HCDSB students participate in the school board's annual Walk with Jesus walk. The “Sanctity of Life” policy excluded 70 charities from a list of about 100 the school community regularly supports, including Sick Kids Hospital, the Canadian Cancer Society, Me to We and the Terry Fox Run. Photo from HCDSB/Facebook

Halton trustees reject ‘Sanctity of Life’ fund-raising policy

By 
  • October 12, 2018

The Halton Catholic school board’s controversial “Sanctity of Life” policy will not be implemented, meaning students can raise funds for whichever charity they choose.

Trustees voted 5-4 at a committee meeting in early October not to bring changes to its fund-raising policy that would have forbidden students from raising money for charities that support activities that are not sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

The policy, which had been initiated in February, had been on hold since May 1 when trustees voted to suspend the policy that would deny financial donations to organizations “that publicly support abortion, contraception, sterilization, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research.” At the time, trustees resolved to allow Catholic schools and school councils in Halton Region to continue to fund-raise as they had been until an amended fund-raising policy was approved by the board. 

The “Sanctity of Life” policy faced widespread backlash with many parents and students taking to the media to decry the lack of consultation before the policy was implemented. Former Liberal education minister Indira Naidoo-Harris even waded into the fray, asking the board to suspend the policy. Others who supported the spirit of the policy said that as a Catholic institution, the board had a duty to uphold the sanctity of life.

The policy would have excluded 70 charities from a list of about 100 the school community regularly supports, including Sick Kids Hospital, the Canadian Cancer Society, Me to We and the Terry Fox Run. 

The Halton Catholic District School Board operated 55 elementary and high schools across an area that includes Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills to the west of Toronto.

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