The Government for the People Is Taking Action for Franco-Ontarians
TORONTO: Today, Premier Doug Ford announced three new policy directions that Ontario's Government for the People will adopt, in recognition of the significant and ongoing contributions of Franco-Ontarians and Francophones to Ontario over the past 400 years.
- Ontario's Government for the People will propose amendments to Bill 57, The Restoring Trust, Transparency, and Accountability Act to create the position of French Language Services Commissioner, under the auspices of the Office of the Ombudsman, to maintain independence in conducting investigations and, as part of that, make recommendations to improve the provision of French language services and encourage compliance with the French Language Services Act.
- It will be recommended to the Lieutenant Governor that the current Office of Francophone Affairs become the Ministry of Francophone Affairs, with the Honourable Caroline Mulroney being sworn-in as the Minister of Francophone Affairs. In this role, Minister Mulroney would be empowered to advocate for Franco-Ontarians and the delivery of French language services.
- The Office of the Premier will hire a senior policy advisor responsible for Francophone Affairs.
The government will continue to take action to restore accountability and trust to Ontario's finances in order to protect the services accessed by Ontarians every day, including our Franco-Ontarian community, like health care and public education.
"I want to thank my all-star Minister, Caroline Mulroney, for her advocacy and all the people who reached out to my office, and to me directly, to share examples about the contributions of the Franco-Ontarian community in our province," said Premier Ford.
"They're fighters. They're part of the history of Ontario. They continue to work hard for generations to promote and preserve their beautiful culture and language in our province."
Ford said he looks forward to meeting with Franco-Ontarians and their organizations more often to build a constructive dialogue that recognizes Ontario's vibrant Francophonie.
I am looking forward to the day where we are in a financial position to proceed with projects like the French Language University - projects that serve to unify our community and preserve our language and culture," said Minister Mulroney. "I will continue to be a tireless advocate for the University, by and for Francophones, so that when we are in a position to proceed with the build, we will be ready to go. While the fiscal realities of our province's finances prohibit a new stand-alone French Language University right now, I will continue to support models of education that meet the needs of francophone students and the Francophone community."
- The current wording of Bill 57 reads: The Deputy Ombudsman, French Language Services may exercise the powers and perform the duties of the Ombudsman under this Act, subject to the direction of the Ombudsman. The proposed changes to the Act would remove the title “Deputy Ombudsman” and replace it with “French Language Services Commissioner”. The amendments will also mandate the appointment of the French Language Services Commissioner and ensure that the position is occupied by a Francophone.