Religion in Canadian Public Schools: Constitutionalized Anomalies

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Teaching, Public Schools, Private Schools, Constitutional Law, School Employees, Funding, Freedom of Religion, Jurisprudence, Provinces, Jurisdiction, Core Curriculum, Education, Employment


The relationship among law, religion, and education in the Canadian public school system is explored by analyzing the existence and funding of denominational and non-denominational public schools; parameters around teaching about religion in public schools; the scope for collective acts of worship in public schools; and the extent to which religion may be taken into account in employment decisions in the public school system. These topics raise crucial and complex issues, revealing constitutional anomalies arising from political and legal choices made at the time of Confederation and since. Understanding the context of these choices and the constitutional jurisprudence arising from efforts to restrict, protect, or expand the resulting anomalies serves two purposes: first, it offers insight into changing societal expectations regarding the role of religion in public education, and changing understandings of freedom of religion; second, it lays the foundation for future research and policy initiatives concerning the appropriate relationship between religion and the Canadian public school system.