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Supreme Court sides with B.C. francophones in guaranteeing education rights

Click to play video: 'Verdict on French education in B.C. schools' Verdict on French education in B.C. schools
A BC Supreme Court judge ruled in 2016 against the French School Board's multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Province. – Sep 26, 2016

The Supreme Court of Canada has sided with British Columbia’s francophone school board — at least in part — in a dispute over French-language education in the province.

The case began years ago when the board, Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique, and the parents of students alleged the province had breached a Charter of Rights and Freedoms provision guaranteeing minority-language education.

READ MORE: Bilingualism on the rise among children in Canada

They sought orders requiring the province to change how it funds French-language education, immediately fix problems with inadequate facilities in a number of communities and provide compensation for its failure to provide proper funding.

After a long trial, the school board and parents won a partial victory, including an award for charter damages arising from unpaid transportation costs.

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However, they appealed the ruling on various points, but mainly the conclusion they were not entitled to the approximately $300 million in educational capital projects they had requested.

The B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed the challenge and allowed the province’s cross-appeal, saying the trial judge should not have awarded the transportation costs given the traditional principle of government immunity.

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Bilingual stop signs vandalized in Calgary – May 23, 2020

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