Montreal

EMSB announces it won't implement religious symbols ban

As the Coalition Avenir Québec government gets set to introduce its religious symbols ban, the English Montreal School Board is already saying it won't implement it.

'This proposed legislation would be contrary to the values the EMSB teaches its children,' EMSB HR chair said

Public workers in positions of authority would not be allowed to wear religious symbols, according to legislation being introduced Thursday. (Michael Conroy/Associated Press)

As the Coalition Avenir Québec government gets set to introduce its religious symbols ban, the English Montreal School Board is already saying it won't implement it.

The EMSB adopted a resolution stating "its strong opposition to any legislation that prohibits or restricts its employees from wearing religious symbols," it said in a news release Wednesday.

The CAQ's bill is expected to prohibit public workers in positions of authority from wearing a religious symbol such as a hijab or kippa — and that would include teachers and principals. A grandfather clause in the bill would exempt teachers already working in the classroom.

"This proposed legislation would be contrary to the values the EMSB teaches its children, in particular, values of diversity, acceptance, tolerance and respect for individual rights and religious freedoms," said Julien Feldman, the chair of the EMSB human resources committee.

Feldman called an emergency meeting in February to discuss the religious symbols ban, which Quebec Premier François Legault said he wanted settled by summer.

Teachers, parents and administrators pledged at that time that they would fight it.

Angela Mancini, the EMSB's chair, said the wearing of religious symbols by teachers has no impact on students.

"We believe in the secularity of the state while still supporting an individual's right to freedom of religion," she said.

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