Quebec’s ban on religious symbols will apply in English schools until the courts decide

The Quebec Court of Appeal will not allow the English Montreal School Board to hire teachers wearing religious symbols pending an appeal from a lower court decision on Quebec’s secular law.

The school board had sought to have a Superior Court decision exempting English-speaking school boards from the law, which prohibits the use of religious symbols by teachers and other government employees in positions of authority, to take effect immediately. .

Judge Frédéric Bachand wrote in his ruling issued today that the school board did not show that it would suffer serious or irreparable harm if the law, known as Bill 21, is enforced while the government’s appeal is ongoing.

It found that the school board’s assertion that the bill’s enforcement would suppress minority cultures went too far and did not prove that law enforcement would harm the integration and education of students.

While it found that the school board showed evidence that the bill will make it difficult to recruit staff at a time when it faces a shortage of qualified teachers, the government was able to demonstrate that teachers are available.

In a statement, the school board said it is disappointed with today’s decision.

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 9, 2021.

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