January 21 2015

Juristes Power plaide la cause des commissions, conseils et divisions scolaires francophones hors Québec devant la Cour suprête du Canada dans l’affaire du Yukon

OTTAWA, January 21, 2015,

Masters Mark Power, David Taylor and Justin Dubois of the Ottawa office of Juristes Power, Maxine Vincelette of the Vancouver office of Juristes Power and Maître Robert Grant appeared today before the Supreme Court of Canada in Commission scolaire francophone Yukon Territory, School District No. 23 c Attorney General of the Yukon Territory (Case Number 35823).

The issue is whether the responsibility for managing access to French-language schools outside Quebec rests with French-language minority-language school boards, boards or divisions, or rather, provincial or territorial governments?

The trial judge conceded that the Yukon Francophone School Board had exclusive authority to administer and control admissions, that is, it could admit certain children on a case-by-case basis. Parents do not have an automatic right to French-language education under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter ). The Court of Appeal overturned that decision.

M e Grant argued the position of the joint stakeholders, the Francophone School Board of British Columbia and the Federation of Francophone Parents of British Columbia, that access to French-language schools affects the language and culture since it Largely determines the demographics of a French-speaking community outside Quebec. It is this close connection with language and culture that forms the basis of the exclusive control exercised by a board, council or school division on eligibility for French-language schools.

M e Power pleaded the position of the joint stakeholders, the National Federation of Francophone school boards and the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada, that Article 23 of the Charter should not be interpreted in the same way in Quebec In the rest of the provinces and territories. The distinct needs of French-speaking minorities outside Quebec and their increased vulnerability to assimilation make it less justifiable for provincial and territorial governments outside Quebec to limit access to schools French.

For more information on this case, please visit the Supreme Court of Canada website, or contact Caroline Etter at cetter@juristespower.ca.