23 October 2009

Public English-language schools in Quebec to open to children of Canadian visa holders

A Canadian law brought in 2002, which barred certain students from going to public English-language school, has been slammed as unconsititutional by Canada’s high court.

 The Supreme Court of Canada released its unanimous ruling on Bill 104, throwing out two Quebec government appeals to preserve the legislation, and giving the province of Quebec one year to replace it with an appropriate compromise.

Quebec's strict language laws require the majority of children in public schools to attend French-language institutions unless they meet a long list of criteria and can provide a "certificate of eligibility" for going to school in English. Prior to this strict Bill 104, students who attended private English school for a year or less could earn their eligibility for the English public system.

The bill has made things difficult for some families, including Canadian visa holders or new Canadian immigrants who came from an English-speaking country.

Premier Jean Charest said he hopes to work with opposition parties on a legislative response that will underscore the "primacy of the French language".


The Canadian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with Canadian visa and immigration applications.

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