McGuinty Government Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of The French Language Services Act

Archived Release

McGuinty Government Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of The French Language Services Act

Ministry of Francophone Affairs

Projects And Festivities Recognize Francophone History And Culture In Ontario TORONTO, March 21 - A new Francophone Community Award and a traveling exhibit of Franco-Ontarian history are among the cultural and educational activities planned by the Government of Ontario to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the province's French Language Services Act, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs Madeleine Meilleur announced today. "This is an important milestone, not just in Ontario's history but also in the history of the Francophone community, which is now more dynamic, versatile and multicultural than ever before," said Meilleur. "Francophones have contributed to the province's prosperity, and the government remains committed to supporting their full participation in Ontario's development." The minister launched the program of government projects and festivities at a reception that also marked the International Day of la Francophonie. The events will unfold between now and November 20, one day after the 20th anniversary date of the adoption of the French Language Services Act. Further information and regular updates will be posted on the website of the Office of Francophone Affairs at www.ofa.gov.on.ca. "During the last twenty years, the Francophone community has made great strides in Ontario," Meilleur added. "This progress happened within the framework of the French Language Services Act, which supported the community, and in return, these advancements have reinforced the Act and increased its scope." Disponible en français www.ofa.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20th Anniversary of Ontario's French Language Services Act OVERVIEW OF FESTIVITIES AND PROJECTS In celebrating the 20th anniversary of the French Language Services Act, the Government of Ontario reaffirms its commitment to the progress of Ontario's French-language communities and recognizes their social, economic and cultural contributions to the province. The government will mark this important milestone in Ontario's history with a rich, varied and province-wide program of festivities and projects. These celebrations will take place from March 20 (International Day of la Francophonie) through November 20, one day following the 20-year anniversary of the adoption of the French Language Services Act. Below are key projects being carried out by the Office of Francophone Affairs in conjunction with the ministries concerned. Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration The Government of Ontario is launching the Francophone Community Awards 2006. These awards will recognize Francophone and "Francophile" citizens who have made an outstanding contribution to the political, social, economic and cultural vitality and well-being of Ontario's Francophone community. The nomination process will take place between the end of April and June 30. A selection committee will be appointed to review nominations. Ministry of Education School Contest -------------- Teams of students will be invited to express, through a variety of means, their pride in their Francophone identity, their love of the French language and culture or to highlight Francophones' contribution to the development and advancement of Ontario. Franco-Ontarian Festival of Theatre in Schools ---------------------------------------------- From April 20 to 22 in Ottawa, several hundred Francophone students will take to the stage, see shows produced by fellow Ontario high school students and participate in several workshops. This provincial event is an excellent opportunity for exchanges among Francophone teenagers and will reinforce the cultural identity of Francophone youth. Symposium on "Aménagement linguistique" --------------------------------------- This symposium, scheduled for mid-October in Ottawa, will showcase and celebrate the accomplishments that have resulted from implementation of the "Politique d'aménagement linguistique" (Language Planning Policy). It will permit the sharing of expertise and resources among school boards and their partners to maximize the quality of programs and services offered by French- language schools to their students and communities. Ministry of Government Services The Archives of Ontario will mark the 20th anniversary of the French Language Services Act with a traveling exhibit that both recognizes and celebrates the history of Franco-Ontarians. This project will highlight the contribution of the French community to the province and will be organized with the collaboration of the Office of Francophone Affairs. Ministry of Culture Thanks to special funding provided by the Ministry of Culture, Don Juan will be presented in French at the Stratford Festival in August. This will be a first in Ontario. The ministry will continue its successful municipal cultural planning forums that were launched in 2005. Municipal cultural planning is an important tool to help communities map their cultural resources, and then leverage these resources for economic development and community building. After a successful bilingual forum in Sudbury in 2005, an entirely Francophone forum is being developed for 2006. Ministry of Children and Youth Services and Ministry of Community and Social Services In partnership with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), the ministries will hold a provincial forum on community development and linguistic duality in the fall of 2006 to identify priorities and best practices, and foster strategic community development specific to regional needs. This forum, which will include ministry staff, community organizations and key Francophone stakeholder groups, will provide an overall perspective of the Francophone identity and its changing dynamics. Office of Francophone Affairs The Government of Ontario plays a key role in the area of Francophone affairs in Canada. This year, Ontario will host the 11th Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie. This forum will allow Ontario to pay tribute to its Francophone community in front of all provincial, territorial and federal governments while highlighting our province's achievements over the last 20 years. Other initiatives will be announced during the upcoming months. All interested persons are invited to check the Office of Francophone Affairs website at www.ofa.gov.on.ca for more details and regular updates. Disponible en français www.ofa.gov.on.ca Backgrounder ------------------------------------------------------------------------- THE FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES ACT: AN OVERVIEW The Act - Ontario's French Language Services Act (FLSA), adopted on November 19, 1986, recognizes in its preamble that French is an historic and honoured language of the province and states that the government wishes to preserve it for future generations. - The act guarantees the right to receive provincial government services in French from head offices of the government and from offices located in or serving 24 designated areas. Traditionally, designated areas are those in which 10 per cent of the population is Francophone or where there are at least 5,000 Francophones. - Agencies whose boards are appointed in majority by the government and all institutions of the Legislative Assembly are subject to the act. - The act provides that certain government-funded organizations may be designated with respect to the provision of their services in French. To date, 201 organizations such as hospitals, children's aid societies and nursing homes have been designated. Designation of these organizations is voluntary. - Each ministry is responsible for the provision of quality French- language services to the public. French-language services coordinators oversee the provision of French-language services within their ministries. Deputy ministers are accountable for the implementation of the act. - The Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs oversees the implementation and administration of the French Language Services Act and is supported in doing so by the Office of Francophone Affairs. The Office advises the Government of Ontario on Francophone affairs and the delivery of French-language services. Linguistic Rights in Ontario - The French Language Services Act forms part of a broader legal framework of linguistic rights in Ontario. Some key examples include: - The 1984 Courts of Justice Act recognizes the official status of French in Ontario provincial courts. - The Education Act recognizes the right of Francophones to receive education in French at the elementary and secondary school levels and the 1997 Fewer School Boards Act created 12 French-language school boards. - On a national scale, the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms to all Canadians. Francophones in Ontario* - Ontario is home to the largest Francophone population in Canada outside of Quebec. There are 548,940 Francophones in Ontario who represent 4.8 per cent of the province's total population. Between 1996 and 2001, the Francophone population of Ontario increased by 6,600 - a 1.2 per cent increase in five years. - Roughly 25 per cent of the Francophone population resides in each of the northeast and the central regions of the province, while about 40 per cent lives in the east. The remaining less than 10 per cent reside in the southwest and northwest regions. More than four out of every five Francophones in Ontario live in a region designated under the French Language Services Act. - Designated Francophone communities in Ontario are: 1. City of Toronto (All) 2. City of Hamilton (All of the City of Hamilton as it exists on Dec. 31, 2000) 3. Regional Municipality of Niagara, Cities of: Port Colborne and Welland 4. City of Ottawa (All) 5. Regional Municipality of Peel; City of Mississauga, City of Brampton 6. City of Greater Sudbury (All) 7. County of Dundas; Township of Winchester 8. County of Essex; City of Windsor, Towns of Belle River and Tecumseh; Townships of: Anderdon, Colchester North, Maidstone, Sandwich South, Sandwich West, Tilbury North, Tilbury West and Rochester 9. County of Glengarry (All) 10. County of Kent; Town of Tilbury, Townships of Dover and Tilbury East 11. County of Prescott (All) 12. County of Renfrew; City of Pembroke, Townships of: Stafford and Westmeath 13. County of Russell (All) 14. County of Simcoe; Town of Penetanguishene, Townships of: Tiny and Essa 15. County of Stormont (All) 16. District of Algoma (All) 17. District of Cochrane (All) 18. District of Kenora; Township of Ignace 19. District of Nipissing (All) 20. District of Sudbury (All) 21. District of Thunder Bay; Towns of Geraldton, Longlac and Marathon, Townships of Manitouwadge, Beardmore, Nakina & Terrace Bay 22. District of Timiskaming (All) 23. County of Middlesex; City of London 24. District of Parry Sound; municipality of Callander - The composition of the Francophone population is changing. One out of every three Francophones was born outside Ontario. Racial minorities now make up 10.3 per cent of Ontario's Francophone population. They represent one in three Francophones in the Toronto region. - Ontario is home to a vibrant network of Francophone associations working actively to ensure that services are available in French and to preserve the French language and culture in the province. * Source : Statistics Canada, 2001 Census Disponible en français www.ofa.gov.on.caFor further information: Carole Drouin, Senior Communications Advisor, Office of the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, (416) 325-1676; Charles Jean Sucsan, Senior Manager, Strategic Communications, Office of Francophone Affairs, (416) 325-4968