In 1977, almost 100 years after establishing a public education system, the government of British Columbia granted Francophones the right to French-language education.
What was called the “Programme cadre de français” began two years later, with 232 students in nine programs under the jurisdiction of English-language school districts.
Founded in 1979, l'Association des parents du Programme cadre de français (which would become l'Association des parents francophones de la Colombie-Britannique and later, la Fédération des parents francophones de Colombie-Britannique) was almost ten years old when it began its first legal action, in 1988, against the provincial government, with the goal of obtaining the right to manage the Francophone education system.
It would take almost ten years and two legal actions for the organization representing Francophone parents to finally achieve the establishment of a Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique (CSF) responsible for managing the Francophone education system throughout the province. British Columbia's first public and uniquely Francophone school opened in 1983: l’école Anne-Hébert in Vancouver. Fifteen years later, in May 1998, the CSF became responsible for its first school, l’école des Deux-rives in Mission.
Recognized as the official voice of Francophone parents in British Columbia by both the federal and provincial governments and the CSF, the Fédération des parents continues to lobby decision-making authorities to ensure that the Francophone education system has the resources necessary to carry out its mission in accordance with the spirit of Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.* In addition, the Fédération des parents contributes to the development and maintenance of a true partnership between stakeholders in Francophone education in British Columbia. Working closely with the CSF on several levels, the Fédération des parents is a member of several committees, including the Comité des partenaires en éducation francophone.
In 2010, the Fédération des parents francophones became a co-applicant when the CSF and a group of parents took legal action** to force the provincial government to recognize its constitutional duties and grant resources to the CSF to fulfil its responsibilities. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada, which heard it on September 26, 2019.
The year 2019 also marked the 40th anniversary of the British Columbia Francophone parents' movement. This milestone was celebrated at the 40th Annual Conference of the Fédération des parents, which brought together parents and many Francophone community partners from across the province.
On June 12, 2020, the highly anticipated decision from the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the CSF and the Fédération des parents. The efforts of the two institutions during the 10-year legal case have demonstrated that the rights to minority language education in British Columbia have been infringed, and these rights must now be respected.
* To learn more about Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: https://www.fpfcb.bc.ca/article-23-de-la-charte
** To view the mini-website dedicated to the legal case: causejuridique.csf.bc.ca
To view Section 5 of the B.C. School Act, which deals with language of instruction: http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/amnord/colombiebrit-loi-scolaire.htm
To learn about all the current schools in the CSF: www.csf.bc.ca/ecoles