RELEASE: Alberta Government again threatens to defund schools which do not remove religious content from school policies

Posted on Nov 14, 2018 in Justice Update, Latest Updates, News Releases

  • Ministerial Order forces government’s “Safe and Caring” policies on independent schools that are non-compliant in Minister’s opinion
  • Minister continues to refuse to explain his opinion

The Justice Centre has responded to the Alberta Minister of Education’s Order to impose blanket government policies on schools who he has deemed non-compliant with section 45.1 of the Alberta School Act.

The Order, issued this morning, imposes a policy of the Minister’s creation onto schools whose policies, in his opinion, are non-compliant with section 45.1 of the School Act.

The Order effectively replaces the schools’ own policies, which respect the unique religious character and identity of each school, with policies mandated by government.

The Minister’s Order also requires schools to commit to collaborate against the constitutionally-protected interests of parents by agreeing to restrict information from parents about their young children’s activities in GSAs.

In September, the Minister gave notice to schools that they cannot include references to “truth”, “male and female”, the Bible, and other religious references, in their Safe and Caring policies.  Further correspondence (123) shows the Education Minister justifying his ban on faith references in religious school policies solely based on his opinion, without explaining (for example) how or why “truth” is contrary to “diversity.”

“The Minister’s Order to impose his will without explanation, regardless of child safety and regardless of parental rights that are protected by the Alberta Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, suggest this Order is not properly grounded in law,” states Jay Cameron, counsel for the Appellant schools and parents in the Bill 24 challenge.

The legal challenge to the constitutionality of sections of the School Act, including section 45.1, is ongoing. A court hearing is currently scheduled for December 3, 2018.