New Brunswick

Court of Appeal sets initial dual busing hearing date

The judicial reference case on whether New Brunswick is constitutionally required to provide separate school bus transportation systems for English and French students will come before New Brunswick's highest court for the first time in Fredericton on Feb. 16 for a preliminary matter.

Reference question examines whether English and French school buses are a constitutional requirement

The Fredericton Justice Building, which includes provincial court, court of appeal and court of queen's bench. (CBC)

The judicial reference case on whether New Brunswick is constitutionally required to provide separate school bus transportation systems for English and French students will come before New Brunswick's highest court in Fredericton for the first time on Feb. 16 for a preliminary matter.

The Court of Appeal announced the date when it released its schedule of cases to be heard in January and February of 2016.

For several years, the province's English and French school systems have operated their own transportation systems, saying it was constitutionally required under provisions for language duality in education.

Attorney General Serge Rousselle requested the New Brunswick Court of Appeal give the government its legal opinion on whether dual English and French school transportation systems are a constitutional requirement. (CBC)
Questions and challenges about the practice bubbled over earlier this year through a variety reports and news stories. 

Serge Rousselle, who services as the minister of both education and attorney general, then announced in June he would seek a legal opinion on the practice from the Court of Appeal.

The court is being asked: "Is there, in New Brunswick, a constitutional obligation to provide school district transportation in relation to one or the other official language?"

The reference ruling by the court is technically not binding on the provincial government. It is, however, subject to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Clarifications

  • An earlier version of this story indicated the full hearing of the province's reference questions would take place on Feb. 16. That is not the case.
    Dec 14, 2015 1:03 PM AT

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