Our two official languages, English and French, are both an asset and a source of pride for all Canadians. This is why we support and encourage their use, because bilingualism unites us and sets us apart from other places in the world.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, spoke about the importance of supporting projects that help recruit and retain teachers in Canada. The Minister made the remarks at a virtual event with the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones, the Canadian School Boards Association and the Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne. Since implementing the French-Language Minority School and French Immersion and French Second-Language Program Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019, Canada has already invested $46.5 million in initiatives to eliminate the teacher shortage across the country in these schools and programs.
This announcement follows the February 19 release of English and French: Towards a Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada, which outlines the Government of Canada’s vision for official languages reform. The government’s priorities include encouraging the availability of learning opportunities in both official languages and support for institutions in official language minority communities. Supporting access to French-language education from early childhood in Francophone minority communities as well as French immersion and French second-language programs for the Anglophone majority are concrete ways of achieving these objectives.
Our two official languages are a source of pride for Canadians. By supporting them like this, the Government of Canada is reaffirming its commitment to all Francophones and Francophiles, who choose to learn, live and speak in French every day. These programs are key to ensuring the vitality of French everywhere in Canada while allowing our children to grow and develop in a country that promotes both our official languages.
The government is proud of its investments to date and aims to move forward by continuing to support provincial, territorial and organizations’ plans for minority-language education and second-language learning.
“French is fragile, but alive and well across the country, due to the work of teachers, who play an essential role with young people. That’s why we believe it is so important to support these teachers. They are vital to protecting and promoting the French language. More than ever, the federal government aims to address the national teacher shortage. It is crucial to our collective commitment to build a bilingual Canada and guarantee the vitality of our minority official language communities.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census, Francophone communities outside Quebec represent 3.8 percent of the population while the bilingualism rate of Anglophones outside Quebec is 6.8 percent. Projections for 2036 suggest the number of Francophones outside Quebec could drop to three percent while the national bilingualism rate may increase only among Francophones in Quebec.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of students enrolled in immersion programs increased 47.8 percent from 2006-2007 to 2016-2017 while the number of students enrolled in Francophone minority schools increased 14.3 percent.
As part of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in our Future, the Government of Canada is investing $62.6 million over four years to support recruiting and retaining teachers in French-language minority schools as well as in French immersion and French second-language programs.
The Action Plan for Official Languages calls for $2.7 billion to be invested over five years, including $500 million in new funding to support official language minority communities and promote bilingualism across the country.
On February 19, Minister Joly presented the Government of Canada’s intentions for modernizing and strengthening the Official Languages Act and related instruments in a document entitled English and French: Towards a Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada. This document proposes a range of changes and new measures to establish a new linguistic balance in the country.