Toronto – Private schools in Ontario already receive public money say the leaders of a coalition formed to spearhead the drive for funding.

They are now pointing to the University of Toronto Schools and Eden Christian College as precedents of government support to educational institutions other than Roman Catholic.

Last spring one Ontario Alliance for Christian Schools joined forces with the Canadian Jewish Congress for the purpose of mounting a court challenge to the government of Ontario for its refusal to grant tax dollars to their schools.  According to a Toronto Star news item (April 18/91), these two organizations represent nearly 22,000 students currently enrolled in independent schools, each paying up to $2,000 in yearly tuition.

Lab school

A Globe and Mail article by Lila Sarick (July 3/91), says that the University of Toronto Schools (UTS), founded in 1910 as a lab school for the University’s Faculty of Education, received about half of its $2,68 million budget from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.  The other half comes mostly from tuition and consequently, says Murray Segal, spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress, it must be seen as a private school.  The grants to UTS are currently under review by Colleges and Universities, Minister Richard Allen said.

Mr. Segal, chairman of the Ontario Jewish Association for Equity in Education, writes in the Globe and Mail (Aug. 7/91), that Eden Christian College, located near St. Catharines, is the only non-Roman Catholic religious school in Ontario fully finances by taxpayers.  While he would like to see this funding extended to other private schools, the Ministry has resolved instead to strip the school of its Christian character.  At this point, however, Segal claims that little has changed and the school continues to operate much as it always has.

The Jewish community opposes any teaching of Christianity in public schools even if, as is the case at some schools, it is done voluntarily during lunch hour.

Religious Instruction

Jennifer Lewington, writing in the Globe and Mail (Aug. 2/91), begins her article by stating that Christ lives in the classroom at Eden Christian College, “And that’s a problem in Ontario.”  While other provinces throughout Canada give financial support in one form or another to schools in which religious instruction of a denominational nature is offered, Ontario’s three major political parties refuse this support as a matter of policy.

She did not mention that only the Family Coalition Party support the use of public funds for this purpose.