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B’nai Brith to Intervene in Canadian Federation of Students Court Case

October 8, 2019

B’nai Brith Canada

TORONTO – B’nai Brith Canada has been granted intervener status in another important court case.

On Oct. 11, B’nai Brith will argue in defense of an Ontario government policy that allows post-secondary students to opt out of non-essential supplemental fees when paying tuition. Some of these previously mandatory fees include funding for organizations that do not align with the values of many Jewish students.

One such organization is the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), a campus-based student union that claims to represent more than 350,000 students. CFS describes its “ultimate goal” as to ensure “a system of post-secondary education that is accessible to all.”

Despite this claim, the group lists support for the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as an official organizational policy – a policy that thousands of Jewish students in Ontario and beyond feel incites discrimination against them on their campuses. The group’s website also lists anti-Israel groups such as “Faculty for Palestine” and “Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid” among its “Solidarity Partners.”

Before the Ontario government’s “Student Choice Initiative” policy was adopted in March, Ontario students were required to pay a supplemental fee to this student union along with their tuition payments – meaning they were forced to contribute financially to a movement that often discriminates against them.

The CFS is now challenging the Ontario government’s policy in court, seeking to once again compel all students to fund their activities if they wish to enroll in many post-secondary institutions in the province. B’nai Brith will proudly defend the rights of all Ontario students to have the freedom of choice and freedom of conscience not to be forced to support any group that goes against their fundamental values.

During the summer, B’nai Brith co-led a highly successful campaign encouraging all students to opt out of CFS fees for the current school year for these reasons. With the help and partnership of three campus-based Jewish organizations, StandWithUs Canada, Hasbara Fellowships and AEPi, this campaign received widespread support and participation from broad segments of Ontario’s Jewish community, potentially denying this union a significant chunk of its budget for this school year.

B’nai Brith is the only Jewish organization that has sought or received legal intervener status for this case.

“We are proud to take the lead on this issue and are determined to help Jewish students in Ontario,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “No student should have to face the choice between studying in Ontario and compulsory self-discrimination.”

B’nai Brith will be ably represented in court by David Elmaleh and Aaron Rosenberg of RE-LAW LLP.