March 27, 2019 – Montréal, Quebec – Global Affairs Canada
Catherine Cano takes the highest position at the International Organisation of La Francophonie (IOF), as administrator, and becomes the first woman in history to do so. The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, and Nadine Girault, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, highlighted this nomination during a joint press conference with Ms. Cano.
Ms. Cano’s management experience will be rapidly leveraged, including in the IOF’s governance modernization exercise and the adoption of best management practices. She will also be mandated to implement documents adopted at recent IOF summits, including the Stratégie de la Francophonie pour la promotion de l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes, des droits et de l’autonomisation des femmes et des filles (Francophonie strategy for the promotion of equality between women and men, rights and the empowerment of women and girls), in addition to undertaking discussions on the future of La Francophonie and responding to the priorities of member states and governments.
Ms. Cano will work in conjunction with the governments of Canada, Quebec, New-Brunswick, and with other IOF members to carry out the organization’s mission, particularly with regard to the promotion and defence of the French language, including in the digital space, but also to economic growth in the francophone area. As such, the governments of Quebec and Canada intend to encourage greater deployment of La Francophonie’s economic strategy, and continue their work toward rigorous and transparent management of IOF resources.
“With her diverse management experience as well as her extensive knowledge of the media, parliamentary processes and international issues, Ms. Cano will be a valuable asset to the IOF and its members as the organization prepares to hold the Tunis Summit in Tunisia in 2020, which will mark its 50th anniversary. The appointment of Ms. Cano is a recognition of Canadian leadership in La Francophonie when it comes to promoting the values of democracy and transparency, and respect for human rights.”
– Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie of Canada
“I am very proud that Quebec is well represented at the highest levels of the IOF. A seasoned manager, Ms. Cano will be able to use her experience and expertise to further modernize the IOF’s governance, which is a priority for the Government of Quebec. I would also like to emphasize my complicity with the new Secretary General of the IOF, with whom I exchanged views and who offered me the assurance that the Government of Quebec now has direct entry to the highest bodies of the IOF.”
– Nadine Girault, Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie
The Government of Quebec has been a member of the IOF since 1971. It was the first federal state to obtain full membership.
Canada was one of the founding members of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation in 1970, which became the IOF in 2005. Canada has worked actively within La Francophonie since its inception. With the support of its provincial partners, Canada was one of the first countries to promote La Francophonie and supported the creation of its institutions.