Chapter 1

An Organizational Story Meeting with the community

Whether it’s to pass along information at a meeting of the CEOs of Northeastern Ontario hospitals in Sault Ste. Marie, deliver a speech on leading-edge bilingual recruiting practices in Kingston, or attend some other regional or provincial event in Windsor, Timmins, Sudbury, London, Welland or any other part of Ontario, since taking office the Commissioner has never shied away from travelling outside Toronto to meet with Ontario’s Francophone communities.

These excursions afford the Commissioner the opportunity to learn more about violations of the French Language Services Act at the regional level and to observe first-hand the progress that has been made and the challenges that persist. In most cases, such excursions are arranged around the Commissioner’s participation in a particular event, with a series of other local events added on. For example, when the Commissioner travelled to the Temiskaming region in September 2012 to attend the congress of the Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO), he took the opportunity to meet with Francophone community leaders in New Liskeard and Earlton, the staff of the Centre de santé communautaire du Témiskaming and the mayor of Cobalt.

It is also through these travels that the Commissioner finds out about new local initiatives in support of the development of Francophone citizens. For instance, when he met with the Temiskaming chapter of the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario (ACFO) and the administrators of Collège Boréal’s New Liskeard campus, the Commissioner learned of the existence of the project entitled Tisser des liens entre nos communautés [forging links between our communities], an innovative partnership that may be considered in other regions.

In addition, the excursions are useful for carrying out the work of educating government agencies and third parties that serve Francophone populations at the local level. That is precisely what led to the Commissioner’s December 2012 trip to Barrie, where he gave a presentation to five organizations affiliated with My Sister’s Place, a centre for abused women and children. His presentation provided the organizations with advice on good practices to help them meet their obligations under the French Language Services Act. This educational activity also extends to French-language schools in the regions he visits. The Commissioner talks to students about their right to obtain services in French in Ontario.

The above-mentioned trips are only a few examples of the many excursions that the Commissioner has made since he assumed office. Although the list of events in which the Commissioner has taken part in the past five years is too long to be included in this annual report, each excursion merits at least a posting on the Commissioner’s blog, a commitment that he will continue to keep in the years to come.

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