MONTREAL -- The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) has officially filed legal action against Bill 40, the law that abolishes school boards.

Several school boards and language rights groups contend that Bill 40 infringes on the constitutional rights of Quebec's English-speaking minority to manage their schools, rights they say are guaranteed by Article 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

QESBA, which represents some 100,000 students in English-speaking schools across the province, had announced in February its intention to do so. It made it official when it filed for an interlocutory injunction and judicial review in Quebec Superior Court on May 15.

The group delayed the legal action due to COVID-19 pandemic, but QESBA president Dan Lamoureux said in a news release Thursday that it had “become a pressing matter due to the looming November school elections and the deadlines surrounding the legal requirements and logistics of these elections.”

Lamoureux said the ongoing pandemic made it critical to plan and potentially hold school board elections.

QESBA and its educational partners have also filed a request with Quebec’s education and justice ministers to postpone school board elections in light of the current situation.

“We were told that they would move ahead and hold the November elections regardless,” said Lamoureux. “We, therefore, felt that we had no choice but to move forward at this time based on our minority community's rights to manage and control our institutions.”

The CAQ government invoked closure to pass the controversial bill on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 8.

The law abolishes school boards and will replace them with service centres.