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Quebec court rules in favour of English school boards challenging education reform

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WATCH: Quebec court rules in favour of English school boards challenging education reform.

Quebec’s English School boards will remain as they are after the province’s superior court judged in favour on a stay of Bill 40 on Monday.

The Quebec English School Board Association (QESBA) is applauding the court’s judgment on the education reform bill, a legislation that abolishes boards across the province and replaces them with service centres.

QESBA and co-applicants filed for an injunction in May to suspend the application of Bill 40 to English school boards in the province, arguing the bill doesn’t respect section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to manage its own minority language school system.

The court’s decision to allow a stay of Bill 40 only applies to English school boards across the province.

Read more: Quebec English School Boards Association files legal action against Bill 40, province’s education reform

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The Quebec Superior Court found that QESBA raised valid concerns over the legislation’s constitutionality. In his decision, Judge Sylvain Lussier agreed that the legislation impinges on constitutional anglophone minority rights.

In a statement, QESBA President Dan Lamoureux said he hoped the government would not appeal the court’s decision.

When asked on Monday what the provincial education ministry’s plans were in light of the court’s decision, minister Jean-Francois Roberge said he would consult with lawyers.

“We are fully confident that [the bill] respects the rights of the English community to manage and control their network,” Roberge told reporters.

The education reform known as Bill 40 was adopted in February after the Quebec government invoked closure.

As part of the law, general elections were eliminated for schools within the French-language system. However, English-language service centres still retain the right to hold democratic elections.

The Quebec Community Groups Network, an advocacy group for English-speaking Quebecers, called the decision great news for the community.

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“The ruling means that unwelcome changes to the management of our schools are now on hold while the courts review the constitutionality of Bill 40 — a case that will help clarify the rights of official language minority communities across Canada,” QCGN president Geoffrey Chambers said in a statement.

A court date for the first hearing on the constitutionality of the legislation has not yet been set.

–With files from The Canadian Press

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