Press release and invitation to a press conference today at 11am : On Universal Children’s Day, almost 50 years since the creation of the Ministry of Education, Quebec remains among the rare places where students are barred from schools on the basis of immigration status

Press release and invitation to a press conference

 

Almost 50 years since the creation of the Ministry of Education, Quebec remains among the rare places where students are barred from schools on the basis of immigration status

 

What : Press conference
When
 : Sunday, November 20th, 2016, 11am
Where
 : 400 Sainte-Catherine East, the Aquin Pavillion of UQAM, room 1730

Montreal, November 20th, 2016: On Universal Children’s Day, the Education Across Borders Collective will be sharing its profound concern about hundreds, if not thousands of children in Quebec who continue to be barred from schools on the basis of their immigration status. Still today, no measure has been enacted to enable them to access Quebec schools.

A motion [1] was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly on September 28th, 2016, committing the Assembly to act, “as quickly as possible” to remove barriers to these children, by amending Quebec’s Law on Public Education, but no bill has been tabled since. The motion was presented jointly by the Minister of Education and the leaders of the other three political parties.

The Education Across Borders Collective questions the priorities of the Minister of Education, who is currently holding consultations on the future of education. While these consultations focus on educational achievement, they do not talk about the hundreds or thousands of children who, according to reports by the Quebec Ombudsperson and the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, are excluded from schools [2].

On Universal Children’s Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Quebec’s Law on Public Education does not respect article 28 of this convention, nor does it respect other conventions meant to enshrine universal access to education without discrimination.

In November 2014, the Quebec Ombudsperson released a report “concluding that all children between six and sixteen years of age, living on the territory of Quebec, must have access to free public education and attend primary or secondary school, regardless of their immigration status or that of their parents“ [3]. Two years later, no changes have been enacted.

At its press conference, the Education Across Borders Collective and invited guests will address the issue of access to schools as well as other forms of discrimination against children without status in Quebec. The Collective will also share some reflections on its five years of efforts.


References :

1. The motion adopted on September 28th reads as follows : “Que l’Assemblée nationale reconnaisse que le statut d’immigration d’un enfant résidant au Québec ne soit pas une contrainte à l’accessibilité à l’enseignement primaire et secondaire gratuitement, et ce, dans l’esprit de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant, adoptée par l’Assemblée générale des Nations Unies, à laquelle le gouvernement du Québec s’est déclaré lié le 9 décembre 1991 ;

Que l’Assemblée nationale s’engage à adopter, le plus rapidement possible, des modifications en ce sens à la Loi sur l’instruction publique.”

2. Rapport du Protecteur du citoyen : Accès à l’éducation publique pour les enfants en situation d’immigration précaire, Québec, le 7 novembre 2014, page 5; Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, Mémoire à la Commision de la culture et de l’éducation de l’Assemblée Nationale : Projet de loi 86, Loi modifiant l’organisation et la gouvernance des commissions scolaires en vue de rapprocher l’école des lieux de décision et d’assurer la présence des parents au sein de l’instance décisionnelle de la Commission scolaire, février 2016, page 25.

3. Rapport du Protecteur du citoyen : Accès à l’éducation publique pour les enfants en situation d’immigration précaire, Québec, le 7 novembre 2014, page iii

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Media contacts :

Steve Baird : 514-607-8383

Anne Buisson : 514-553-6872