Loyola High School v. Quebec (Attorney General)

2015 SCC 12

This freedom of religion case began with a challenge by Loyola High School, a private Catholic high school, seeking judicial review of the Quebec Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports’ decision not to grant the school an exemption from mandatory curriculum of the Program on Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC). The ERC required schools to teach beliefs and ethics of various world religions from a neutral perspective. The school proposed an alternate course, in which Catholicism would be taught from a Catholic perspective and other world religions taught from a neutral perspective.

In finding the Minister’s decision that all aspects of the ERC program needed to be taught neutrally, the Supreme Court affirmed that freedom of religion under s.2(a) of the Charter includes both individual and collective aspects of religious faith. The community at Loyola high school were therefore entitled to Charter protection of that right, which needed to be balanced against state values of secularism and regulating religious schools. The majority held that requiring Loyola to teach other religions in a neutral way did not violate their freedom of religion, but that requiring them to teach their own religion in a neutral manner did, making the Minister’s decision unreasonable.

SCC Reasons for Judgment


Date Document
2013/11/01 Appellant – Loyola High School
2014/01/17 Respondent – Attorney General of Quebec
2014/03/10 Intervener – Christian Legal Fellowship
2014/03/06 Intervener – Association of Christian Educators and Schools Canada
2014/03/14 Intervener – Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
2014/03/07 Intervener – Catholic Civil Rights League
2014/03/05 Interveners – Corporation Archiepiscopale Catholique Romaine de Montreal et al.
 2014/03/07 Intervener – Canadian Council of Christian Charities
 2014/03/10 Intervener – World Sikh Organization of Canada
 2014/03/06 Interveners – Seventh Day Adventist Church in Canada et al.
 2014/03/07 Intervener – Faith, Fealty and Creed Society
 2014/03/07 Intervener – Home School Legal Defence Association of Canada
 2014/03/10 Intervener – Canadian Civil Liberties Association