TORONTO —The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) has joined forces with members of the francophone community to file an application for judicial review today challenging the Ontario government’s 2001 closing of the Collège des Grands Lacs.
OPSEU is challenging the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities’ decision of Oct. 5, 2001 to accept the recommendation of the Grands Lacs Board of Directors to close the only French-language college serving the 165,000 francophones in Central – South Western Ontario.
“We’re acting to protect our members, who were harmed in this case, and also to protect the rights of Ontario’s francophone communities,” said OPSEU President Leah Casselman.
OPSEU, and the other applicants, Ms. Julie Gigliotti, president of the local, and Mr. Claude F. Leduc, are seeking a declaration that the Minister’s decision was illegal as it violated, among others, constitutional principle of the protection of minorities, as well as Ontario statutes and regulations then in place.
The applicants have retained the services of the Ottawa law firm of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, and are working with Mr. Ronald F. Caza, who represented the francophone community when the government tried to shut the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa. According to Mr. Caza, “before making such a drastic decision, the Minister had to take into
consideration the impact of such a decision on the linguistic minority. This was obviously not done. It is our position that such a failure was in violation of the unwritten constitutional principle of the protection of minorities outlined by the Supreme Court of Canada.”
For further information:
David Cox, OPSEU Communications 1-800-268-7376 x 314