Quebec Court of Appeal rejects EMSB request to stay application of Bill 21

A woman takes part in a demonstration following a Superior Court ruling on Bill 21, Quebec's secularism law, in Montreal on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Quebec’s Court of Appeal has rejected the English Montreal School Board’s (EMSB) request for a stay in applying Bill 21, the province’s secularism law, and to allow the hiring of teachers who wear religious symbols for now.

The law  bans public employees like teachers, judges and police officers from wearing religious symbols on the job.

In April, a Quebec Superior Court judge’s ruling found that parts of the law could not apply to English schools because of their special constitutional rights. However, the Quebec government decided to appeal that decision.

In response, the EMSB asked that the law not be applied while the appeal was being heard. On Tuesday, however, the Court of Appeal denied that request.

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In a statement, the EMSB said it, “is disappointed with a Quebec Court of Appeal’s interim ruling that refused to stay the application of Bill 21 and permit the temporary hiring of principals, vice-principals and teachers who wear religious symbols.”

The statement said that if their request was granted it would’ve given the board more options for hiring when there’s a teacher shortage in the province.

The statement quoted board chair Joe Ortona as saying, “We remain committed to continue our challenge to Bill 21 and to defend our exclusive right to manage and control our institutions in accordance with our culture.”

Click to play video: 'EMSB clashes with Quebec over Bill 21 court battle'
EMSB clashes with Quebec over Bill 21 court battle

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