Minister to review Catholic school contracts after complaints of ‘Catholicity clause’
Published Friday, December 14, 2018 7:01PM MST
Alberta’s education minister is stepping in following complaints by Calgary Catholic teachers who say they were encouraged to out gay colleagues thought to be breaching a ‘Catholicity clause.’
CTV News has spoken to seven teachers currently employed within the Calgary Catholic School District who all say the board’s directive is to out teachers who are believed to be in violation of the district’s ‘catholicity clause.’
On Friday, Education Minister David Eggen called the claims unsettling and said he has asked all 17 Catholic school districts in Alberta to send the ministry copies of their employment contracts to ensure they’re legal.
“You can have attestations of faith, I mean, that's one thing,” he said, “but to deny someone employment or termination based on sexuality or other factors is definitely not acceptable.”
The clause states teachers must “follow and model to others, both in and out of school, a lifestyle in harmony with the practices and beliefs of the Catholic Church.”
Edmonton Catholic teachers have a similar clause in their contract.
Kris Wells, MacEwan University associate professor and LGBTQ advocate, was pleased to hear about Minister Eggen’s actions but believes more should be done.
“Why are we only stopping at Catholic schools? What about independent, or private schools and charter schools?” he asked.
“No LGBTQ teacher should have to work in an environment where they don't feel safe, where they're afraid to be visible.”
The Alberta Teachers’ Association said in a statement Friday it opposes clauses in contracts that discriminate or interfere with teachers’ natural and human rights.
The ATA also said it is not involved in employment contracts or the hiring process, and that teachers should be be mindful of a contract’s terms when they are accepting employment.
“However if a school board ever used these clauses to justify discriminatory practices or to disregard human rights, we would vigorously assist, defend and protect the teachers involved to the greatest extent possible.”
Eggen asked teachers who feel they have been discriminated against to make a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission or the ATA.
With files from Nicole Weisberg