Press release :

Rally calls for access to school for all children, regardless of immigration status

When: Wednesday, August 26, 2015, at 11am
Where: The Commission scolaire Marguerite de Bourgeoys (CSMB) head office, located at 1100 boulevard de la Côte-Vertu

The day before children return to school, Montrealers will gather in front of the Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys to demand access to education for all. With the Quebec Law on Public Education set to be modified in the weeks to come, members of the Education Across Borders Collective believes that a historic breakthrough is within reach – one that would open school doors to hundreds of children who are forced to stay at home because their parents don’t have a regularized immigration status. According to the Quebec Ombudsperson, over a thousand children are currently excluded from Quebec schools because of their immigration status [1].

The Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys, Quebec’s second largest school board, exemplifies the problems of exclusion faced by undocumented families when attempting to access the school system. “Although the school board covers an area where hundreds of immigrant families reside, it has yet to implement policies that facilitate access to education for families without status”, explains Steve Baird of the Education Across Borders Collective. “In recent months, we’ve witnessed a number of problems, including disregard for confidentiality, exorbitant fees (over $6000 per child per year), officials who demonstrate a lack of knowledge of regulations, and outright refusals to register children,” he adds.

Organizers argue that such issues extend well beyond the school board and are endemic to the province as a whole. The current system leads to the exclusion of children all over Quebec.

Despite published recommendations by the Quebec Ombudsperson, requesting major changes, and despite a resolution by the Liberal Party of Quebec (passed at its 2014 general congress), officials tend to deny the extent of the problem or offer vague and non-committal statements.

“The measures put in place by the provincial government in 2013 have changed very little. How much longer will families in precarious situations have to wait before the government takes this problem seriously? How can they justify this unacceptable foot dragging?” asks Anne Buisson of the Education Across Borders Collective.

Journalists are invited to attend a press point at the rally, which will be taking place starting at 11am at the Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys.

References :

1. La protectrice du citoyen s’inquiète du manque de suivi de l’école à la maison. La Presse Canadienne. April 28th, 2015.
2. Accès à l’éducation publique pour les enfants en situation d’immigration précaire. Rapport du Protecteur du citoyen. Québec, le November 7th, 2014.
3. Cahier du Participant, Conseil Général 2014, Parti Libéral du Québec, October 2014, page 23.