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Theodore case,

  • sask logoBack in June, CCSTA President Marino Gazzola and Executive Director Julian Hanlon travelled from Ontario to Saskatchewan to meet with federal politicians to discuss one thing: the Theodore Case.

    This comes after the Court ruled that the government must stop funding non-minority faith students to attend separate schools (read: CCSTA's Statement on the Ruling).

    As such, CCSTA wanted to demonstrate its support to the Saskatchewan Catholic School Board Association.

    So, they arranged to get in front of politicians to talk about the situation and what it means – and could mean – for Catholic education opportunities in the province.

    Working alongside Matt Triemstra from Ensight Canada, Mr. Gazzola and Mr. Hanlon had many meetings with individual MPs and caucus members from Saskatchewan.

    “We first provided them with information about CCSTA in general, and more specifically to inform them of the background and current status of the Theodore matter,” explains Mr. Gazzola. “We were successful on both counts.”

  • In a unanimous decision, Saskatchewan’s highest court has upheld the right of Catholic schools to receive provincial government funding for non-Catholic students.

    The ruling stems from a legal dispute almost 20 years in the making. In 2003, Good Spirit School Division closed the only school in Theodore, Saskatchewan. In an effort to keep a local school, parents worked with Christ the Teacher Catholic School Division to open a Catholic school. As a result, the public school division took the matter to court.

    This decision overturns the 2017 ruling that sought to limit public funding for students who choose to attend Catholic schools in Saskatchewan but lack a Catholic baptismal certificate. The initial ruling ran contrary to the inclusive values of Catholic education and undermined the educational decisions of parents.

    “This appeal decision confirms what we have said and believed all along: parents know what is best for their children and they should be able to choose Catholic, faith-based education if that is what they want - no matter their reasons, faith backgrounds or traditions,” explains Tom Fortosky, Executive Director for the Saskatchewan Catholic School Boards Association.

    Although this ruling is based in Saskatchewan, it speaks to the rights of all Canadian students and their parents.

     

  • Catholic School in SaskatchewanSince 2005, the Theodore case has brought up questions about constitutional rights and whether non-Catholic students have the right to attend Catholic schools. Now, 11 years later, the Saskatchewan Catholic Schools Boards Association waits to hear from one man about its future role within the province.

     So, how did the Theodore case happen? And, why?

    CCSTA wanted to give a backgrounder as well as an update on the case. We’re going to outline how it first started, how the trial went and the impact it may have on Catholic education across Canada.

    The Background:

    In 2005,York School Division (now Good Spirit School Division #204 (GSSD)) filed a legal complaint against what is now Christ the Teacher Roman Catholic School Division #212 (CTRCSD) and the Government of Saskatchewan.

    The complaint alleges that the creation of the new school division after the closure of Theodore Public School did not meet the criteria of being a separate school—serving Catholics who are the minority religion in the region. They allege it was created merely as a means to prevent the school from closing and children being bussed to a nearby town, and they are challenging the legal status of the division.