A Toronto woman is asking the Ontario Superior Court that the province stop funding Catholic schools because, as a taxpayer who doesn’t share the church’s beliefs, she says it infringes on her freedom of religion.
A judge in the case began hearing arguments Wednesday from both lawyers for the Ontario government and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which is intervening in the case on behalf of Reva Landau.
Public funding of Catholic schools infringes the Charter, Landau says, but first the court must find that the Charter even applies to the funding formula.
A section of the Constitution states that no law can affect the rights of denominational schools and that has been interpreted as making it immune from Charter challenges, Landau argues.
It contradicts the Charter and was never intended to confer privilege on Roman Catholic education, she says.
Landau is asking the court to order that the government stop funding Catholic high schools and only fund Catholic elementary schools to the extent they were funded in 1867 at the time of Confederation.
That would amount to being funded with “only property taxes from Catholics who declare themselves to be separate school supporters and who live within three miles of a separate school, and property taxes from wholly Catholic owned businesses,” Landau wrote in her challenge.
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