Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, December 16, 2008 --- CRARR has lent support to a Muslim student enrolled in a training program for private security guards at the Centre de formation professionelle Compétences 2000, to challenge the school's collection of certain personal information from its students.

The Centre, which is part of the Laval School Board, north of Montreal, requires students to divulge their religion and their parents' birth place upon registration. In addition, it asks for the student's mother tongue, language spoken at home, language of official documentation, and language of correspondence.

Having enrolled in the program in September 2008, Mohammed (a nickname chosen by the student to avoid reprisals) finds himself in mid-December without having found a job, or an unpaid internship. A two-week unpaid internship is an integral part of the training program. In fact, as of December 10, 2008, none of the 6 Black students or the 3 Middle Eastern students, who make up half of the class, had found an internship or a paid position. Yet none of the Québécois students had any trouble finding work.

Considering that the Centre claims to have “a privileged relationship with security firms” and a 100% placement rate, the racialized students began to wonder why they were experiencing such difficulty. Like their white classmates, they had been through the internship or job search process (presenting their CV to representatives of security firms who visited the Centre to recruit, applying to postings, etc), but to no avail.

In a complaint filed with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission earlier this month, on behalf of Mohammed, CRARR alleges violations of the student's rights to equality, dignity, and privacy in education. It asks that the collection of prohibited data cease and these data be destroyed by the Centre.

“Why does the school want to know about the students' religion and their parents' birthplace? When did the Centre adopt this practice? Is there a link between these data and the students’ inability to find an internship or a job? When did the Centre learn of the difficulties experienced by students of color in finding jobs and internships in private security firms? These are the issues we want the Human Rights Commission to consider”, said Fo Niemi, Executive Director of CRARR.

In the complaint, CRARR also claims moral and punitive damages from the School Board, and the implementation of employment equity measures for Black and Middle Eastern students in internship and job placement. These measures aim to eliminate discriminatory job obstacles and should include a contractual agreement between the Centre and the participating security firms for non-discriminatory assessment of job applications and hiring.