Next week, on April 20, GAJE’s lawyers will be in court responding to a motion brought by the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada that seeks to strike our application for fair educational funding. The governments are trying to have our case dismissed before we have even had an opportunity to argue its substantive merits. They allege that our application discloses no cause of action and therefore deserves no hearing.
As readers of this weekly update know, GAJE’s application ultimately asks the court to order the governments to act fairly towards the non-Catholic members of Ontario in the vital matter of educational funding. We are asking the court to declare that the refusal by the governments of Ontario and Canada to fully fund Jewish day schools in Ontario breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Our lawsuit addresses the fundamental, even brazen, unfairness of school funding in Ontario. In our province, Roman Catholic schools receive full public funding while the schools of other religions receive nothing. This arrangement stands in stark contrast to five other provinces – Quebec and all the provinces west of Ontario – where independent schools, including religious schools, receive public funding. We believe that Ontario’s discriminatory policy breaches the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that this discrimination must finally end. Years of waiting, lobbying and hoping for successive Ontario governments to change this policy have been in vain. Because we have no other recourse to achieve justice and fairness in funding, we are now turning to the courts.
Ontario justifies its ongoing discriminatory funding practice on the Supreme Court’s decision in 1996, that provided legal sanction for its discrimination. And so, relying upon that decision, the attorneys general have decided to try to prevent the court from deliberating upon the important issues that cry out for consideration for all Ontario families some three decades later.
In the intervening 27 years since the 1996 decision, the facts and circumstances surrounding educational funding have significantly changed. The law too has begun to evolve to comprehend and try to accommodate those changed circumstances.
It is a sad comment that the governments prefer to prevent a full airing of the issue of fairness in educational funding, rather than let the courts help guide them to a better embrace of all of the issues underlying the funding anachronism for the benefit of all Ontario families. Thus, we head to court next week, placing our trust in the wisdom of our judges. We will share the decision of the court with GAJE supporters as soon as we have one.
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.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
April 14, 2023