Education minister calls on school boards to create list of items they will supply
Published Thursday, November 30, 2017 8:10PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 1, 2017 7:22AM EST
A class action lawsuit filed by a Saguenay mother is putting school boards and the Ministry of Education in a bind.
Daisye Marcil began the lawsuit in 2014 to contest the amount of fees she was paying for workbooks, textbooks, and other school supplies in addition to school fees for her children to attend public school.
One year ago Quebec Superior court gave the lawsuit permission to proceed against all school boards in the province.
Marcil is asking for $100 per student in punitive damages, in addition to ensuring that school boards pay for necessary school supplies going back to 2008.
Education Minister Sebastien Proulx has now given school boards a deadline of Dec. 15, 2017 to work out what items should be paid for by schools and what should be supplied by parents.
The five school boards operating on the island of Montreal say that deadline does not give them enough time.
Angela Mancini, chair of the EMSB, said Montreal school boards have the widest discrepancies among parent incomes in the province.
"We are asking for the government to have more time to have a debate that's going to be a public debate so that we are not finding ourselves in a situation where come September we are no longer able to charge any fees to our parents," said Mancini.
"They have to come to the table. He is putting us, unfortunately, from my perspective, in a box by saying by December 15th you're going to answer this at the same time as a class action suit is hanging over our heads."
An aide to the education minister told CTV News did not seem moved by the plea from the boards.
She said that if the boards do not propose a solution in two weeks that Proulx would impose one himself.
She added that Proulx would likely table legislation in the new year to dictate what parents must pay for, and what schools would have to supply.