Ending glaring injustice not on Ontario’s agenda

Last week, Premier Doug Ford unveiled his new cabinet to the people of Ontario.

He used weighty language in setting forth his governmental agenda. He called for Ontarians to be united and to work together. “With big challenges ahead, including an uncertain global economic climate, now is the time for unity and working together,” said Premier Ford. “Our government will be relentless in delivering on our ambitious plan to grow our economy and build infrastructure as we leave no stone unturned when it comes to solving the historic labour shortage. It’s all hands on deck.”

But the premier extended no hand of inclusion to the parents of the 150,000 children in independent schools who receive no funding whatsoever for the education of their children. The unity he urges for Ontarians obviously does not include us.

Ontario appears to have chosen to perpetuate an unconscionable policy of unequal justice in educational funding, to perpetuate what the late Keith Landy, then-chair of the Ontario region of the Canadian Jewish Congress, called some 25 years ago, a “glaring injustice” in refusing even to fund health support services for children in independent school as it does for children in public schools.

The premier wishes “to grow our economy and build infrastructure.” But he appears unaware that strengthening independent schools actually strengthens the entire educational enterprise of the province. A strengthened, thriving overall educational system, of course, is vital for a strong economy. This is not simply GAJE’s view. This is the conclusion of all of the other provinces, apart from the Atlantic provinces, who do provide some funding to independent schools. This is also the conclusion of most of the countries of Europe where the term “publicly funded schools” does include independent schools.

In addition, according to studies conducted by the Fraser Institute, extending some funding to independent schools improves overall educational outcomes and can actually lead to cost efficiencies for the overall provincial educational budget.

There are indeed significant substantive reasons to extend at least some public funding to independent schools. But the most profound reason for doing so is to remove the shame from Ontario for not rectifying the long lingering injustice and unfairness in the school funding.

How is it possible, let alone morally correct, that in the year 2022, Ontario should support and effectively prefer and help sustain one religion to the exclusion of other religions?

Ontario’s educational funding policy is not morally correct. To the contrary, it is morally flawed. It is long past time that this blatant discrimination should end. In the year 2022, Ontarians should not have to beg or plead with the government to act fairly and to end a glaring injustice.

Perhaps Stephen Lecce, renewed as the Minister of Education, will make the case to the premier?

•••

GAJE has launched an application in court to remedy the government’s unfair, unjust educational funding. If you wish to contribute to funding GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.

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

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Happy Canada Day

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

July 1, 2022

Ending glaring injustice not on Ontario’s agenda

Last week, Premier Doug Ford unveiled his new cabinet to the people of Ontario.

He used weighty language in setting forth his governmental agenda. He called for Ontarians to be united and to work together. “With big challenges ahead, including an uncertain global economic climate, now is the time for unity and working together,” said Premier Ford. “Our government will be relentless in delivering on our ambitious plan to grow our economy and build infrastructure as we leave no stone unturned when it comes to solving the historic labour shortage. It’s all hands on deck.”

But the premier extended no hand of inclusion to the parents of the 150,000 children in independent schools who receive no funding whatsoever for the education of their children. The unity he urges for Ontarians obviously does not include us.

Ontario appears to have chosen to perpetuate an unconscionable policy of unequal justice in educational funding, to perpetuate what the late Keith Landy, then-chair of the Ontario region of the Canadian Jewish Congress, called some 25 years ago, a “glaring injustice” in refusing even to fund health support services for children in independent school as it does for children in public schools.

The premier wishes “to grow our economy and build infrastructure.” But he appears unaware that strengthening independent schools actually strengthens the entire educational enterprise of the province. A strengthened, thriving overall educational system, of course, is vital for a strong economy. This is not simply GAJE’s view. This is the conclusion of all of the other provinces, apart from the Atlantic provinces, who do provide some funding to independent schools. This is also the conclusion of most of the countries of Europe where the term “publicly funded schools” does include independent schools.

In addition, according to studies conducted by the Fraser Institute, extending some funding to independent schools improves overall educational outcomes and can actually lead to cost efficiencies for the overall provincial educational budget.

There are indeed significant substantive reasons to extend at least some public funding to independent schools. But the most profound reason for doing so is to remove the shame from Ontario for not rectifying the long lingering injustice and unfairness in the school funding.

How is it possible, let alone morally correct, that in the year 2022, Ontario should support and effectively prefer and help sustain one religion to the exclusion of other religions?

Ontario’s educational funding policy is not morally correct. To the contrary, it is morally flawed. It is long past time that this blatant discrimination should end. In the year 2022, Ontarians should not have to beg or plead with the government to act fairly and to end a glaring injustice.

Perhaps Stephen Lecce, renewed as the Minister of Education, will make the case to the premier?

•••

GAJE has launched an application in court to remedy the government’s unfair, unjust educational funding. If you wish to contribute to funding GAJE’s lawsuit, please click here.

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

Charitable receipts for donations for income tax purposes will be issued by Mizrachi Canada. Your donations will be used for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.

•••

Shabbat shalom

Happy Canada Day

Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)

July 1, 2022

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