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Quebec court sides with English school boards fighting education reform

MONTREAL — A Quebec Superior Court judge has found that parts of a provincial law abolishing school boards violates English-language minority education rights.

In a decision published today, Justice Sylvain Lussier ruled that several sections of the law cannot be applied to English school boards, including those that set limits on who can run for election and sit on the boards.

Bill 40, which was adopted in February 2020, abolished school boards and replaced them with service centres.

The Quebec English School Boards Association challenged the law in court, arguing it violates minority language education rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

They successfully petitioned in 2020 for a stay on its application while awaiting the outcome of the challenge.

Lussier agreed with the school boards that parts of the law would restrict the rights of the English community to control and manage their education system, and that the government failed to justify the violation of rights.

Quebec English School Boards Association spokesman Russell Copeman is calling the decision a big victory and urging the province not to appeal.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 2, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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