Christian Monnin is the recipient of the Manitoba Bar Association’s 2021 Public Interest Pro Bono award.
He is being recognized for his pro bono work on behalf of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) in the Conseil scolaire francophone de la Colombie-Britannique v. British Columbia (Education) appeal which involved French-language rights in education.
Christian assisted with the draft legal filings at the leave to intervene and intervention stages and also provided the oral submissions to the Supreme Court of Canada on September 26, 2019. The case was heard in-person in Winnipeg, Manitoba, representing the first time that the Supreme Court sat outside of Ottawa in its 144 year history.
At issue was whether the Province of British Columbia’s underfunding of French-language schools was a violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights to minority-language education.
AMC maintained that governments should not be allowed to justify the infringement of constitutional, Aboriginal or treaty rights based on financial constraints and that a rigorous analysis is required to justify constitutional infringements. AMC also suggested that Courts must always ensure that their approach takes into account Charter values.
The Supreme Court ruled that children who study in English and French should get the same quality of education, and eight B.C. communities should get French language schools.
“Mr. Monnin played a central role in developing the case theory for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs intervention and more generally, in critically analyzing section 1. His practical and conceptual insights were invaluable and his ability to quickly and intuitively understand the issues raised by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs were impressive,” the award citation states.
The award will be presented on Friday, January 22, 2021 at the Mid-Winter Awards Ceremony starting at 11:45am via Zoom Webinar.
Please join us in congratulating Christian on this well-deserved recognition.
About Christian Monnin
Christian practises in the areas of commercial and civil litigation, and labour and employment law. His practice extends to constitutional and public law, international and domestic commercial arbitrations, and administrative advocacy with an emphasis on regulatory matters and labour law matters. He has experience advising on matters relating to consumer product safety and liability and insurance, and defending clients in multi-jurisdictional and cross-border class actions.