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    Ongoing public interest litigation

    Yochonon Lowen and Clara Wasserstein v. Attorney General of Quebec, Le Grand Séminaire Rabbinique de Montréal and als.

    Illegal hasidic schools

    Latest news

    The trial was held in February 2020 before Justice Martin Castonguay. Witnesses from the Ministry of Education, the Youth Protection and the Boisbriand Hasidic schools testified. The Superior Court of Quebec has not yet rendered its decision.

    Summary of the claim

    On May 11, 2016, the applicants Yochonon Lowen and Clara Wasserstein filed a Motion for declaratory judgment against the Attorney General of Quebec, the School Board of the Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles, many Hasidic schools and organizations of the Tash community of Boisbriand and Rabbi Elimelech Lowy.

    The procedure alleges that children raised in the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community of Boisbriand, do not receive an education in accordance with legal standards. Community schools do not hold any license and do not meet the requirements of the mandatory program.

    The procedure seeks a declaration by the Superior Court of Quebec that these schools operate in violation of the Education Act, the Act Respecting Private Education, the Charter of the French language and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The procedure also seeks a declaration that the Government of Quebec, by tolerating that the children of the Tash community attend illegal schools, violates its obligations under these same laws. No damages are sought.

    The defendants filed motions to dismiss Yochonon Lowen and Clara Wasserstein’s application at a preliminary stage. The Superior Court of Quebec dismissed the motions from the Government of Québec and from the Hasidic schools on May 15, 2017. The Court concluded that Mr. Lowen and Mrs. Wasserstein had clear standing to act in the public interest and that the action presented a serious question that had to be decided by the Court. However, the Court concluded that the Plaintiffs had no legal connection to the School Board, and therefore rejected the Plaintiff’s claim with respect to the School Board only. The claim continued against the Government of Québec, the Boisbriand Hasidic schools and Boisbriand Rabbi Elimelech Lowy.