Ontario Civil

Constitutional Law

Interlocutory injunction was granted to suspend application of new athletic association regulations

Plaintiff CEPEO was public school board serving education needs of French students in eastern Ontario region. Individual plaintiff was parent of two students exercising their minority language rights under s. 23 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms at Louis Riel Secondary School. Louis-Riel was only French language public secondary school that offered sports-study programme, and which any student, irrespective of residential address, could attend. In 2012, defendant athletic association (OFSAA) adopted new regulations pursuant to which students living outside designated school boundaries and attending sports school could not participate in competition sanctioned by association. In addition, new regulations stipulated that school boards which chose not to have designed boundaries were deemed to have them regardless, which had effect of creating artificially designed residential boundaries, despite fact that such boundaries did not exist within CEPEO. CEPEO claimed that students had to choose between possibility of following French-sports studies program and not participating in highest level of OFSAA competitions, abandoning program of their choice, or enrolling in English language school that gave them access to elite OFSAA competition levels. Ontario Human Rights Tribunal dismissed plaintiffs’ motions for interim measures. Plaintiff sought to overturn OFSAA regulations. Plaintiffs brought motion for interlocutory injunction pending resolution of legal issues. Motion granted. Interlocutory injunction was granted under ss. 23 and 24 of Charter in order to suspend application of new OFSAA regulations on francophone minority in eastern Ontario and to maintain status quo before entry into force of new regulations, until underlying legal issue was resolved. If educational experience was perceived to be lower in schools of minority language and deterred parents from having their children education in schools of minority language, this created risk of assimilation which was not consistent with remedial purpose of s. 23 of Charter. Evidence filed by plaintiffs showed that new regulations had effect of discouraging parents from having their children educated in minority language, and showed that Louis Riel School expected reduction of 91 students for school year 2015 to 2016, when compared to enrolment in previous year. There was serious issue to be decided in this case, whether students affected by OFSAA regulations would receive equal education to that received by majority of English language students.

Conseil des Écoles Publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario c. Ontario Federation of School Athletics Assn. (Aug. 27, 2015, Ont. S.C.J., Robert N. Beaudoin J., File No. 14-62416) 257 A.C.W.S. (3d) 934.

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