Quebec Sept. 25, 2023
A backlog of Quebec students seeking their eligibility certificates to attend English schools needs to be rectified, says the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).
The QESBA, which advocates for English language education in Quebec, says that lengthy waiting times for certification have been a “problem for some time” but that “this year’s situation is dramatic”, with over 400 students in the greater Montreal area alone still waiting for their certification.
Quebec’s language law states that students who wish to attend school at English language boards in the province are required to prove that they are eligible.
Eligibility, in general terms, is provided to those who:
- have received a major part of their elementary or secondary school instruction in English in Canada.
- whose brother or sister did a major part of his or her elementary or secondary studies in English in Canada.
- whose father or mother did a major part of his or her elementary studies in English in Canada and whose father or mother attended school in Quebec after August 26, 1977, and could have been declared eligible for instruction in English at that time.
According to the QESBA, the majority of the backlogged eligibility applications are “clearcut and could be resolved rapidly”, but the Ministry of Education in the province is not providing adequate resources to address the issue.
“Hundreds of students are in limbo at home waiting for authorization to attend English schools. The Ministry must immediately add the necessary resources to clear this backlog. Students are being deprived of their right to attend English school because of bureaucratic constraints,” wrote QESBA Executive Director Russell Copeman in a press release.
The QESBA represents 100,000 students in over 300 elementary, high schools and adult and vocational centres across the province.
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