A francophone group says it will not appeal a Federal Court's ruling that threw out its court challenge aimed at stopping the Conservative government from scrapping the mandatory long-form census.


The Federal Court of Canada ruled last week against a francophone group's challenge of the federal government's decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press))

The Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities (FCFA) applied to the court for an injunction to block the Tories' move, arguing that the mandatory census is critical to language rights and that a voluntary survey will result in less accurate information and affect French-language services.

But in his decision last week, Federal Court Justice Richard Boivin said he found that the administration method of the 2011 census is not in violation of the Official Languages Act because the act does not state what methodology should be used to get information.

Marie-France Kenny, the FCFA's president, said Friday her organization proved the data from the government's proposed voluntary census for spring 2011 will not be as usable as information gathered from the mandatory long-form census.

The group's court challenge, she said, also showed Canadians the census is a question of "equal opportunity, justice and equity."

"We announce our decision with our head high, proud of what we achieved," Kenny said.

The federation, she added, will continue to support organizations and citizens who act for the return of the mandatory long-form questionnaire, and wished luck to First Nations groups that are presenting their own legal challenges.

In August, Industry Minister Tony Clement, who is in charge of the census, amended the government's plan for the spring 2011 census by adding two questions on languages to the mandatory short-form survey.

But Clement has ruled out further changes, saying Canadians should not be coerced to fill out the census survey with threats of jail time or fines for refusing to divulge personal details to the state.