[ 6] E.T. appeals the application judge’s determination that,
while the Board’s refusal to provide the accommodation he
requested engaged his religious freedom, the Board’s refusal to
provide accommodation was reasonable.
[ 7] For the following reasons, I would dismiss the appeal on
the ground that E. T. has failed to establish any interference with
or violation of his religious freedom.
A. Facts and Background
( 1) The Board’s equity policy and accommodation process
[ 8] At the time the application was filed, E.T.’s children
attended one of the Board’s elementary schools. The Board oversees 103 schools of which 88 are elementary schools attended by
over 34,000 pupils.
[ 9] In carrying out its responsibilities, the Board is required to
comply with the Education Act and regulations authorized thereunder, as well as ministerial directives and policies, and the policies the Board itself promulgates. The central statutory objectives
relevant to this appeal are neutrality in matters of religion, inclusion in the school community and student well-being. Section
169.1( 1) of the Education Act requires schools to promote a
climate that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils, including
pupils of any race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin,
citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender
expression, age, marital status, family status or disability. Further, the Ministry of Education has issued several directives to
school boards and principals regarding the promotion of diversity,
equity and inclusive education: Realizing the Promise of Diversity:
Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy, 2009 (“EIES”);
the Policy/Program Memorandum No. 119: Developing and
Implementing Equity and Inclusive Education Policies in Ontario
Schools, June 24, 2009 (“PPM No. 119”); and the Equity and
Inclusive Education in Ontario Schools: Guidelines for Policy
Development and Implementation, 2009 (“EIEOS”). In response
to, and in accordance with these directives, the Board developed
its own Equity Policy No. 1.01 (the “policy”).
[ 10] These directives and policies are all designed to combat
racism, religious intolerance and homophobia, and to ensure
that all students feel welcome and accepted in public schools.
[ 11] Students are to be provided with learning materials
that are bias-free and that reflect the diversity of the school’s
population, including diversity of sexual orientation and
gender identity. A central feature of the policy is that diversity,
anti-discrimination and anti-homophobia are not taught in