students from Quebec to access Catholic schools.
This is the first time a school board has formally thrown its support behind the province’s anti-inclusivity Bill 21, which has sparked protests and demonstrations in Quebec and across Canada.
“It is against our values,” said Michelle Berube, the board’s president and CEO, ahead of Tuesday’s vote on Bill 21. “We believe in inclusivity and the value of everyone coming to school ready to learn and learn together. It’s not about religion or culture or language. It’s about a community, it’s about children.”
The board is poised to approve a resolution calling for a public referendum on Bill 21. It has received some support from groups like the Alliance for Canadian School Children (ACSC), which have called on the board to support the bill.
On Monday, the board passed a motion that stated it supports “the fundamental principles of secularism and the inclusivity of all children,” and “the education, well-being and integration of diverse cultural communities.”
Bill 21 is set to receive royal assent on March 26, which would require school boards in the province to offer publicly funded religious instruction to students from Quebec only. If passed, the bill will make it illegal for students from Quebec to attend publicly funded French-language schools.
The bill’s passage will face a court challenge from the School Boards Association of Ontario, whose board has written to all school boards in the province to ask them to refuse to comply with Bill 21 “for the good of the children.”
“I am deeply saddened that this bill would make it a crime for students to be educated in a French-language environment,” said SBAO president Wendy Lillehaug. “School boards serve our communities, and the education of Canadian children, regardless of their background or the