2015

The Supreme Court of Canada determines how to establish equivalence between minority and majority language schools

The Supreme Court of Canada found that the minority language education offered at the Rose-des-Vents elementary school was not equivalent to the education offered in the majority language as is required under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Court restored the decision of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, stating that the petition judge had applied the correct test to assess equivalence. The comparison must be contextual and holistic, taking into consideration, not only the physical facilities, but also factors such as the quality of instruction, educational outcomes, extracurricular activities and travel times. These factors are considered in order to assess the overall equivalence of the educational services being delivered in the minority language schools with those in the majority language schools in the same catchment area. A disparity in educational services can limit enrollment and contribute to assimilation.