Charter challenge filed in Quebec regarding the province’s back to school plan

  • September 1, 2020
  • Amanda Dimilta

Parents in Quebec are anxious about their province’s back to school plan, which does not require any students to wear masks in class and which only offers a remote learning option to student’s who provide supportive medical documentation. If students do not attend in person and do not provide a doctor’s note, they will not receive an education.

Quebec was Canada’s hardest-hit province, with the most Covid-19 cases and deaths, yet it is moving aggressively to get elementary and secondary education back to pre-Covid routines.

In a Globe and Mail article dated August 26, 2020, found here (link), Prominent Montreal lawyer Julius Grey filed a legal challenge on behalf of parents who want the option of enrolling their kids in online learning courses without a doctor’s note:

Mr. Grey argues that by depriving parents of this choice, Quebec’s plan violates their Charter right to make decisions related to the health and safety of their children.

“Which decisions are governments allowed to make for individuals? Is it all decisions or is there that sovereign realm of individual decision-making?” he said in an interview. “Our government appears to want to regulate everything.”

A Superior Court hearing is scheduled for September 3, 2020, when Mr. Grey hopes to secure an interim order granting the parents an online-learning option while the case proceeds. We will be following this case and we will provide updates as they become available.

In Ontario, face coverings are required for most students, and efforts are being made to reduce class sizes in certain school boards. For students requiring an online learning option, PPM 164 outlines the requirements for remote learning, and supports the individual consideration of students’ needs. PPM 164 can be found here (link).

If you are concerned about the accommodations in place this school year to support your child’s disability-related needs, you may contact bakerlaw to discuss how we may assist you and your child. For more information regarding return-to-school with Covid-19 precautions, please see this recent post here (link).

Author: Amanda Dimilta

Amanda’s practice at bakerlaw focuses on cases in the area of Education Law and applications to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Her personal experience with navigating the challenges of the education system is an asset to our clients, and we are happy to have her as a member of the bakerlaw team.

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