Government signed a settlement agreement with Lucien Comeau, an Acadian parent who had filed a human rights complaint regarding the denial of supplementary education funding for Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) schools in the Halifax region.
Government and Mr. Comeau reached the agreement as a result of their engagement in the restorative mediation process through the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Mr. Comeau and the Halifax Regional Municipality reached a similar agreement in August 2015.
“Government recognizes that students from the Acadian and francophone community should receive the support they need to be successful,” said Acadian Affairs Minister Michel Samson. “I am proud that government could work with Mr. Comeau and contribute towards ensuring Acadian and francophone students have more opportunities.
Mr. Comeau filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission in 2004, alleging discrimination because funds the Halifax Regional Municipality collected from ratepayers for programs like music and art were given only to English-language schools operated by the Halifax Regional School Board and not the CSAP schools located in Halifax.
In the settlement agreement, government recognizes that harm was caused to CSAP students, to CSAP’s programming and to the municipality’s Acadian and francophone community by not being able to access the supplementary school funding.
“I would like to thank the province for the recognition of the harm caused to Acadian and francophone CSAP students within the municipality prior to 2006,” said Mr. Comeau. “This recognition is very important to my family and my community to ensure our sense of belonging and inclusion in the Halifax region.”
As part of settlement agreement, government has committed to join and actively participate in a permanent working group made up of representatives from provincial and municipal governments, and members of the Acadian and francophone community. The goal of the working group is to improve the quality of life of the Acadian and francophone communities by discussing how to best address the needs of these communities.
Government will also contribute $75,000 to The Conseil communautaire du Grand-Havre Fund, a charitable fund managed by the Community Foundation Nova Scotia, established to provide grants for education, scholarships, awards, community and other charitable objects for the benefit of the Acadian and francophone community in the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The agreement serves to resolve all outstanding issues on the matter between government and Mr. Comeau. It is anticipated that the board of inquiry proceeding will be concluded shortly with a decision that incorporates the agreement reached between the parties.