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Supreme Court Decides to Hear High School’s Appeal for Ethics Course Exemption

Jun. 12, 2013

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Supreme Court Decides to Hear High School’s Appeal for Ethics Course Exemption

The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that it will hear the case of Loyola High School (LHS) and the Attorney General of Quebec.1 LHS argued that, as a religious institution, it has a religious freedom right under the Canadian Charter of Rights to be exempt from having to teach the Quebec Government’s ethics and religious culture program.

LHS has proposed its own curriculum to meet the government’s objectives. That exemption request was rejected by the Minister of Education because the LHS proposal was created from a faith-based perspective rather than a “cultural” approach. LHS brought a motion for judicial review of the Minister’s decision at the Superior Court of Quebec. The Superior Court quashed the Minister’s decision and gave LHS an exemption allowing it to substitute its own program. However, the Court of Appeal sided with the government and confirmed the Minister’s decision.2

LHS will now make its arguments before the Supreme Court of Canada. This case is very important to watch as it will decide the parameters of a religious institution’s claim to the fundamental right to freedom of religion. The hearing date is yet to be set.

1  Loyola High School et al. v. Attorney General of Quebec (Que.) (Civil) (By Leave) (35201)

2  http://www.canlii.org/fr/qc/qcca/doc/2012/2012qcca2139/2012qcca2139.html