Ontario’s discrimination being noticed at home and abroad

Ontario’s anachronistic, unfair, discriminatory educational funding policies are not only an abiding concern for GAJE and for the parents of children attending Jewish day schools or indeed all independent schools in the province. They have now also caught the wider attention of scholars and students at home and abroad.

For example, Prof. David S. Koffman of York University, has recently edited an anthology of essays under the deliberately provocative title No Better Home: Jews, Canada, and the Sense of Belonging, (University of Toronto Press, 2021). He has assembled an impressive array of scholars to provide singular aspects to the many-aspected question: ‘has there ever been a better home for the Jews than Canada?’

One of those scholars is Prof. Randal F. Schnoor of the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University. Prof. Schnoor specializes in the qualitative study of contemporary Canadian Jewish life. In the essay, Jewish Education in Canada and the United Kingdom, he insightfully examines primarily the strength of Jewish day school education in Canada by comparing it with that in the United Kingdom. The essay is instructive and rich in detail regarding the historic and current approach to the funding of Jewish education throughout Canada. Prof. Schnoor pays particular attention to the day school situation in Greater Toronto. When he does, of course, he focuses with laser clarity on the crisis of affordability. He even cites and footnotes data provided GAJE.

“Many Jews in Ontario feel that their rights of equal citizenship are being violated,” Prof. Schnoor notes in reference to Ontario’s discriminatory educational funding policies. However, in answer to the question, “No better home for Jews than Canada?” Prof. Schnoor responds rather bitingly: “For those who are convinced that Jewish day schools are essential for perpetuating Jewish culture into future generations – and there are many who are so convinced – there are better homes for Jews than Canada. There are other countries that have structural conditions in place that make these schools much more affordable and thus allow for a more widespread immersion of Jewish culture into the lives of young Jews.” (Our emphasis)

In another example of the head-shaking wrought by Ontario’s unfair policies, an M.A. student in the Department of Political Science at Tel Aviv University recently contacted GAJE to assist her with research for the thesis she is writing on “government funding of religious education in the liberal state.”  Her thesis focuses on the difference in educational funding for the Jewish communities in Toronto and in Montreal.

The writer stated that she is “eager to show that the Jewish community is doing its utmost to maintain and develop its education system, and therefore is ready to fight the [Ontario’s funding] policy.” As a result, she contacted GAJE to ascertain:

• if our legal initiative is the most recent one;

• whether there were other initiatives of this nature in the past, and

• whether there are/were other grassroot, non-profit organizations involved in the campaign to change Ontario’s education policies.

GAJE answered the questions she posed. The writer wished us good luck in our legal campaign to bring fairness to a patently unfair funding system.

There is no doubt that it is becoming more widely known that Ontario is the only province in Canada that fully funds the education of the adherents of one faith alone (Roman Catholics) within its public education system; and that it is the only province outside the Maritimes that does not contribute any funding whatsoever to the general studies portion of its independent schools.

We therefore seek your help…

…in ending Ontario’s discrimination in educational funding by helping bringing the case to the courts.

Our lawyers are donating much of their time and expertise. The cost for prosecuting the case, from the trial phase to the end of an appeal in the Supreme Court is in the range of $250,000. Thus far we have raised about a quarter of the funds needed. We need your help to raise the rest. Ours is a one-time request to cover legal costs through to the outcome at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Please join us in making this happen! Please tell your friends to join in our effort.

This is our generation’s opportunity to fight for equal citizenship, to correct the funding discrimination that has existed in Ontario for more than 25 years.  If we do not try to end the injustice, who will?

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada.

To donate to this important cause, please click here.

For further information, please contact Israel Mida at imida1818@gmail.com

 •••

Be safe. Be well.

Thank you.

Shabbat shalom.

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)  

July 16, 2021

Posted in Uncategorized
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