A Look Back at September and October

AGA 2012 du REFO | REFO's 2012 AGM

There are so many superb initiatives in French Ontario that I sometimes have trouble mentioning each one on a timely basis in my blog. Therefore, I’d like to go back to several events that I had the opportunity to attend in the last two months so that I can do them justice.

First, on September 20, I took part in the Forum on Bilingualism presented by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute of the University of Ottawa, after which I met with the advisory committee on the study of the bilingual capacity of the federal judiciary. During the same visit to Ottawa, I also gave a speech at the 2012 annual general meeting of the Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien (RÉFO), which is working extremely hard to promote the full self-realization of the province’s Francophone and Francophile students.

I also met with the Regroupement ethnoculturel des parents francophones de l’Ontario (REPFO) and the Conseil économique et social d’Ottawa-Carleton (CESOC). It was an excellent opportunity to talk to the executive directors of the two organizations about Chapter 2 of my 2011-2012 Annual Report, which deals in part with Francophone immigration in Ontario. Mr. Saint-Phard Désir, executive director of the CESOC, told me how important it was to coordinate winning strategies to facilitate the integration of Francophone newcomers to Ontario as soon as they set foot on Canadian soil.

On October 20, I delivered a speech at the annual brunch of ACFO d’Ottawa, after which I participated in a panel discussion entitled “Language Rights, Policy, Practice, Challenges and Opportunities – Moving Forward” at the Canadian Parents for French Conference on Champions of Official Languages. My colleagues Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, and Michel Carrier, Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, joined me for the occasion.

As you know, I am very concerned about the role of our natural allies, the Francophiles, especially with regard to the issues surrounding immersion schools. In this connection, I also met with the executive directors of the six member organizations of the Réseau français langue seconde, including Canadian Parents for French, on November 6. The other members of the Réseau are the Association canadienne des professeurs d’immersion, the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers, the Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada, Canadian Youth for French and French for the Future. Our discussions at the meeting were extremely rewarding.

I would also like to mention that a member of the Commissioner’s Office team, Mohamed Ghaleb, Senior Analyst, Research and Monitoring, took part in a panel discussion on Ontario and its Francophone immigration strategy at the Executive Directors Forum of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) on October 23.

On October 24, I gave a presentation to the students of St. Mildred’s Lightbourn School in Oakville on the value added that French provides throughout one’s career and one’s life.

Then, on October 25, I attended the graduation banquet held by the French Language Institute for Professional Development of the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

I am very proud of the fact that the Commissioner’s Office remains so actively engaged in the community, and I am grateful to all the organizations that give the Office VIP status. The members of the Commissioner’s Office team and I attended a number of other events in September and October, of course, but I can’t include them all, because the list would be go on and on and on!

Finally, I would like to extend somewhat belated congratulations to the recipients of the Ordre des francophones d’Amérique 2012, especially Mariette Carrier-Fraser and Jeanne Beaudoin, both of whom I know very well. Each of them has made an exceptional contribution to the development of Francophone minority communities, and I salute them both.

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