At tonight’s special Council meeting, the Council of Commissioners of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) unanimously adopted a resolution to declare its support to the English Montreal School Board in their legal challenge against Bill 96 (An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec).
The SWLSB Council considers that parts of Bill 96 contravene the English-speaking community’s rights to manage and control their educational institutions as per section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Council does not believe that the Québec government has acted in the best interest of Québec citizens, whether English-speaking or French-speaking, with the adoption of Bill 96 on May 24.
“We have always proudly promoted our school board tagline of An English Education, A bilingual Future. Although we agree that we must protect the French language, this Bill clearly violates our constitutional rights and that is why the Council of Commissioners is supporting EMSB, in this legal proceeding. Bill 96 is divisive and we are very concerned about the repercussions it will have on English-speaking Quebecers. We need to stand united now more than ever.” said Mr. Paolo Galati, SWLSB Chairperson.
With a workforce of more than 2,000 employees, the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board is the third largest English school board of the Province of Québec and boasts an impressive graduation rate of 88.1%. Its territory comprises the administrative regions of Laval, Lanaudière and the Laurentides. The school board provides preschool, elementary, secondary, adult education and vocational training services to over 14,000 students in 35 schools and 4 centres, as well as business training services.