Dozens of protesters occupied the constituency office of Quebec’s education minister, Marie Malavoy, demanding better access to education for non-status immigrant children, children who are not in Canada legally.
Members of the activist group Collectif éducation sans frontières began their protest at Malavoy’s Longueuil office Tuesday morning asking the minister makes a commitment to open Quebec’s primary and secondary schools the children, without fees, by January 2014.
“Minister Malavoy has been Minister of Education for more than one year, and she was informed on her first day in office that non-status kids can’t access public schooling," said Nicolas Quiazua, a member of the Collectif éducation sans frontières.
"She has refused to act on this injustice, and even refuses to engage our collective or the mainstream media on this issue. The only way to get her attention, and force her to act, is through this occupation.”
However, representatives from Malavoy's office say they are surprised by the group’s claims.
"We did a lot of things," said Mathieu White, Malavoy's press secretary.
"If these measures are not sufficient, we will see if we can take other administrative steps."
In June, Quebec announced it was easing its rules of admission to the school system for the children of
immigrants, who have no legal status in the country..
Representatives from the Ministry of Education say these measures enabled hundreds of children, mostly on the island of Montreal, to attend school in September 2013.
Collectif éducation sans frontières claims that in some cases, children were not able to register and in other cases, they were able to register only after paying $5,000 to $6,000 per child.
By Tuesday afternoon, the protesters left the site and no arrests were made.