Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In 1982, the Canadian government repatriated the constitution and passes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Article 23 of the charter guarantees three rights: the right to instruction in the language of the minority, the right to educational establishments and the right, for the community, manage these establishments. But interpretations of what these rights mean differed between francophones and government authorities. In 1983, a group of parents under the banner of the Association de Georges et Julia Bugnet decided to sue the government. At the same time, a non-denominational private school named École Georges et Julia Bugnet opened its doors in Edmonton. A group of parents formed and ad hoc committee with the goal of obtaining a publicly funded francophone Catholic school. As such, École Maurice-Lavallée in Edmonton and École Saint-Antoine in Calgary opened in 1984 and École Heritage in Jean-Côté in 1988. With the victory Mahé/Bugnet case in the Supreme Court of Canada in 1990, more francophone school opened throughout the province. The Mahé/Bugnet decision confirmed the rights previously mentioned and affirmed that management schools by and for francophones was a right. Several years of conflict and negotiation resulted in amendments to School Act as the first law tabled by the new premier Ralph Klein in 1993. Today there are 40 francophone schools in Alberta serving over 7 000 students and managed under four school boards.

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