Ontario Transfers Governance of Francophone School Serving Students with Special Needs

Published on August 18, 2020

The change marks a major milestone for the Franco-Ontario Community

August 18, 2020 2:30 P.M.

Ministry of Education

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government proudly announced the transfer of governance of Centre Jules-Léger (CJL) from the Ministry of Education to the CJL Consortium. This transfer marks a major milestone for the Franco-Ontarian community, as it ensures the province's only French-language school for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision, are deafblind, or have severe learning disabilities will be governed by Francophones for Francophones.

"For four decades, Centre Jules-Léger, in partnership with the Franco-Ontarian community, has ensured Francophone children and students with special needs can develop to their full potential," said Minister Stephen Lecce.  "This transfer will strengthen the delivery of French-language education for students with special education needs and will further ensure that Franco-Ontarian culture and language are incorporated into the community."

"The transfer of governance of Centre Jules-Léger to the CJL Consortium will help bring us closer to the community and closer to the parents and students we serve," said Johanne Lacombe, chair of the Centre Jules-Léger Consortium. "This proximity will enable us to be more in tune with the community and allow us to better focus on the priorities of Francophones."

Now that the transfer is finalized, students and their families will benefit from a truly Francophone governance model. The CJL Consortium's leadership is composed of representatives from Ontario's 12 French-language school boards. In addition, parents and the CJL community will also have the opportunity for stronger engagement to improve student achievement, equity and well-being with the creation of a Parent and Program Advisory Committee.

"The CJL Consortium represents an innovative and efficient governance model that will focus on providing French-language educational services to the province's Francophone students, in accordance with CJL's mandate," said Minister Caroline Mulroney. "This announcement is the perfect example of excellence in leadership by and for Francophones, allowing Ontario's Francophone community to determine how best to educate students so that they can reach their full potential."

"This transfer of governance strengthens the delivery of French-language education for students with special education needs. These students and their families will benefit from a governance model that is by and for Francophones," said Parliamentary Assistant Sam Oosterhoff. "I am confident that with the leadership, strength and experience of the CJL Consortium, we can give our Franco-Ontarian students an excellent education system."

Quick Facts

  • Ontario, with more than 622,000 Francophones, is home to the largest population of Francophones after the Province of Québec (reference 2016 Census data - Inclusive Definition of Francophone).
  • In 1997, Ontario established 12 French-language school boards (FLSBs), providing a by and for Francophones governance model for the province’s French-language elementary and secondary schools.
  • In 2018-19, French-language elementary and secondary schools had an enrolment of over 110,000 students. This represents an increase of over 21,000 students since 2004-05.
  • The CJL Consortium, a consortium of the 12 French-language school boards, established in December 2017, is composed of six members drawn from the pool of trustees of the French-language school boards (three representing the French-language Catholic school system and three representing the French-language public school system).
  • CJL is the province’s only French-language provincial school (for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision, or are deafblind), and demonstration school (for students with learning disabilities). Last year, over 50 students were enrolled at Centre Jules-Léger and approximately 400 students from French-language school boards benefited from its services. CJL was the only publicly-funded French-language establishment that was not governed by French-language education rights-holders.

Additional Resources