'It's a good start:' French-language high school coming to Toronto's east end
The announcement comes after a coalition of parents launched a lawsuit with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
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The provincial government has announced plans to create an exclusively French-language high school in Toronto's east end.
The announcement came Tuesday after years of lobbying and petitioning from a coalition of parents from the Toronto-Danforth and Beaches-East York communities. Last summer the group launched a lawsuit with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, claiming the lack of a French school violates their right to education in their preferred language.
"What's nice and vindicating is that finally the government recognizes what parents have been saying for years," said Nicolas Rouleau, a lawyer representing the coalition. "We are definitely happy about it. It's a good start."
The province will invest $16 million with the Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, a board of French-language public schools in central and southwestern Ontario, to create a new school that can accommodate more than 500 students. It's part of Ontario's new investment program that aims to create 39 new schools and renovate 40 existing ones, according to details from the Ministry of Education.
However, Rouleau said the announcement does not mean the coalition is dropping its lawsuit right away.
"Now the issue is, what are they going to provide to us, and will that school have the same amenities as other English-language schools," he said.
There are no details yet regarding the school's exact location or when it will officially open.
"Now we must get to work exploring every option to ensure that this school is truly equivalent," wrote the coalition's president Heidi Pospisil in a release. "The children of this neighbourhood deserve no less, and the vitality of our growing community depends on it."
In a statement, Minister of Francophone Affairs Marie-France Lalonde said the school will allow children to get quality education in French closer to their homes.
"This represents a major step as our government plans to significantly increase French-language education programs for the fast-growing Francophone population in the Toronto area," Lalonde added.