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Religion, éducation et politiques publiques

The scholarly study of religion and education in Canada is an expansive, interdisciplinary area encompassing a range of foci such as confessional instruction, the relationship of church and state, teacher training, curricular content and matters related to teaching about religion as an academic subject. Likewise, a multitude of Canadian Supreme Court decisions have shaped and continue to reshape public policy around the complexities of religion and education in this multicultural country. These cases have dealt with a range of issues such as religious freedom, parental agency, discrimination, public funding, and broad questions related to the nation’s evolving landscape of religious diversity. For example, in the landmark case of Multani v. Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys (2006), the refusal of a Sikh student’s request to wear a kirpan at public school was declared to be an infringement of religious freedom. In S.L. v. Commission scolaire des Chênes (2012), Québec’s compulsory Ethics and Religious Culture Program was at the center of a challenge brought by parents who sought to exempt their children from the course. The Court denied the exemption request on the basis that learning about religious diversity neither harmed students nor infringed upon the religious freedom of parents or children. The anti-Semitic writings of a public school teacher in Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15 (1996), brought attention to the issue of religious discrimination and resulted in the removal of the teacher from his classroom. In another key case, appellants from minority religious traditions in Adler v. Ontario (1996) unsuccessfully challenged the constitutionality of exclusive public funding for Roman Catholic schools in Ontario. While this list is not exhaustive, it does demonstrate the scope of legal challenges pertaining to religion and education that have reached Canada’s highest court.

D 20 juin 2017    AChristine L. Cusack

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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