1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression , including freedom of the press and other media of communications;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
7. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
13(1) Every person and every class of person shall enjoy the right to education in any school. . . or place of learning, . . . without discrimination because of his or their race, creed, colour, sex, marital status, disability, nationality, ancestry or place of origin.
Only Québec and Saskatchewan guarantee the right to an education in their Human Rights legislation. But, whose right is it?
(1) . . . every parent, guardian or other person having charge of a pupil who is of compulsory school age shall take all steps that are necessary to ensure regular attendance of that pupil:
(a) at the school determined or authorized by the board of education . . .
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more that $100.
Note: §1 Compulsory school age is seven to fifteen, inclusive.
So, (a) attendance at school is compulsory for all children between the ages of seven and fifteen, inclusive (b) attendance is the responsibility of the parent or guardian, who can be sanctioned for failure to comply If the state requires attendance, it would seem to follow that education must be the right of the state, and intended to serve the public good
143(1) Subject to sections 154, 155, and 157, no teacher, trustee, director or other school official shall in any way deprive, or attempt to deprive, a pupil of access to, or the advantage of, the educational services approved and provided by the board of education . . . .
143(2) Where any of the persons mentioned in subsection (1) violates the provisions of that subsection, he shall be disqualified from holding his office or position.
So, school boards and their employees cannot pick and choose the students they wish to educate.
154 (1)(a) A principal may suspend from school for not more than three school days at a time for overt opposition to authority or serious misconduct . . . ;
(2) A principal may suspend from school for not more than ten school days where the principal receives information alleging, and is satisfied, that the pupil has:
(a) persistently displayed overt opposition to authority;
(b) refused to conform to the rules of the school;
(c) been irregular in attendance at school;
(d) habitually neglected his or her duties;
(e) willfully destroyed school property;
(f) used profane or improper language; or
(g) engaged in any other type of gross misconduct.
155 . . . a board of education, by resolution, my exclude from attendance, at any or all schools in the division for a period greater than one year where, in the opinion of the board, it is appropriate to do so . . .
So, school boards and their employees can exclude certain children, for cause.
(1) . . . every person who has attained the age of six years and but has not yet attained the age of 22 years has the right:
(a) to attend school in the division where that person or that person’s parents or guardian reside; and
(b) to receive instruction appropriate to that person’s age and level of educational achievement.
(3) . . . the educational services provided pursuant to this section are to be provided at the cost of the school division, and no fees for tuition, transportation or any other expenses with respect to attendance at school are to be charged with respect to a pupil who is resident in the school division or whose parent or guardian is a resident in the school division.
So, (a) the right to access is limited by age, (b) instruction is to be appropriate to age and level of educational achievement, and (c) residents cannot be charged for educational services.
(1) every person who has attained the age of six years and but has not yet attained the age of 22 years has the right:
(a) to attend a fransaskois school in the francophone education area, that exists or becomes established, in which that person’s parent who is a minority language adult or that person’s guardian is resident, and
(b) to receive instruction appropriate the person’s age and level of educational achievement . . . .
(2) . . . the educational services provided pursuant to subsection (1) are to be provided at the cost of the conseil scolaire . . . .
So, (a) minority language (i.e., Francophone) PARENTS are guaranteed access to a minority language education for their children, (b) instruction is to be appropriate to level of educational achievement, and (c) minority language resident parents cannot be charged for educational services.
Education Act §157 — A pupil may be exempted from attendance . . . and no parent, guardian or other person is liable to conviction for an offence pursuant to section 156 where:
(1) (a) the pupil is under a program of instruction elsewhere with the approval of the board.
(b) the pupil is in attendance at a registered independent school;
(c) the pupil is receiving instruction in a registered home-based education program;
(d) the pupil is unable to attend school by reason of:
(i) illness. . .
(ii) or other unavoidable cause . . . ;
(e) the distance to a school . . . or to a school bus route is in excess of four kilometers . . . ;
(f) the pupil has been suspended or expelled from school;
(g) the pupil has been excluded . . . under The Public Health Act ;
(h) the director . . . is of the opinion . . . that continued attendance at school is not productive or is detrimental to the pupil or to the school;
(i) the pupil is engaged in work-experience or other educational program . . . ;
(j) the pupil is absent on a holy day . . .
(k) the pupil is absent . . . for the purpose of receiving medical or dental treatment; or
(l) the pupil accompanies his parent or guardian on extended travel outside the division
So, (a) there are a number of exceptions to the “rule” (b) while attendance at school is generally compulsory for all children between the ages of seven and fifteen, inclusive, attendance does not have to be at a public school
If Education is a “private good,” the benefits of which belong to the individual, whether parent or child, then that individual ought to be able to direct the public funds provided for education to the educational institution of his or her choice.
If education is a “public good,” the benefits of which belong to the state as a whole, then the state should determine where public funds should be spent, such that the public expenditure will promote the objectives of the state to the greatest degree possible. Individual preferences of parents or children are largely irrelevant.
International Declarations Concerning Parental Rights in Education
United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 26(3) - Parents have a prior right to choose the kinds of education that shall be given to their children.
The European Convention on Human Rights, 1950
First Protocol - No person shall be denied the right to education. In the exercise of any functions which it assumes in relation to education and to teaching, the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
Article 13.3 - . . . respect for the liberty of parents . . . to choose for their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, which conform to minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State . . . .
If education is a “public good, “ how do we accommodate those who believe that the education provided in the public schools is not appropriate to their beliefs and/or their children’s needs.
Should we even concern ourselves with this question? If we should . . .
What is the best way to accommodate religious, cultural and/or linguistic diversity? What is FAIR?
The Constitution Act 1982 ( B.N.A. Act 1867) VI. Distribution of Legislative Powers §93 - Education
93. In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation to Education, subject and according to the following provisions:
1. Nothing in any such law shall prejudicially affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union;
2. All the Powers, Privileges, and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of the Queen's Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen's Protestant and Roman Catholic Subjects in Quebec;
3. Where in any Province a System of Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen's Subjects in relation to Education;
4. In case any such Provincial Law as from Time to Time seems to the Governor General in Council requisite for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section is not made, or in case any Decision of the Governor General in Council on any Appeal under this Section is not duly executed by the proper Provincial Authority in that Behalf, then and in every such case, and as far only as the Circumstances of each Case require, the Parliament of Canada may make remedial Laws for the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section and of any Decision of the Governor General in Council under this Section.
Provincial Provision for Separate, Denominational, and Dissentient Schools
Public and Denominational No Legal
Separate Systems Systems Provision
Alberta Quebec British Columbia
(Now Language based)
Ontario New Brunswick
Prince Edward Island
Newfoundland Consolidated School Districts
What are the principle aims of the Roman Catholic school?
A. Integration of culture, faith and living
i. To provide Christ as a constant model upon whom to “shape life”
ii. To provide contemporary models (Catholic teachers) of faith in action (Witness)
iii. To create an inclusive, consistent and distinctively Catholic learning environment - a Catholic spiritual community
B. To provide explicit Catholic religious instruction, consistent with the implicit or “latent” curriculum
How are these aims related to the role of the church?
Really, the role of the Catholic Church and the Catholic school are synonymous
A. The church has an Evangelical Mission and a Salvic Mission, “She must proclaim the good news of salvation to all, generate new creatures in Christ through Baptism, and train them to live knowingly as children of God.”
B. “The school is a centre where a specific concept of the world, of man, and of history is developed and conveyed.”
The Roman Catholics claim that their schools have a distinctive role to play in a pluralistic society. What is this role?
A. There is, “a pressing need to ensure the presence of a Christian mentality in the society of the present day, marked, among other things, by cultural pluralism. For it is Christian thought which constitutes a sound criterion of judgement in the midst of conflicting concepts and behaviour. ‘Reference to Jesus Christ teaches man to discern the values which ennoble from those which degrade him.’”
B. Through Catholic education, “children, then, will be capable both of resisting the debilitating influence of relativism and of living up to the demands made on them by their Baptism.” Thus, citizens will be created who can make a positive contribution to the greater society.
C. “The Church is prompted to mobilize her educational resources in the face of the materialism, pragmatism and technocracy of contemporary society.”
Enrolment By Control, Saskatchewan, Data from Saskatchewan Education 21% 78.4% .6%
Denominational schools can hire only those teachers who belong to the church and can demonstrate adherence to its teachings. In the Catholic context, this usually means a letter from the applicant’s parish priest.
Catholic teachers who are employed by Catholic school systems are required to provide “witness” to the morality taught in church doctrine and required of church members by Canon Law. In practical terms, this means that these teachers can (and frequently are) sanctioned for failure to live up to these standards in their personal lives. Dismissal for this reason is referred to as “ denominational cause.”
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms §23: Minority Language Education Rights
Canadian Citizens who are:
(1)(a) Parents whose first language learned and understood is that of either the French or English minority of the province where they reside.
(1)(b) Parents who received their primary education in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where that is the minority language.
(2) Parents of whom any child has received or is receiving primary or secondary instruction in English or French have the right to have all their children educated in the same language.
(3)(a) Rights under subsections (1) & (2) apply wherever in province the numbers of children warrant minority language education provided out of public funds.
(3)(b) Right includes, where numbers warrant, the right to have the children receive that instruction in minority language educational facilities provided out of public funds.