Advertisement

Quebec premier vows to appeal ruling after education reform put on hold for English school boards

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to a question during a new conference in Montreal, on Monday, June 15, 2020.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault responds to a question during a new conference in Montreal, on Monday, June 15, 2020. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Quebec Premier François Legault is vowing to appeal a court ruling granting a stay to English school boards challenging his government’s education reform legislation.

“We will contest this judgment,” he told reporters Thursday.

“We think that Bill 40 is well-founded and that we are allowed to change the school boards for service centres, especially that for anglophones we will continue to have elections for some members of the board.”

The contentious law, which was passed in February after the Legault government invoked closure, abolishes Quebec school boards in favour of service centres.

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

Under Bill 40, general elections were eliminated for schools within the French-language system. However, English-language service centres still retain the right to hold democratic elections and were given until November to shift to service centres.

Story continues below advertisement

On Monday, Quebec Superior Court ruled in favour of groups seeking to stay the application of the law in English school boards until a full legal challenge could be heard.

The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) and other groups filed an injunction in May, challenging the governance plan on the basis it doesn’t respect Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The section guarantees minority language educational rights to English-speaking minorities in Quebec.

In his ruling, Judge Sylvain Lussier agreed that the legislation impinges on constitutional anglophone minority rights.

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

“Abolished by law, English-language school boards, spokespersons for the minority, will suffer irreparable damage if the law comes into force,” Lussier wrote.

QESBA welcomed the ruling earlier this week, saying in a statement that it was “very pleased” with the outcome and hoped the government won’t appeal.

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

Click to play video 'Quebec court rules in favour of English school boards challenging education reform' Quebec court rules in favour of English school boards challenging education reform
Quebec court rules in favour of English school boards challenging education reform – Aug 10, 2020

With files from Global News’ Alessia Simona Maratta and the Canadian Press

Advertisement