Vol 9 No 1 (2017)

The Effects of Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on Shaping Official Language Minority Community Educational Rights: A Case Study of the Francophone Minority Community in Alberta

Joshua McKeown
MA-IS Graduate, Athabasca University
Published December 1, 2016


The issue of Official Language Minority Community (OLMC) educational rights in Canada is one that has been hotly debated over past half century. Is the provision of rights guaranteed under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms an effective way of going about protecting these minority communities? And if so, what are the positive effects on said communities as a result of these protected group rights? This research intends to investigate these questions from a thematic and integrated perspective utilizing the disciplines of political science, law, and sociology. In addition to this qualitative analysis, there is a detailed case study analysis of the lived experiences of the Francophone minority community in Alberta using Section 23 to obtain their constitutional rights. This analysis does expressly show that Section 23 of the Charter did in fact dramatically affect the rights of OLMCs access to education in their own language, and did bolster the identity of these communities to aid in their growth and development in the future. Going forward, this research can join with similar studies to solidify the fact that minority right protections, through legal and legislative means, can have a significantly positive effect on the minority community’s identity and well-being.