Quebec culture and citizenship: a possible legal challenge in sight

Quebec culture and citizenship: a possible legal challenge in sight


Quebec must prepare for a possible legal challenge to the Culture and Citizenship of Quebec (CCQ) course launched in certain schools since this start of the school year to replace that of Ethics and Religious Culture (ECR), which has been strongly criticized.  

This was indicated by a study by the Institut de recherche sur le Québec (IRQ), which compared the two courses.

Recall that the ECR course has been offered since 2008 to students from primary and secondary, but will be replaced in all schools in the province by that of CCQ as of the start of the 2023 school year due to the place given to religion, deemed too important.

Researchers have taken a positive view of the new curriculum, with the Ministry of Education taking into account the criticisms that were leveled at its older version, but fear a possible legal challenge.

“To In our opinion, reading the news, it is likely, if not highly likely, that legal challenge there will be – if only by supporters of the ECR course disappointed with its downfall and fueled by the idea that any deviation model can only be the discriminatory negation of freedom of conscience and religion”, is it possible to read in the report by François Côté and David Santarossa.

According to them, wanting to present religions through the prism of national history could give an unequal share of attention to the various beliefs. Strongly linked to the history of Quebec, Catholicism, the spiritual beliefs of the First Nations, Protestantism and Judaism would thus have a greater part in the course.

The critical approach to the religious phenomenon could also arouse opposition on the part of parents of students, by coming up against the freedom of religion of believers.

In order to escape a possible dispute, the researchers recommend in particular to modify the Education Act to “protect the validity of the CCQ course from any invalidation or judicial guardianship in the name of the charters of rights”.

“Far from being an admission of discrimination, such a proclamation would on the contrary be a powerful gesture of national affirmation by which Quebec would affirm the legal validity of its own distinct way of approaching the religious phenomenon,” they argued.