UNIVERSITÉ DE L’ONTARIO FRANÇAIS: THE PATH TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE
TORONTO, August 28, 2017 — The French Language Services Commissioner, Mr. François Boileau, welcomes with great interest the planning board’s report on the establishment of a French-language university in Ontario.
“I would like to congratulate Ms. Dyane Adam and the members of the planning Board for completing a high-caliber and a totally turnkey report for the government in such a short time. I hope that the government welcomes the recommendations of this comprehensive study, because they will certainly pave the way to the establishment of a Francophone institution dedicated to excellence and innovation.” states Mr. Boileau.
The establishment of a postsecondary institution is of utmost importance to Francophone and Francophile communities of the Southwest and the rest of the province. This is clearly reflected across many reports and research studies in recent decades. The publication in 2012 of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner’s report, No access, no future, demonstrates how the establishment of French-language postsecondary programs was of utmost importance then and how it is still relevant today.
Faced with a lack of access to quality French-language postsecondary education in Central and Southwestern Ontario, it became more than essential to increase French-language programs in areas where the Francophone population is growing rapidly and where French-language offerings are particularly limited.
Another critical point in the report is the transition towards a French-language educational continuum from secondary to postsecondary. In fact, French-language postsecondary education contributes significantly to the sustainability of the Franco-Ontarian community.
“Colleges and universities are an integral part of the educational continuum and play a crucial role in the education of future professionals who are bilingual and Francophone and therefore, in the longer term, in the well-being of the province and in the competitiveness of its economy. In the minority context of the French language, they also offer an incentive to elementary and secondary students and their parents to commit to an education in French, from the outset.” adds Commissioner Boileau.
In the context of developing a new organizational identity, the report highlights a unique feature: the creation of a Francophone hub, which is in itself truly innovative. A “hub” like this will certainly set it apart across the province and internationally. The shared vision is inspiring and motivating because it refers to an approach that goes beyond education by creating opportunities for fruitful exchanges and collaborations with other institutions.
According to Mr. François Boileau, “The Université de l’Ontario français is a genuine investment in the future of Francophones from a cultural, economic, and social point of view, which will undoubtedly contribute to the prosperity of the province and of Canada.”
Through its uniqueness and its governance by and for Francophones, the institution will fulfill all of the conditions required for it to be designated under the French Language Services Act.
“This is an important message for Francophones. Despite the fact that the designation under the French Language Services Act seems logical to some, it is an excellent idea to designate the institution and that this also is included in the recommendations before it is even established. I am very eager to work with the university when the time comes.” states Mr. Boileau.
• In Ontario, there are three bilingual universities (as well as their affiliated and federated institutions), and 19 that offer courses and university programs in French or partially in French.
• In their respective reports entitled No access, no future and Moving forward, the Commissioner and the Expert Panel on French-Language Postsecondary Education both recommended that the government establish a new secretariat to determine the need for postsecondary educational services and programs for the Francophone population in Central-Southwestern Ontario.
• In 2015-2016, about 29% of the total cohort of Francophone students from French-language school boards came from the CSO.
• It is estimated that almost half of Ontario’s Francophone population will live in the Central-Southwest of the province by 2020. Of all the Francophone communities in Ontario, the one in the Central-Southwest has the highest growth rate.
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, and its primary mandate is to ensure that the delivery of government services complies with the French Language Services Act.
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