Statement by Minister Meilleur on the French Language Services Commissioner's 2013-2014 Annual Report
Today, Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, issued the following statement in response to the first tabling of the French Language Services Commissioner's Annual Report before the Legislative Assembly:
"French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau continues to help the government improve the quality of public services delivered in French in our province. We have benefitted greatly from his advice and guidance on how we can better serve Francophones. Our government took the step of making the commissioner an Independent Officer of the Legislature. Securing the commissioner's independence enhances the government's efforts to improve the delivery of French-language services to better respond to the needs of Franco-Ontarians.
In response to the commissioner's previous recommendations, our government has implemented a series of measures that support the development of the Franco-Ontarian community. For example, we have:
- Adopted an inclusive definition of Francophone in Ontario;
- Reconfirmed the obligation of every government agency to ensure that all services that a third party provides to the public on its behalf are provided in accordance with the French Language Services Act;
- Established a steering committee on French-language services in the justice sector;
- Ensured that Francophones have the right to use French in their dealings with Community Care Access Centres;
- Strengthened the process of designation of agencies under the French Language Services Act;
- Expanded the Ontario Distance Grant to approximately 1,000 more francophone students to increase their opportunities to study in French;
- Provided $16.5 million to help universities and colleges increase access to French-language postsecondary education and services in central and southwestern Ontario;
- Set a target of five per cent Francophone immigration under Ontario's Immigration Strategy.