Freedom of Religion and Secular Education in Rural Alberta

In 2009, the Government of Alberta enacted Bill 44, an amendment to the Alberta Human Rights Act. As amended, the AHRA now prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, in line with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Alberta v Vriend, [1998] 1 SCR 493. However,  due to concerns that children would be exposed to “objectionable” perspectives on human sexuality and religion, the Stelmach government included in the legislation a “parental rights” clause that requires school boards to provide parents with advance written notice if these issues will be introduced in the classroom.

Now the Edmonton Journal reports  that in the past two months, at least five parents have lodged complaints under this provision with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against the St. Albert Catholic Regional Division and the Alberta Ministry of Education. These complaints come from Morinville parents who are upset because their children do not have access to secular education in their community – all public education is administered by the Catholic Regional Division. As a result, the parents claim that their children have been forced to undergo religious education. While parents have lobbied the government to address this issue, their concerns have largely been ignored.

Your can read more here.