Vancouver francophone parents win Supreme Court of Canada ruling
Parents have been fighting for more adequate French-language schools in B.C.
B.C.'s Education Minister Peter Fassbender says he is reviewing the implications of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that francophone children have a right to the same facilities as those in English-language schools.
On Friday morning, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned an Appeal Court of B.C. ruling in the five-year case and sent it back to the B.C. Supreme Court for the next stage of the proceedings.
"We have been and will continue to work with the Conseil scolaire francophone to meet the needs of francophone students and their families," Fassbender said in a statement.
Nicolas Rouleau, the lawyer for the parents' association at the school, said the court sided with a B.C. Supreme Court judge's ruling in 2012 that found the rights of students at a francophone elementary school in Vancouver have been violated.
They say the B.C. government has violated their constitutional rights because the school was too small and had inadequate washrooms and library space.
The province had argued an original ruling in favour of the parents did not consider costs, but the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday that the quality of education is what matters more under the Charter.
Parents are 'ecstatic'
Rouleau said the parent's fight for equality has been going on for years.
"My clients are ecstatic. They're happy. They've been fighting to get equivalent schools for their children in Vancouver west for over 10 years and they're hoping that this will bring to final resolution this long arduous journey," he said.
Rouleau said the next step will be determining how the province should address the situation.
"We are really looking forward to the province and the French school board to work together to solve our problems fast."
The legal challenge was launched in 2010 by a group of parents who argued the conditions at Vancouver's École Rose des Vents lag far behind nearby English-speaking schools.
The court said the council that operates the school and the province will have to work out a dispute over who should fund improvements.
The Supreme Court of Canada also granted the parents special costs to cover their legal expenses.
With files from The Canadian Press