Regulation 17
Regulation 17 was a regulation of the Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 Ministry of Education
Ministry of Education (Ontario)
The Ministry of Education is the agency of the Ontario government in the Canadian province of Ontario responsible for government policy, funding, curriculum planning and direction in all levels of public education, including elementary and secondary schools.This Ministry is responsible for...

, issued in July 1912 by the Conservative
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
The Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario , is a right-of-centre political party in Ontario, Canada. The party was known for many years as "Ontario's natural governing party." It has ruled the province for 80 of the years since Confederation, including an uninterrupted run from 1943 to 1985...

 government of premier
Premier of Ontario
The Premier of Ontario is the first Minister of the Crown for the Canadian province of Ontario. The Premier is appointed as the province's head of government by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, and presides over the Executive council, or Cabinet. The Executive Council Act The Premier of Ontario...

 Sir James P. Whitney. It restricted the use of French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 as a language of instruction to the first two years of schooling. It was amended in 1913, and it is that version that was applied throughout Ontario.

French Canada
French Canada
French Canada, also known as "Lower Canada", is a term to distinguish the French Canadian population of Canada from English Canada.-Definition:...

 reacted with outrage. Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 journalist Henri Bourassa
Henri Bourassa
Joseph-Napoléon-Henri Bourassa was a French Canadian political leader and publisher. He is seen by many as an ideological father of Canadian nationalism....

 denounced the "Prussians of Ontario" (see French-Prussian enmity). It was strongly opposed by Franco-Ontarian
Franco-Ontarians are French Canadian or francophone residents of the Canadian province of Ontario. They are sometimes known as "Ontarois"....

s, particularly in the national capital of Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

 where the École Guigues was at the centre of the controversy. The newspaper Le Droit
Le Droit
Le Droit is a Canadian daily newspaper, published in Ottawa, Canada. Initially established and owned by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the paper was has been published by Gesca since 2000.-History:...

, which is still published today as the province's only francophone daily newspaper, was established by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate is a missionary religious congregation in the Catholic Church. It was founded on January 25, 1816 by Saint Eugene de Mazenod, a French priest born in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France on August 1, 1782. The congregation was given recognition by Pope...

 in 1913 to oppose the ban. Faced with separate school boards' resistance and defiance of the new regulation, the Ministry of Education issued Regulation 18 in August 1913 to coerce the school boards' employees into compliance.

In 1915, the provincial government of Sir William Hearst replaced Ottawa's elected separate school
Separate school
In Canada, separate school refers to a particular type of school that has constitutional status in three provinces and statutory status in three territories...

 board with a government-appointed commission. After years of litigation from ACFÉO
AFO (Canada)
AFO, or L'Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario is a Canadian organization which coordinates the political and cultural activities of the Franco-Ontarian community....

, however, the directive was never fully implemented.

The regulation was eventually repealed in 1927 by the government of Howard Ferguson
Howard Ferguson
George Howard Ferguson, PC was a Conservative politician and the ninth Premier of Ontario, Canada, from 1923 to 1930.-Background:He was the son of Charles Frederick Ferguson who served in the Canadian House of Commons...

 following the recommendations of the Merchant-Scott-Côté report. Ferguson was an opponent of bilingualism, but repealed the law because he needed to form a political alliance with Quebec premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau
Louis-Alexandre Taschereau
Louis-Alexandre Taschereau was a the 14th Premier of the Canadian province of Quebec from 1920 to 1936. He was elected four times, the first in 1900, in the riding of Montmorency. He was also a member of the Parti libéral du Québec...

 against the federal government
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

. The Conservative government reluctantly recognized bilingual schools, but the directive worsened relations between Ontario and Quebec for many years and is still keenly remembered by the French-speaking minority of Ontario.

Despite the repeal of Regulation 17, however, French language schools in Ontario were not officially recognized under the provincial Education Act until 1968.

A historical plaque in Ottawa commemorates the role of the École Guigues.

Further reading

  • Barber, Marilyn. "The Ontario Bilingual Schools Issue: Sources of Conflict," Canadian Historical Review, Sept 1966, Vol. 47 Issue 3, pp 227-248
  • Cécillon, Jack D. "Language, Schools and Religious Conflict in the Windsor Border Region: A Case Study of Francophone Resistance to the Ontario Government's Imposition of Regulation XVII, 1910-1928," Dissertation Abstracts International, 2008, Vol. 69 Issue 6, p2415-2415,
  • Gaffield, Chad. Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict: The Origins of the French Language Controversy in Ontario (1987)
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