Following careful consideration of the recent NWT Supreme Court decision in Commission scolaire francophone, A.B., F.A., T.B., J.J. et E.S. c Ministre de l’Éducation 2020 CSTNO 28, the GNWT has made the decision to appeal.
This is a very important issue that has major implications and affects much more than the parents and children involved or the CSFTNO.
An issue of such importance deserves the attention of the Court of Appeal.
The GNWT disputes the finding of Justice Rouleau that, even after the admission of more than 20 non-rights holder children under the former directive, the exercise of discretion by the Minister on the admission of additional non-rights holder children outside of the directive, has an impact on the viability of the French schools and community.
The GNWT will also submit that Justice Rouleau made significant errors of law and on findings of fact, and that the Minister’s process, assessments of the facts and decisions were reasonable in the circumstances.
For the six children whose applications for admission are the subject of the legal proceedings, Minister Simpson has announced that, pending the outcome of the appeal they will be permitted to attend FFL education programs for the duration of the 2020-21 school year. This will ensure that no prejudice is suffered by these six students and that they are able to complete the entire school year in the same program regardless of the outcome of the appeal. This also ensures that the CSFTNO incurs no prejudice pending the Court of Appeal’s decision.
“Further review of the recent decision identified several legal issues that warranted the attention of the Court of Appeal. While we are appealing this decision, we are also working together with education bodies to ensure that student’s needs are met. We will achieve this through policy and practice, by establishing clear guidelines for future program requirements”.
- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
· The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) is consulting with education bodies on amendments to the Commission scolaire francophone Territoires du Nord-Ouest (CSFTNO) regulations to include the criteria by which the admission of non-rights holders to French First Language (FFL) education programs will be governed.
· These regulatory amendments will replace the recently repealed 2016 enrolment directive on French education and will help to ensure clarity around future enrolment decisions.
· Following previous Court of Appeal decisions, the GNWT recently completed construction of four classrooms and a gymnasium at École Allain St-Cyr and more than 150 students attended last year. École Boréale was expanded about 10 years ago and now has an attendance of about 90 students
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