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In 1985 the Ontario Government extended funding to include High School grades  

This was not an easy decision for the government to make... 
The funding history and Exemption process is best
covered by a prominent
 Catholic School supporter...

From "Our Catholic Schools, 2006-07 “A Discussion on Ontario’s Catholic Schools And their Future”: 

Resource Material


“Catholics Caught in a Bind”, author Robert Dixon


In referencing the extension of funding to include Catholic High Schools he writes:

"…The change came when Premier William Davis in 1984 announced that the Ontario legislature would be completing the separate school system to the end of high school. No longer would Grades 10 to 13 be privately funded. They would be under the jurisdiction of separate school boards. Prior to his announcement, Davis met with representatives of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops (OCCB) to convey several conditions. One of them was that there should be universal access to publicly funded Catholic high schools for children of both public and separate school supporters.  OCCB’s education officer, Msgr. Kenneth Robitaille, and an expert on separate school matters, Fr. Raymond Durocher, prepared for the bishops a commentary in response to Davis’ proposal. With regard to open access for students, they wrote that that requirement did not make sense because the highest court in the land had described a separate school as one characterized by a class of people united by one faith, by trustees elected by these people, by teachers of the same faith selected by the trustees, by programs controlled by the trustees which reflect the tenets of the faith, and by pupils of the same faith. In other words, separate school trustees have a constitutional right to admit only Catholics to their schools and to accept a non-Catholic student only on an exceptional basis.  Section H – Resource Material 6.   Nevertheless, the OCCB decided to accept the premier’s condition. In a public statement and a pastoral guideline, the bishops expressed their assurance that the arrangements required with reference to the admission of non-Catholic pupils could be made without endangering the Catholic character of the Catholic high schools. They also expressed the concept that the admission of non-Catholic students was congruent with the ecumenical mission of the Catholic school.  By the time the Ontario legislature considered Bill 30 on funding for Catholic high schools, there was a minority government under Liberal Premier David Peterson. His minister of education, Sean Conway, presented legislation which provided for non-Catholic students who needed to attend a Catholic high school for reasons of special programs or geographical accessibility, or who simply wished to enroll in a Catholic high school. Students attending the school out of necessity would be exempted from religious education. The others would have to apply for exemption to the separate board, which could grant or refuse the request. Furthermore, admission of non-Catholics would be subject to the availability of space. After first reading of Bill 30, the legislation was referred to the standing committee on social development.  The Committee’s New Democratic Party and Progressive Conservative members objected to the space limitation to open access and to the trustees’ power to grant or refuse exemption from religious education classes and asked that these clauses be removed from the bill. Conway realized that refusal to accede to their demands could result in the defeat of the bill at second reading — the PCs and NDP constituted a majority of the legislature. 
The final version of Bill 30 provided that any child of a public or separate school supporter could attend a Catholic high school and that no child of a public school supporter would be required to take part in any program or course of study in religious education where a parent or guardian applied in writing to the Catholic school board for exemption.”

Catholic's Caught in a Bind.pdf
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Resource Material - Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association

What is                      
"Open Access Legislation" 

FACT: Roman Catholic high schools are funded just like any
publicly funded school in Ontario and are therefore "open access" just
like the public school.  

FACT: ALL Ontarians contribute tax dollars to fund the Catholic School system regardless of their religious affiliation (if any).  There is no 
connection to checking "Catholic School Supporter" on your tax form.

FACT: Funding to high school is based on student enrollment. The 
the enrollment, the more money a School Board gets.
Declining enrolment means Catholic and Public Secondary
Schools are competing for the same shrinking student population.

Logic behind the government adding “Open Access Legislation ” to the Education Act

Since a Roman Catholic run High School is taking funds from the general tax coffers it CAN NOT deny admission of any student (normal boundary issues apply). 


Therefore, a Roman Catholic run High School will have a very diverse student base and they must provide exemptions to any student who requests it (even practicing Catholics). 

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