Canada’s two official languages, English and French, are both an asset and a source of pride. The Government of Canada is committed to making investments that have real, meaningful impacts in the lives of Francophones, Francophiles and their communities, and to leading by example when it comes to promoting a bilingual Canada.
Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages), announced today that the Government of Canada has invested $3.4 million in 2020-2021 program funding to 28 organizations in Alberta. This represents a total increase in funding of 34 percent since 2018, and allows 2 new provincial organizations to access funding. Ms. Lalonde made this announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
Earlier today, Minister Joly announced more than $3 million for new community school infrastructure that meets the needs of both students and the greater Francophone community in Alberta. Funding is being provided under the Community-Based Educational Infrastructure sub-component of the Development of Official-Language Communities Program, to support École Saint-Vital in Beaumont and École des Quatre-Vents in Peace River.
Funding through the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 has helped increase capacity for promising new initiatives and provide financial stability to community organizations. For example, the Portail de l’Immigrant Association de Calgary received program funding for the first time to support a range of activities and services aimed at newcomers, establish extracurricular activities, and create opportunities for meetings and exchanges between Francophones and Francophiles.
These investments foster the vitality of Canada’s official-language minority communities, and promote, develop and preserve linguistic duality from coast to coast to coast.
“Canada’s official-language minority communities are part of the social fabric of our country, made up of many small, dedicated organizations that work tirelessly to ensure the sustainability and vitality of our communities. Our funding of $3.4 million to 28 community organizations that support official languages across Alberta will help them strengthen the Francophone institutions in the province. More than ever, the Government of Canada has a role to play in protecting linguistic rights from coast to coast to coast.”
-The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
“In every part of Canada, official-language minority communities are working to keep their language and cultures relevant, strong and thriving. Community organizations play a vital role in Canada’s bilingual future by providing leadership and direction, and ensuring access to services, resources, and cultural and language activities.”
– Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages)
“The additional investments from the federal government through the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 have had major benefits for the Francophonie in Alberta, including raising the base funding for community organizations. This made it possible to ensure greater stability within the network and an increase in initiatives. As the organization that represents the Francophonie in Alberta, ACFA is grateful for the cooperation and support of Canadian Heritage and other federal departments and agencies that are helping strengthen opportunities to live in French in Alberta!”
-Sheila Risbud, President, Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta
After Ontario and New Brunswick, Alberta has the largest Francophone minority population in the country. According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census, nearly 87,000 Albertans report French as their first language
The Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future proposes an unprecedented investment of $2.7 billion over five years, including $500 million in new funding, to support official-language minority communities and promote bilingualism across the country.
On February 19, 2021, in the document English and French: Towards a substantive equality of official languages in Canada, Minister Joly unveiled the Government of Canada’s intentions to modernize and strengthen the Official Languages Act and related instruments. This document proposes a range of changes and new measures to achieve a new linguistic balance in the country.
In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada proposes $392 million to official-language minority communities across the country. This funding aims to achieve greater levels of bilingualism; to make high-quality post-secondary minority-language education available across Canada; to support the construction, renovation and expansion of the educational and community spaces that serve official-language minority communities; and to move forward with modernizing the Official Languages Act.