NOTICE: The Province’s Cross Appeal
Vancouver, November 10, 2016 – The CSF and the Fédération des parents de Colombie-Britannique received a Notice of Cross Appeal from the Province of British Columbia this Thursday, November 10th. The cross appeal addresses the two following important aspects of Justice Russell’s decision:
- The Province contests that the breach of section 23 of the Charter that resulted from 10 years of underfunding for school transportation, justifies a payment of 6 million dollars in damages to the CSF; and
- The Province submits that they should not be responsible for financing solutions in communities in which Justice Russell concluded that the Province was not directly responsible for the lack of school facilities available to the CSF, namely in North-east Vancouver, Burnaby, Whistler (at the secondary level), and Squamish.
Thus, the Province has chosen not to appeal the majority of the Court’s conclusions that are favourable to Francophone communities, notably:
- The creation of an infrastructure funding envelope specific to the CSF;
- The responsibility of the Province to help the CSF, where necessary, to acquire school sites;
- The administration and payment of leases by the Province, throughout British Columbia:
- where the CSF plans to offer new programs, notably in Victoria West and North, Whistler (at the secondary level), Squamish (at the secondary level), and Nelson (at the secondary level);
- where the CSF already offers programs, notably in Richmond, Victoria (East), Squamish (at the elementary level), Whistler (at the elementary level), Pemberton (at the elementary level), Nanaimo (at the secondary level), Penticton (at the secondary level), Sechelt (at the secondary level), and Nelson (at the elementary level);
- in areas that were not directly addressed by the litigation, notably Fernie, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Port Alberni, Prince George (at the secondary level), in Campbell River (at the secondary level), and Terrace;
- The responsibility of the Province to provide school infrastructure, notably in Vancouver west of Main Street (École Rose-des-vents), Sechelt (École du Pacifique), Penticton (École Entre-lacs), and Abbotsford (a kindergarten to grade 12 school that will also serve secondary students from Mission and Chilliwack);
- The responsibility to prepare CSF enrolment projections; and
- The funding of Franc départ programs in all new CSF schools and in all current schools, when the space is available.
“Despite the choice of the Province to appeal certain aspects of the decision, they are not contesting the large majority of the gains realised by the CSF and the Fédération des Parents”, stated Marie-France Lapierre, President of the CSF. “However, we are very disappointed that the Province continues to attempt to evade its constitutional responsibilities, particularly where the need is so urgent. We recognise that continued efforts must be made to improve the situations of these schools. The CSF is committed to meeting with these communities to continue to look for temporary solutions.”
The President of the Fédération des parents francophones de C.-B., Marie-Pierre Lavoie, stated that: “the fact that the province has appealed certain aspects of the decision only reinforces the importance of our decision to appeal. Luckily, the whole decision is not being questioned; one of the major gains at the systemic level, the funding envelope, has not been contested and must be negotiated immediately. This, in itself, is an enormous victory for the Francophone community.”
The Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique
Since its inception in 1995, the CSF has offered programs and educational services to encourage the full development and cultural identity of Francophone learners in the Province. A partner in the development of the Francophone collective in British Columbia, the Conseil’s current enrolment totals over 5,700 students, in 37 schools – 24 of which are homogeneous French-language schools – and it serves over 100 communities throughout the province.
The Fédération des parents francophones de Colombie-Britannique
Founded in 1979, the FPFCB is made up of 45 preschool and school parent associations. Its mission is to assemble, represent, support, and provide the necessary tools to parents to fulfill their role as educators and to promote their engagement and participation in the creation of vibrant and exemplary Francophone environments.