Bill 40

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Sebastian Socorro
Literature Editor

Earlier this month the Coalition Avenir Québec’s education reform bill, Bill 40, was passed. It modifies about 80 existing laws and abolishes school boards entirely, to be replaced by service centres. Though it was a controversial bill, it was passed at around 3:21 a.m. after the CAQ government shut down the National Assembly by invoking closure (the fourth time in eight months), forcing a vote.

Bill 40 replaces school boards (which have been running since 1845) with service centres that are run not by elected school board commissioners, but by an unpaid board of directors. Anglophone school boards will be able to elect the directors of the new English service centres, but Francophone school boards will be appointed by government officials (as of February 29th, French-language commissioners will also lose their executive powers).

The French service centres will be composed of five parents, five staff members, and five members of the community, while English service centres will be comprised of four community representatives, four staff members and between eight and seventeen parents. Emphasis is put on giving power to school governing boards and those who sit on them, including parents and in some cases even students.

Following the bill’s passing, heavy panning from government officials, school board members and commissioners, party spokespeople, teachers, and parent committees were directed towards the CAQ. By shutting down this institution that predates even the Canadian Confederation so hastily, the CAQ government has certainly taken a gamble.

Originally Published in Bandersnatch Vol.49 Issue 10 on February 26th, 2020