Supreme Court of Canada Renders Ruling on Application for Exemption from Ethics and Religious Culture Program

Plaintiffs Disappointed Over Court Decision

MONTREAL, Feb. 17, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Supreme Court of Canada rendered its ruling today in the case of "S.L. v. Commission scolaire des Chênes (no. 33678)", in which it rejected the request of the parents of two children attending public school in Drummondville to obtain an exemption from the Ethics and Religious Culture program (ERC).

"This decision supports the rulings rendered by the Superior Court and Court of Appeal of Québec," said Mark Phillips, Regional Leader of the Public Law Group at BLG's Montréal office and counsel for the parents before the Supreme Court of Canada. "However, while the end result of Superior Court's ruling has been confirmed, its grounds have yet to be acknowledged."

According to the Supreme Court's ruling, rendered today, the issue lies in insufficient proof of the fact that the application's rejection impeded the parents' ability to raise their children in their faith. Ultimately, they lost the case because the burden of proof was on them.

The mother of the children involved said she was "very disappointed with the ruling, as it is a loss for many parents across Québec who wish to raise their children according to their faith. Who can weigh prejudice toward a child when it comes to faith? How can we provide objective proof and who can dismiss a parent's voice as an expert?"

"In this case, one must avoid the conclusion that today's ruling validates the program's constitutionality," said Mark. "These are disappointing results for the parents involved."

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SOURCE Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

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Tricia Weagant
Ketchum Public Relations


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