2015

The Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories rules on the scope of the government’s discretion regarding admission to French-language schools

The Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories allowed the appeal and overturned the decision of the trial judge with regard to both the constitutionality of a ministerial directive affecting admission to French-language schools and the analysis of whether the numbers warranted expansion of École Boréale.

With regard to the constitutionality of the ministerial directive, the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories stated that the Commission scolaire francophone of the Northwest Territories could not have exclusive control over admissions, because it would amount to giving it the power to dictate how public funds are spent. The Court also found that the trial judge had erred in determining that the number of students at École Boréale warranted an expansion, because the school was only at 67% capacity. However, the Court was of the opinion that, because a school is dynamic institution, the capacity would have to be assessed from time to time.

In addition, the Court ruled that section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect pre-kindergarten programs, and therefore no remedy may be awarded for them under subsection 24(1).