Supreme Court To Decide If French-Langugage School In Vancouver Worse Than English-Language Schools

A group of Vancouver parents of children attending a French-language public school in Vancouver have persuaded the Supreme Court of Canada to hear their case. At issue is whether or not the school their children attend is so sub-par vis-à-vis its English-language counterparts that their minority language rights under Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have been violated.

In the case of Association des parents de l'école Rose-des-vents and Joseph Pagé, et al. v. Ministry of Education of British Columbia, et al., the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal a decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, which had itself overturned a trial decision, in which the parents obtained a declaration that the sub-par condition of the school was causing an infringement of their language rights.

Language Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

French and English are the two official languages of Canada. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms says as much:

Official languages of Canada

16. (1) English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada.

The Charter goes on to guarantee minority education rights:

Language of instruction

23. (1) Citizens of Canada

(a) whose first language learned and still understood is that of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province in which they reside, or

(b) who have received their primary school instruction in Canada in English or French and reside in a province where the language in which they received that instruction is the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of the province,

have the right to have their children receive primary and secondary school instruction in that language in that province.


The Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Columbia-Britannique (CSF) is the Francophone education authority in British Columbia that offers homogenous French language primary and secondary instruction throughout British Columbia.

The parents of the children at the École Rose-des-vents school filed a petition (motion) in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the court of first instance, naming as respondents the Ministry of Education, the Province of British Columbia, and the CSF. The petition sought a declaration that the petitioners' minority language education rights under s. 23 of the...

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