Three workshops on current topics relevant to parents were offered online as part of the annual conference of the Fédération des parents francophones.
The impacts of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling on our communities
Held on November 22, 2020, the first workshop was conducted by Mark Power of Power Law, who headed up the legal team that successfully brought the leading case for French-language education in British Columbia.
Mr. Power first briefly outlined the history of education in French in the province, and recalled some of the highlights of the history of Francophones in British Columbia. Did you know that “until the gold rush of 1858 radically changed the cultural composition of British Columbia, French was the most widely-spoken non-indigenous language in the region”?
He then addressed the key elements of the legal process started in 2010 and concluded on June 12, 2020, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the Conseil scolaire francophone de la C.-B. (CSF), the Fédération des parents francophones, and co-appellant parents. The speaker explained, in plain language, the key issues before Canada’s highest court, including how to apply the sliding scale test, the possible ways to use section 1 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the Charter) to justify violations of the right to French-language education, and the award of damages for a Charter violation. He went on to discuss important conclusions of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Subsequently, Mr. Power discussed the potential implications of this leading case. He explained the positive impact that the upcoming changes to the 2021 Census and the court-ordered CSF-specific capital funding envelope will have on the planning of our schools. He also spoke about the Ministry of Education's capital project process, which means that it will take some time for the section 23 infringements to be remedied.
Mr. Power ended his presentation by answering questions from participants, who left the online workshop with an increased understanding of the historic judgment of June 12, 2020.
- You can read the PowerPoint presentation from the workshop here.
Linguistic (in)security: central to daily life for young people and parents
This workshop, offered by the Comité Sécurité linguistique, took place on November 28 in a very friendly atmosphere. The Comité is composed of Clementine Creach, youth project coordinator at the Conseil jeunesse francophone de la C.-B. (CJFCB); Suzanne Robillard, a PhD student in sociolinguistics at the University of Ottawa; and Geneviève Poitras and Antoine Laflamme, both students at l’école secondaire Jules-Verne in Vancouver.
Created in 2019 by the CJFCB, this committee's mission is to raise awareness in the Francophone community, including parents, of course, about issues related to language insecurity experienced by young people.
Interactive presentation tools facilitated a reflection on the personal and family experiences of the participants and gave rise to some fruitful discussions. Themes included linguistic and cultural identity, variations in regional and standard French, and the practices, customs, or behaviours observed in Francophone environments in British Columbia.
The young facilitators were able to raise awareness within the group, and shared their reality with both heart and transparency. The parents present will surely be motivated to become “linguistic security agents”, and also support their children’s Franco-Colombien French.
- Starting in January 2021, the Comité Sécurité linguistique will offer this online workshop to parent associations that would like to host it in their community. To learn more, ask your parents’ association to write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising in the context of a pandemic: an interactive workshop
Ethel Côté, an instructor who has a proven track record of mobilizing financial resources, led the workshop that closed the conference on December 5, 2020. It was an interactive session that highlighted fundraising practices, approaches, and tools adapted for schools and preschools, taking into account the current constraints arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to reflect on their reasons for fundraising, and on the importance of clearly defining their goals and how to achieve them. After providing an overview of the broad principles and concepts of fundraising, Ms. Côté encouraged parents’ associations to create a “collective résumé” to ascertain the skills and talents in their community and also their members’ common goals, and to identify the fundraising ideas that motivate them as well as the strategies necessary to achieve these.
The workshop leader, who encouraged the parents present to share their own experiences throughout the workshop, also presented several practical ideas for virtual fundraising. In addition, Ms. Côté discussed crowdfunding, describing various examples of these campaigns that could be led by parents’ associations.
In short, the participants in this workshop were not only able to share their best practices, but also to stock up on ideas that were both innovative and inspiring!