As readers of the GAJE weekly update know, the federal government gave Ontario $763 million, part of a Safe Return to Class Fund, specifically earmarked to protect the health and safety of children in Ontario’s education sector. Queen’s Park however distributed not one penny of the fund for the benefit of the 150,000 children in independent schools even though the figure of $763 million itself was based on the number of children ages 4-18 attending all schools in Ontario.
This week Toronto Cheder, Metropolitan Preparatory Academy in Toronto, and Woodland Christian High School in Kitchener appeared in court to try to compel the Government of Ontario to distribute some portion at least of the $763 million for the health and safety of children attending independent schools. The court reserved its decision in the case and hopes to bring it forth by the return to school in September.
By denying independent schools any part of the funds intended to assist schools in enacting safety measures to cope with and stave off the dangerous effects of the pandemic, the Government of Ontario has shown an inexplicable, inexcusable indifference to the health and safety of children in independent schools. Why?
In explaining the government’s decision, its lawyers told the court that the law (i.e., Ontario educational funding policy) allows the government to distribute funds to public schools alone. Indeed, they deliberately and misleadingly referred to independent schools as businesses. They seemed unmoved by the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic created a public health crisis that affected the children in Ontario’s independent schools. There was no legal obligation upon the Minister of Education, the lawyers argued, to pay any heed to the impact of the ubiquitous Corona virus on children in non-public schools.
As readers of this weekly update also know, GAJE will also be going to court to try to bring an end to Ontario’s educational funding that discriminates against independent religious and other non-religious independent schools in favour of Catholic schools.
Once again, as we have done each week for the past many, we turn to you for help.
The cost for prosecuting the case, from the trial all the way to the Supreme Court is approximately $250,000. To date, we have raised nearly a third of the required funds. Please help us raise the balance.
Ontario’s indifference to the dangerous COVID-19 health ramifications for children attending independent schools should proves, finally, that behind-the-scenes lobbying or private/public attempts at moral suasion in bringing about an end to the discrimination in Ontario’s educational funding simply do not work. The courts now are our only option.
This is our generation’s opportunity to try to end the funding discrimination that has existed in Ontario for more than 25 years. If we do not try, who will? It is an imperative that calls upon our consciences
Please help us make this happen! And please tell your friends to join in our effort.
To donate to this important cause, please click here.
(For further information, please contact Israel Mida at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used only and exclusively to underwrite the costs of the lawsuit.
Be safe. Be well.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
August 13, 2021