Religion: “It’s Just a Waste of Time”

by | August 30, 2014

Update: After this post was published, I discovered from a Toronto Star article that Carolyn Borgstadt, who is Catholic, got an exemption for her son, Cameron:

On Friday, after notifying the board her son had never been baptized and she is not a separate school supporter, Borgstadt learned the Durham Catholic District School Board will excuse him from religion class.

At the beginning of the Ontario Today, August 27th episode that asks the question, “Should Catholic school students have to take religion?,” we hear a recorded voice say

It’s just a waste of time . . . religion just isn’t, in everyday life, it’s just not needed.

This is the voice of Carolyn Borgstadt who asked The Durham Catholic District School Board to allow her son Cameron an exemption from religious programs: courses, liturgies and retreats.

I listened to only the first half of the show because there is too much emphasis on the value of a Catholic education and not enough conversation about exemptions being a right:

When the Ontario Government agreed to extend public funding to the high school grades in the 80’s, the exemption was written into law for any student choosing to attend a local Catholic High School.

The host of the show, Rita Celli, claims, “opting out [of religion classes] is not easy.” It’s not easy because Catholic School boards make opting out of secondary school religion programs difficult. However, as the very informative and helpful website,, says

[Students’] right to the Exemption from religion classes in Ontario Catholic high schools is covered by this section in the current Ontario Education Act . . .

42 (13) . . . no person who . . . attends a secondary school operated by a Roman Catholic board shall be required to take part in any program or course of study in religious education on written application to the Board of the parent or guardian of the person.

If you are a student in an Ontario Catholic secondary and you would like to be exempted from religious classes, check out

The Myexemption team is made up of parents and students from all over Ontario. We have all gone through the process and successfully received exemptions.

If you are a student or a parent of a student who has been refused an exemption, contact at

One thought on “Religion: “It’s Just a Waste of Time”

  1. Patrick Clare

    The producers of this show should have exercised more discretion in selecting callers. The discussion was a very unsatisfactory, superficial glimpse of part of the topic. The last caller got the point but was too late to be allowed to make it.

    The source of the problem was the choice of studio guest, a Catholic apologist and part-time instructor at a faculty of education who seemed to know everything about prayer and nothing about the Education Act. A much more interesting show would have resulted from inviting Kyle Naylor.


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