Readers of this weekly update know that Ontario Superior Court Justice Eugenia Papageorgiou reserved her judgment last week on the motion brought by the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada to strike GAJE’s application for fairness in funding education in Ontario.
As of the date of this writing, Judge Papageorgiou has not yet delivered her decision. When GAJE learns the result, readers will too.
We reported last week that counsel for the governments steadfastly maintained that the 1996 Adler decision by the Supreme Court “was entirely dispositive of the application”. They argued that GAJE had failed to show compelling new circumstances or an evolution in the law since 1996 to warrant re-assessing the applicability of the Adler decision to our application. Thus, the Attorneys General advocated that our application should be dismissed at this early stage without any consideration of the merits of our case.
As we further reported last week, in response to the Attorneys General, GAJE’s counsel, David Matas and Jillian Siskind, spoke substantively, forcefully and often eloquently, reminding the judge that GAJE and the other applicants in the case are not seeking special treatment from the government. Rather, we are seeking equal treatment.
The following are brief restatements of some of the key arguments made by GAJE’s counsel:
• GAJE’s application is a community-based claim that aims to correct an injustice and an inequality. It’s time to put an end to discrimination in educational funding. There is nothing [in the sections of the Constitution enshrining educational funding] stopping the government from legislating for paying towards all other religious schools in the province.
• Ontario has a choice. It has chosen to fund [the education of] only one religious group.
• Favoring one religion over another is no longer tolerable in Ontario in the year 2023. The concept of equality had less “traction” in 1996 than it has in 2023. 2023 is a different world than it was in 1996.
• GAJE does not seek to alter the operation of S.93 in the Constitution [re: educational funding]. GAJE seeks to remedy the [operational injustice of the] Education Act.
GAJE’s counsel reminded the court that the Attorneys General had agreed some months ago that the Ontario Federation of Independent Schools (OFIS) could have intervenor status in the application itself challenging the fairness of Ontario’s funding only one religious grouping in the province.
The decision by the Attorneys not to oppose the request by OFIS to take part in the full hearing on the merits of the case seems to be clearly at odds with their request of Judge Papageorigiou to prevent that hearing – any hearing – on those merits.
And so, we await the judge’s decision.
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: email@example.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.
Grassroots for Affordable Jewish Education (GAJE)
April 28, 2023