(Guelph): Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario and candidate in Guelph, challenged the other leaders to join him in calling for an end to discriminatory hiring practices in Ontario’s public education system.
Catholic school boards in Ontario have the right to discriminate against non-Catholics in hiring. Most boards require a pastoral letter of reference as part of the application for a full-time teaching position.
The Green Party is calling for the merger of the secular and religious public boards in each jurisdiction, which would put an end to discriminatory hiring practices.
“I was born and raised a Catholic,” said Schreiner. “I value what religion can bring to individuals and communities. But a public school system should reflect the values we share as a society. I know that Catholics and non-Catholics share my commitment to fairness and equality.”
The ability of Catholic boards to discriminate against non-Catholics in hiring places an undue burden on graduates of teacher’s colleges looking for teaching positions: two-thirds of graduates are ineligible for one-third of teaching jobs.
“I’m perplexed, to be honest,” said Mark Daye, Green Party Education Critic and candidate in Toronto Centre. “It’s my understanding that the Premier, as a non-Catholic and a lesbian, would not be eligible for full-time employment as a teacher in the Catholic boards, even though she holds advanced degrees in Education. I can’t believe that we can tolerate discrimination of this sort in 21st-century Canada.”
Discrimination in employment is only one of several persistent human rights questions, from the controversy over Gay-Straight Alliance clubs to court cases over exemptions from religious retreats, that have dogged Ontario’s Catholic school boards in recent years.
The Green Party is committed to bringing honesty, integrity, and good public policy to the province’s school system.
Media contact: Candice Lepage