The Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest (CSFTNO) supports the move by Education Minister R.J. Simpson to repeal a 2016 enrolment directive on French education, the CSFTNO said on Tuesday.

The commission’s news release came shortly after Simpson announced the repeal of a 2016 ministerial directive on enrolment in French first language programs. The minister said it would be replaced with new regulations under the NWT Education Act before the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

The decision followed consideration of concerns over how the 2016 directive was implemented and the need for more clarity on admission requirements, ECE said.

Allain St. Cyr, in Yellowknife is one of the two French schools in the NWT run by the Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest (CSFTNO).
Blair McBride/NNSL photo

The GNWT plans to consult with education bodies on the new regulations during the summer.

The 2016 directive outlined which non-rights holders could be admitted to French first language schools in the NWT. Rights-holders are people identified under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as having minority language educational rights as French-speaking community members outside of Quebec. They can be automatically enrolled in the schools.

There were three categories for admission under the 2016 directive: reacquisition for children of parents who could have been rights holders but who didn’t have the opportunity to attend a French first language school; children of new immigrants to Canada who don’t speak English or French and who are enrolling in a Canadian school for the first time; children whose parents are non-citizen francophones.

Those will be included in the new regulations, along with a possible fourth category that would include French-speaking non-rights-holders.

In supporting ECE’s announcement, the commission applauded the addition of the fourth category, saying “this a practice already in place in the vast majority of school boards in minority settings to counter assimilation and cultural erosion. The CSFTNO also wants the minister of education to delegate to them the management of admissions to simplify and speed up the process.”

The president of CSFTNO, Simon Cloutier, noted Simpson’s willingness to work towards a more flexible approach.

“Let us not forget that we are presently in a dispute over the issue of admissions, and, given the history, we are anxious to see what the minister’s new proposal will contain. We hope that it will truly respond to our needs,” Cloutier said.

New regulations would apply to applications for the 2020-2021 school year and into the future. Applications now under judicial review will continue to be subject to the 2016 directive.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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