Community / Press Release

EMSB disappointed with Quebec Court of Appeal ruling on Bill 21

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Montreal - Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The English Montreal School Board is disappointed with a Quebec Court of Appeal’s interim ruling  that refused to stay the application of Bill 21 and permit the temporary hiring of new principals, vice-principals and teachers who wear religious symbols.

Last April, a Quebec Superior Court decision found that Bill 21, An Act Respecting the Laicity of the State, violated the English-language minority’s constitutionally protected right to manage and control its institutions and exempted English-language school boards from its application. Bill 21 bars public-school teachers, government lawyers, judges and police officers from wearing religious symbols while at work.  Because the Quebec government appealed the decision, the EMSB and other English-language school boards are still unable to hire new principals, vice-principals and teachers who wear religious symbols.

On October 18 the EMSB asked a judge of the Court of Appeal to be exempted from Bill 21 before the appeal is decided, which will take longer than a year.  

“This decision does not in any way determine the merits of the case,” said  EMSB Chair Joe Ortona. “We remain committed to continue our challenge to Bill 21 and to defend our exclusive right to manage and control our institutions in accordance with our culture.”

Mr. Ortona added that a favorable judgment would also have given the EMSB much needed hiring options at a time when there is a province-wide teacher shortage.

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic line, the  network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at

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