Help us fight religious discrimination against Alberta teachers...

If you ever needed a good reason to spread the word about our petition, you have to read this story. Alberta Catholic school trustees voted to send money-- taxpayer education dollars-- outside of Alberta to fight a court case for the right of a private business to discriminate against LGBTQ:

“They’re going to use public dollars to fight the public with public dollars – essentially on human rights issues. Which is, of course, completely mad,” Fevin said. Fevin objects to ACSTA spending the money on a case involving a private business that has “absolutely nothing to do” with K-12 education in Alberta.

We also need your help. Please Chip in $100 or whatever you can afford to help our next campaign: ending religious discrimination against Alberta teachers....

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The next push for ourIDEA is for the right to fair employment for teachers. All Albertans deserve an excellent teacher regardless of their religion. We need your help to research, communicate, and advocate on this issue:

  • Should you have to belong to a certain religion in order to be eligible to apply for a public teaching position?

  • Do we wish our government to be directly incentivising conversion to a particular religion with employment opportunities to Albertans?

  • Given that Separate schools are civil democratic institutions—not privately run church schools— will the government or Alberta Teachers Association direct them to cease discriminatory employment practices?

  • Have you or someone you know experienced employment discrimination or felt discouraged to apply because of your religion?

We want to hear from you: info@ouridea.ca

ourIDEA has been receiving correspondence from teachers and prospective teachers raising concerns about employment discrimination. Non-Catholics are not even eligible to apply for 30% of teaching jobs in Alberta.

Then there are the situations where the church deems one "not catholic enough" like the termination of a transgender teacher— St. Albert Catholic spent almost $400,000 litigating for their “right” to discriminate against sexual orientation or gender identity staff. 

According to the Alberta Teachers’ Association, of the 45,991 teaching jobs in Alberta, roughly 30% of them are in Catholic school jurisdictions.

Alberta Teachers are being denied jobs based on their religion while separate school boards are giving jobs to Catholics from outside of the province

If Catholic schools wish to continue discriminatory hiring and employment practices, they should refuse public funding and operate as private schools.

Separate schools are civil institutions. They are created by the law of the land, not the Roman Catholic Church.  Their governance is determined by provincial legislation, nor the Roman Catholic Church.  These schools are funded entirely by Albertans, all Albertans:  they are not funded by the Roman Catholic Church and they are not funded by Roman Catholic Albertans alone. Every separate school building and every separate school bus is owned by all Albertans.

Yet we hear it said that Canon Law applies to separate schools.  It does not.

We hear it said that the separate school system has some constitutional right to ‘permeate’ Roman Catholicism.  That is certainly not in the law and I don’t know of a single judicial decision applicable in Alberta that supports such a proposition.

The only meaning one should attach to the phrase “Roman Catholic separate school education” is that all the electors are Roman Catholics and people who are not Roman Catholics cannot vote for separate school trustees, even if their children attend a separate school.” - David King (www.ouridea.ca/objections)


In Edmonton, Lita bablitz, an Edmonton teacher said the existence of separate public and Catholic boards hindered her search for full-time work. As a non-Catholic, she was ineligible for the one-third of the publicly-funded teaching jobs in Edmonton available through the separate school board. Only Catholic teachers are eligible for those positions, even though non-Catholic students attend ECSD schools (25% of ECSD students are non-Catholic) and, property taxes paid by Catholic residents in Alberta only  account for 11 per cent of the board’s funding, with the rest coming from general provincial revenues.

In Ontario, this matter is heading to court.

Other questions arise, such as, within the bureaucracy of Alberta Education--

  • what percentage of staff are required to be catholic?
  • Are they promoted or denied opportunity because of their faith?
  • Is there a quota requiring a number of Catholics in Alberta Education?

ourIDEA calls on the Minister of Education to:

  • Make it clear that Catholic Cannon law does not apply to Catholic schools and does not override the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • Make it clear that the Alberta Education department does not require or prejudice employment based on religion.

We also need your help. Please Chip in $100 or whatever you can afford to help our next campaign: ending religious discrimination against Alberta teachers.
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Earlier this month, ourIDEA launched a petition calling for a referendum on the continuance of separate Catholic school boards.  

“The recent provincial budget revealed serious on-going financial shortfalls for the provincial government.  In education, this raises questions about duplicating administration and infrastructure costs when the money could be re-directed to the classroom for better service to students or reduced costs to parents.  Imagine how much further school fees could have been reduced without the current cost of duplication.” – David King, Former Education Minister

SPECIAL EVENT: EDMONTON, On November 27th at 7PM, ourIDEA will be hosting a panel discussion and conversation with the audience on the future of Separate School Boards with panelists David King, a former Minister of Education in Alberta, parent advocate Luke Fevin and former Catholic School Trustee Patricia Grell.  Everyone is welcome, and an RSVP is requested – University of Alberta (Telus Building Room 150) (For tickets please visit: www.ouridea.ca/kinglecture)


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