The Last 30 Years

In the spring, the government of Canada tabled a bill in the House of Commons to make the Northwest Territories bilingual. The territorial government was vigorously opposed, citing the historic presence and clear majority of the various Aboriginal groups. The federal government accepted these arguments and withdrew the bill after second reading. On June 28, 1984, the Government of the Northwest Territories passed the Official Languages Act, which recognizes 8 (11 in reality) languages-Chipewyan, Cree, Dogrib, English, French, Gwich'in, Inuktitut (including Inuvialuktun and Inuinnaqtun) and Slavey (North and South Slavey).

The two governments signed an agreement the same day (June 28): the territorial government agreed to provide French-language services on condition that the federal government cover the cost and subsidize community development for Aboriginal groups. In the next 15 years, $30 million was allocated for French and $53 million for Aboriginal groups.

1984 to 2000
Four cultural associations were formed
- Yellowknife and Fort Smith (1984), Hay River (1987) and Inuvik (2000)

Introduction of French as a first language education program

Acquired on February 1, the Maison Laurent-Leroux constitutes the only infrastructure of the N.W.T. Francophone community, which still hopes to provide each town with a community centre. However, the Maison Laurent-Leroux lacks sufficient office space to accommodate all French-language organizations and services under one roof.

The 70 students of the École Allain-St-Cyr moved into their own building after sharing space in an Englishlanguage school for ten years.

The FFT established the first Francophone/Aboriginal partnership-a cultural project resulting in the creation of a monumental sculpture at McAvoy Rock, the collective work of Sonny MacDonald, a Métis from Fort Smith, John Sabourin, a Dene from Fort Simpson, Eli Nasogaluak, an Inuvialuk from Tuktoyaktuk and Armand Vaillancourt, a Quebecker from Montreal.

On May 13, the (advisory) school board presented a request for the establishment of a French-language school board. The request was approved, and the Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest was established in Yellowknife. The board manages two schools: École Allain St-Cyr in Yellowknife, and École Boréale in Hay River.

Legal recourse on the language obligations of governments: Following the government's rejection of the recommendations of the Forum sur le français (1998), on January 25 the FFT took legal action against both governments.

The Association des parents ayant droit de Yellowknife and the Conseil de développement économique des TNO were established.

Collège des T.N.-O., a post-secondary French-language educational institution, was established, completing the N.W.T. French-language school network.

In the summer of 2008, the Court of Appeal rendered its decision in the FFT case (appealed in 2007) on the linguistic obligations of the governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada. This decision did not contradict Justice Moreau on the harm done to Francophones (April 2006). The Fédération franco-ténoise asked the Supreme Court of Canada for leave to be heard on other aspects of the dispute. However, in the winter of 2009 the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.