230 years ago, Ontario’s very first French-language school, a Catholic institution, welcomed its first students in Sandwich, next to Windsor.

Timeline

2017
2017

Third provincial symposium

The third provincial Symposium took place in Toronto, November 14 and 15, bringing together the Francophone and Anglophone Catholic school community. During the Symposium, for which the theme was “Renewing the Promise”, the French-language Catholic community launched the Cadre de référence de l’éducation catholique de langue française (French-language Catholic Education Framework), which includes the student’s profile, the teacher’s profile and the French-language Catholic schools’ profile.

2017

20th anniversary

The 8 French-language Catholic school boards celebrated their 20th anniversary.

2016
2016

French-Language Catholic Education in Ontario Conference

The first ever French-Language Catholic Education Conference was held in in Sudbury, on April 19 and 20. The theme of this major gathering was “Mène-moi à ma mission(Lead Me to My Mission), as the stage was set to celebrate French-language Catholic education and to acknowledge its contribution to the province of Ontario. It also provided the delegates with opportunities for resourcing, networking, training and dialogue.

2014
2014

Cadre de référence de l’élève catholique

On May 7, 2014, the Cadre de référence de l’élève catholique (Catholic School Graduate Expectations) was officially launched in Toronto during the first ever Catholic Student Symposium “Vous serez mes témoins” (You shall be my witnesses)This document will further guide French-language Catholic Education in Ontario.

2011
2011

The Second Symposium

The second French-language Catholic schools in Ontario Symposium took place in Toronto. Its main goal was to come up with recommendations that would guide French-language Catholic education in the years to come.

Its theme was Enfants de Dieu, citoyens du monde, toute une différence (Children of God, Citizens of the World, Quite a Difference.)

Its objective was to define and showcase the contribution of the French-language Catholic schools to the province of Ontario. It resulted insome ten recommendations related to the mission and the four scopes of responsibilities. These recommendations were retained to better inform the people of Ontario of the specific nature of French-language Catholic schools through knowledge in order for their contribution to be further understood and recognized.

The Proceedings were published in 2012.

2005
2005

The French-language Catholic Schools’ Mission

The document Mission – L’école catholique de langue française en Ontario (Mission – French-Language Catholic Schools in Ontario) was published for all the members of the French-language Catholic Schools in Ontario.

It was officially launched as a reference document for our Catholic schools. It identified four distinct scopes of responsibilities for our schools to assume in order to attain their mission within our society:

  • Teaching of the various school subjects;
  • School’s relational climate;
  • Religious education;
  • Pastoral leadership.
2001
2001

The First Symposium

The first Ontario French Catholic Education Symposium was held in Ottawa. The Symposium’s main goal was to define the mission of Catholic schools within the Ontario Francophone community. 

The Symposium Proceedings were published.

1998
1998

Creation of district school boards

French-language district school boards are created (8 French Catholic and 4 French public boards).

1997
1997

Fair Funding

Francophones obtain the right to manage their own school boards and receive fair funding.

1995
1995

Inauguration of French-language colleges

Collège des Grands-Lacs and Collège Boréal were inaugurated.

1995

Sweeney Report

Creation of a task force to the review the reduction of school boards in Ontario (Sweeney Report).

1994
1994

Dissolution of the Conseil scolaire de langue française d’Ottawa-Carleton

The Report of the Royal Commission on Learning recommends that the Conseil scolaire de langue française d’Ottawa-Carleton be dissolved and replaced by the Conseil des écoles publiques d’Ottawa-Carleton and the Conseil des écoles catholiques de langue française de la région d’Ottawa-Carleton.

1993
1993

Regulation 297

Regulation 297 recognizes that religious education is a teachable didactic subject.

1992
1992

Conseil des écoles séparées de langue française de Prescott-Russell

Agreement on the creation of the Conseil des écoles séparées de langue française de Prescott-Russell.

1991
1991

Establishment of two distinct Catholic boards

On July 3, an agreement is reached with the CESC de Prescott-Russell for the establishment of two distinct Catholic boards as early as January 1992: the French Catholic board counts 10,500 students and the English Catholic board has 500 students.

1991

Cousineau Committee Report

Report of the advisory group on the management of French language education.

1990
1990

Bill 64

Bill 64 comes into effect on January 1, 1990, allowing Catholic boards partial access to commercial, industrial and corporate taxes

1990

Mahé case

The Supreme Court of Canada’s unanimous judgment in the Mahé case confirms that Article 23 of the Charter provides to Francophones the right to administer and control their education outside of Québec and this, in an environment that nurtures the linguistic minority’s culture and ensures its preservation and financing through public funding. It is clear that the model established by Bill 75 is a minimum standard and, at the other end of the scale, there are the French-language boards. It is in the light of the Mahé decision that AFOCEC determines that the ideal situation is to have a Catholic French-language board with full funding, leaving the various regions to define their own appropriate model.

1990

The Cousineau Committee

On November 14, the new New Democratic Party (NDP) government announces the creation of the French-Language Education Management Advisory Group. The Cousineau Committee presented its report on September 3, 1991.

1990

Law 12

Law 12, enacted on December 20, 1990, gives Francophones a representation based on student population. It also gives the Lieutenant Governor in Council the responsibility to make regulations for the establishment of French-Language boards up to January 1, 1994. This means that the full rights of Francophone Catholics are not enshrined in legislation.

1990

Section 23 and school governance

In the wake of the Mahé affair, Section 23 of the Charter recognizes various management and control methods for minority official language educational institutions, based on the number of students.

1989
1989

In the midst of this evolving reality

In the midst of this evolving reality, Ontario’s Catholic bishops were asking all our partners in education to consider this promising situation. It provided us with the opportunity we needed to reflect on these questions and it allowed us to understand the present and contemplate the future.

Less than two decades later, the coming of the Internet and the blooming of the information era were redefining societies and relations worldwide. Once more, we had to find the required courage to consider this period to be a promising situation allowing us to revamp the Catholic education’s mission statement.

1989

Ottawa-Carleton French Language School Board

January 1989 marks the creation of the Conseil scolaire de langue française d’Ottawa-Carleton which includes two sections, one Catholic and the other public.

1988
1988

Adoption of Bill 125

Bill 125 adopted on June 1, 1988 infringes on the rights of French-language Catholic voters. The result of the census completed before the adoption of the law reduced the number of Francophone trustees on several boards and reversed the Francophone majority in six Catholic school boards. Francophones challenge the constitutionality of the census and the new representation which is based on the number of rights holders. On the eve of the 1988 school board election, an order granting a double majority vote is granted to trustees in six boards.

The 1988 Draft Bill 125 to amend the Education Act proposes that the number of Francophone commissioners be proportional to the number of electors holding minority language education rights.

1988

Conseil des écoles françaises de la communauté urbaine de Toronto

The Conseil des écoles françaises de la communauté urbaine de Toronto is created on December 1, 1988 through Draft Bill 75 amendments to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.

1986
1986

Marchand case

In the Marchand case ruling, Judge Sirois decreed that the quality of education of the minority should be equal to the quality of education offered to the majority.

1986

Full Funding of Catholic Education in High Schools

The 1986 Act to amend the Education Act (the former Draft Bill 30) aims to implement full funding for Catholic Separate high schools.

1986

Draft Bill 17

Draft Bill 17 proposes that Franco-Ontarians should gain the right to be represented in each school board by a Frenchlanguage section with exclusive competency over Frenchlanguage teaching modules.

1986

Bill 30

Bill 30 is adopted on June 23, 1986 by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Public schools’ exclusive access to revenues stemming from commercial, industrial and corporate taxes perpetuates a blatant injustice towards the Catholic system, and prevents the full realization of the Catholic system’s completion as permitted by the Davis government.

1986

Bill 75

Bill 75 enacted on October 1, 1986 entitles voters to elect Francophone Catholic trustees and ensures, by extension, the administration of Franco-Ontarian education by Francophones.

1986

Bill 8 (French Language Services Act)

Bill 8 (French Language Services Act) receives unanimous approval by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on November 18, 1986. The Act has the effect of strengthening existing policies in a legislative framework to guarantee the right of a citizen to receive French-language provincial government services in designated areas.

1985
1985

Constitutionality of Bill 30

The Government of Ontario refers Draft Bill 30 to the Ontario Court of Appeals to confirm the constitutionality of the law. The court deems the law to be constitutional.

1984
1984

The Marchand Case

The Marchand Case decision compels school boards to apply Bill 122 and build schools for Francophones.

1984

Funding of Catholic High Schools

Premier William Davis announces funding to Catholic high schools, which means the completion of the Catholic school system. There is a positive reaction from the Catholic community in light of the impending equal rights to equitable funding. However, this can only be achieved if spending, above projected ceilings, is offset by evaluation and not by government subsidies. 

Law 119 states that all Francophone students have the right to be educated in their own language.

1984

Full funding: new perspectives and directions

After full funding was obtained thanks to the completion, Catholic school boards had to take the new perspectives and directions into account. This situation led the Catholic schools community to a further and deeper thought process on our common Catholic identity and our increasing responsibilities toward the public opinion as to the curriculum that was being offered within our schools.

The changes that were having a social impact, such as globalization and technology, were also starting to redefine our students’ learning experience. Furthermore, the vision put forth by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) kept requiring that the Church find new ways of bearing witness to the Gospel and to our faith in a world that was more and more fragmented and secularized.*[1].

[1]Secularity is the state of a religious person who tends to be excluded from the common public and social world. Religion has thus become a phenomenon outside public life, therefore a private phenomenon.

1983
1983

Number of children required before French-language education can be provided

The Ontario referral on Education to the Ontario Court of Appeals strikes the provisions of the Education Act granting school boards discretionary powers to set the number of enrolled children required before Frenchlanguage education can be provided.

1982
1982

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees constitutional protection of the following elementary and secondary school minority language educational rights:

  • The right to classes and schools where teaching is in the language of the minority
  • The right to administer these institutions
1980
1980

The qualified layperson’s role

The religious communities no longer represented the face of the province’s Catholic schools. From then on, the role of leader was to be assumed by qualified laypersons who had received professional training.

1976
1976

Recommendation No. 8 of the Mayo Report

Recommendation No. 8 of the Mayo Report (Ottawa) states that a homogeneous French school board be established for the entire region of Ottawa, that includes all children from kindergarten to the completion of secondary school and be, above all, denominational (Catholic). Later, according to the wishes of the board, non-denominational or public sector can be created.

1972
1972

Commission of language rights in education

On February 17, the Symons Commission recommends the establishment of a Commission of language rights in education. This commission should play a mediating role, but is not empowered to make decisions. School crises continue.

1971
1971

Symons Ministerial Commission

After Sturgeon Falls, other school crises follow. The Symons Ministerial Commission is created to study the issue.

1969
1969

Merger and election

The merger of several Catholic school boards and the right to elect school trustees.

1968
1968

Publication of the Bériault Report

Bill 121 provides for the creation of schools or classes within elementary schools to ensure that Francophone students are taught in French, consequent to applications by at least 10 Francophone rate-payers of public or separate school boards.

Bill 122 enables public funding of Frenchlanguage public secondary schools, but not separate Roman Catholic schools.

French language advisory committees are set up in public school boards.

1967
1967

Relationship between Franco-Ontarians and their school system

Ontario Premier John Robarts denounces the fact that too many Franco-Ontarian youth drop out before completing their secondary school education and asks the Minister of Education to look into the relationship between Franco-Ontarians and their school system.

1965
1965

History and Geography in French for grades 11 and 12

Public high schools can offer history and geography in French in grades 11 and 12, if the school board allows it.

1963
1963

Courses offered in French in Grades 9 and 10

The Honourable John Robarts, Premier of Ontario, announces a new financing strategy for schools known as the “Ontario Foundation Tax Plan”.

All subjects can be taught in French in grades 9 and 10, at the discretion of the school principal.

1962
1962

Private French-language schools

There are 58 private French-Language schools in the province.  By 1966, only six remain.

1950
1950

The status of French-language education is inadequate

The Royal Commission on Education in Ontario finds that the status of French-language education is inadequate and that remedying the situation is necessary.

1944
1944

End of Regulation 17

Regulation 17 is struck from Ontario Statutes.

1940
1940

Non-existance of French secondary schools

In the 1940’s, most Francophone students left school at the end of their elementary studies, because there is no French-language secondary school, except in certain areas where Francophones are represented in a strong majority.

At the secondary level, the Francophone population can only receive a secondary education within a private school. The first one is created in Ottawa in 1845. Separate school boards may, by law, offer courses for Franco-Ontarians up to Grade 10. However, for grades 11 and 12, the only option is a private school or an English-Language public high school. Classes in grades 9 and 10 for separate boards only receive grants equivalent to elementary school funding, which are lower than those given to English public secondary schools.

In the first instance, parents are subject to a double taxation: their taxes are directed to the public sector, but they have to pay extra to ensure their children are educated in French. In the second situation, it is assimilation.

1939
1939

Funding of Catholic Schools

Premier Hepburn states that he will not pass contentious legislation to fund Catholic schools, but that the burden of its financing will be offset through government subsidies to all Ontario schools.

1937
1937

Revocation of the Assessment Act

The implementation of the Separate school Bill is not well received by Catholics or Protestants. On May 24, 1937, the Assessment Act is hereby revoked with Hepburn’s promise to grant equitable funding in the near future.

1936
1936

Separate School Bill

The Government adopts the Hepburn Act or Separate School Bill which gives Catholics limited access to revenues stemming from corporate income taxes.

1930
1930

Catholic Taxpayers’ Association

The Catholic Taxpayers’ Association hailing from Central Ontario is created in response to the frustrations experienced by school trustees and Catholic taxpayers who feel their rights are being violated. Parishes exert pressure demanding fair access to revenues stemming from corporate income taxes.

1928
1928

The Grand Charter circular

The Grand Charter circular becomes the first curriculum specifically prepared for French-language schools.

1927
1927

The Scott-Marchand-Côté Commission report

The Scott-Marchand-Côté Commission report recommends that both French and English languages should receive equal consideration and should be used on an equal footing in elementary school teaching and communication. The report also recommends that school inspectors should be bilingual and, in French-language schools, of Francophone origin.

1915
1915

Regulation 17

Regulation 17 requires that English is to be the only language of instruction and communication in bilingual, public and separate schools after Grade 2.

1912
1912

Circular No. 17 – Management of Bilingual Separate Schools

Circular of Instruction (Regulation) No. 17 for Ontario Separate (bilingual) Schools is adopted by ministerial order in June 1912. The Regulation is amended in August 1913 and becomes law in April 1915.

1889
1889

Ontario prohibits separate schools from teaching beyond Grade 10

The province of Ontario prohibits separate schools from teaching beyond Grade 10, simultaneously restricting their sources of funding. The decision is subsequently ratified by the Privy Council’s Judicial Committee (London, 1926).

1885
1885

English is to be used in teaching

Until 1885, in Prescott and Russell and in south-western Ontario, the French public school system gradually transforms into separate schools, which seem better able to welcome the French-speaking population and allow it to continue learning in French, even when it is prohibited.

The Public Education Ministry decrees that English is to be used in teaching and converts French-language schools into English-French bilingual schools.

1871
1871

Education Act

The Education Act is passed, setting the characteristics of the educational system and making schools free, and attendance compulsory.

1867
1867

Religious rights

Religious rights are enshrined in the Constitution Act.

1863
1863

Premier John Sandfield MacDonald passed the Scott Act

Prime Minister John Sandfield MacDonald passed the Scott Act entitling Catholics to withdraw their school taxes from public schools to establish their own schools, raise their own school taxes and receive government subsidies.

1845
1845

The first secondary school

The first secondary school was founded in Ottawa in 1845.

1843
1843

Law to protect the right to education for the Catholic minority

United Canada passes a law to protect the right to education for the Protestant minority in Canada-East (Québec) and the Catholic minority in Canada-West (Ontario). These are the so-called “separate” schools.

1816
1816

Common Schools

The law creating “Common Schools” requires Francophones to leave Catholic schools in order to attend public schools.

1807
1807

Grammar schools

The government plans to create “grammar schools” in each of the eight districts of Upper Canada.

1798
1798

200,000 hectares for school purposes

The Government of Upper Canada (Ontario) reserves 200,000 hectares for school purposes.

1786
1786

The first French-language Catholic school

The first French-language Catholic school established within the current boundaries of Ontario opens in Sandwich, near Windsor, run by Notre-Dame de l’Assomption parish priest François-Xavier Dufaux.

Source : Levasseur, Gilles : Le statut juridique du français en Ontario. Les presses de l'université d'Ottawa; 1993, 272 pp.)