Quebec school board renounces federal funding for its Bill 21 court challenge

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks as the legislature resumes on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, at the Quebec legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The English Montreal School Board is renouncing the money it was slated to receive from a federal program for the organization's court challenge against Quebec's secularism law.

The school board said today that while it applied for funding and its request was granted, it had not yet received any money from the program and would no longer accept any.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault said earlier in the day he was outraged to learn the school board was getting money for its court battle against Bill 21, which forbids some public sector workers such as teachers from wearing religious symbols at work.

The premier said the funding is an insult to Quebecers and he asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene.

The controversy stems from a Montreal Gazette report, which stated the school board could receive up to $250,000 from a federal program that offers money to groups challenging human rights or language-related cases of national significance in court.

Trudeau said today the court challenges program is run by an independent body that makes its own decisions and is separate from the government.