The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed an appeal by parents of a school board’s decision to refuse to exempt their children from Quebec’s Ethics and Religious Culture program. The program aims to foster an understanding of different religious traditions within Quebec. It replaced previous programs of Catholic and Protestant religious instruction in schools. The parents claimed that the new program interfered with their religious freedom under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Court concluded that exposure to the new program did not objectively interfere with parents’ ability to pass on their faith to their children. The Court found that merely exposing children to factual information about different religions is consistent with multiculturalism and is not an infringement of protected rights of religious freedom under the Charter.