As the last page from the calendar year 2022 falls away tomorrow night, we provide a brief update summary of developments in our legal challenge to Ontario’s ongoing, discriminatory refusal to fund Jewish day schools. Regular readers of this weekly update will be familiar with the following details.
In early September 2022, we reported that the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) wished to intervene in support of GAJE’s case at the Superior Court. The governments of Ontario and Canada at first opposed OFIS’s request. Shortly before the Superior Court hearing, OFIS and the governments reached an agreement on OFIS’s joining the case. The Court approved the agreement with GAJE’s concurrence on October 3, paving the way for OFIS to participate as amicus curiae, a “friend of the court” in our application.
To obtain the consent of the governments, OFIS agreed not to participate in the motion of the governments to strike our case and to abide by certain evidentiary filing restrictions on the main constitutional law application launched by GAJE and some individual plaintiffs.
OFIS’s participation will strengthen our case. OFIS was established in 1974. It is the largest independent school association in Ontario with 97 affiliated schools. It is also the most diverse, with membership from faith-based schools, culturally-based schools, alternative educational schools, special needs and neurodiverse schools, community-based schools, and arts and athletics schools. Independent schools are attended by more than 150,000 students, or 6.9% of all students enrolled in the province.
The government’s motion to strike our application is scheduled to be heard on April 20, 2023.We remain confident our case will go forward. It has merit. We believe the Ontario Ministry of Education bases its discriminatory educational funding policy on outdated, incorrect information and upon now-dispelled myths about public funding for independent schools.
A recent publication by Cardus, the public policy think tank, entitled Naturally Diverse: The Landscape of Independent Schools in Ontario, provides current, detailed information on Ontario’s independent schools. We brought this important report to the attention of our readers and supporters at the time it was published. Its authors – David Hunt, Joanna DeJong VanHof and Jenisa Los – enable the public to understand exactly who and what the province’s independent schools are. Equally important, they enable government officials to make public policy based upon fact, not myth and in the process put paid to the harmful, false notion that extending any funds to independent schools would provide taxpayer funds to the well-heeled families of the province’s elite schools.
The authors conclusively prove that independent schools are a multi-purpose, multi-faceted, multi-pedagogical tapestry of diverse families and students. They are definitively NOT a bastion of elite, top tier schools. Only 61 of the 1,445 independent schools – 4.2%, or 16% of the students – are “top tier” schools, while religious school students account for 44% of students in independent schools.
The Cardus report can be found at:
If GAJE succeeds in its pursuit of justice and the end of discrimination in educational funding policy in Ontario, the outcome has the potential of helping make Jewish education in Ontario more affordable in perpetuity for all the families that seek it for their children.
We know that you understand the importance of our cause.
If you wish to contribute to GAJE’s lawsuit for fairness in educational funding, 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 for the sole purpose of underwriting the costs of the lawsuit.
Best wishes for a healthy, meaningful coming year of manifold blessings for our community and for the world
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
December 30, 2022