Community / Press Release

EMSB disappointed with Bill 21 Court of Appeal decision

Montreal - Thursday, December 12, 2019

Today, the Quebec Court of Appeal rejected the application to stay Bill 21, the provincial government’s ban on religious symbols in certain sectors of the provincial public service. This applies to the education sector for teachers and school principals.

The English Montreal School Board has been very concerned with the impact of Bill 21 on its staff and on the culture in its schools and centres and is very disappointed with the Quebec Court of Appeal decision. The EMSB was not involved in these specific legal proceedings leading up to today’s decision, but the Council of Commissioners has brought a court challenge to the constitutionality of the law, which is expected to be heard in October of 2020.

Bill 21, An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State, came into force on July 16 and bars public school teachers, government lawyers, judges and police officers from wearing religious symbols while at work.  As such individual citizens and public institutions like the EMSB are subject to all laws and regulations that have been adopted by the Parliaments of Quebec and Canada.

The case before the court today was brought by The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), claiming Bill 21 harms minority groups in Quebec and limits employment opportunities.

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