Chapter 2

A Human Story

2.5.5 Postsecondary education in Central-Southwestern Ontario

Ontario has a strong postsecondary education system composed of 20 publicly assisted universities and 24 publicly assisted colleges of applied arts and technology, commonly called colleges. However, not all students benefit from this abundance of postsecondary programs and services. The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner has received many complaints about the lack of French-language postsecondary education opportunities in Central-Southwestern Ontario. Judging this to be a serious problem in various respects, including the right to be educated in one’s own language and the issue of assimilation of young Francophones, the Commissioner decided to launch a formal investigation in 2011.

One year later, in June 2012, the Commissioner’s Office released an investigation report entitled The State of French-Language Postsecondary Education in Central-Southwestern Ontario: No access, no future,28 in which he urged the government, and more precisely the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, to remedy the very feeble 0% to 3% access rates for French-language postsecondary education in the region. One of the recommendations in the report was that the government should establish a new, independent, publicly accountable structure to determine both needs and delivery of French-language postsecondary education programs and services in Central-Southwestern Ontario, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.

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In early 2013, the government-mandated Expert Panel on French-Language Postsecondary Education in Central and Southwestern Ontario published its report entitled Moving Forward.29 The Expert Panel’s recommendations and conclusions were in line with those presented by the Commissioner in his report entitled No access, no future.

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In addition, the Commissioner also applauded the government for the commitment it made in the Throne Speech30 to provide the province’s students with better access to French-language postsecondary education, especially in Central-Southwestern Ontario. It is unquestionably a clear and an unambiguous message. Yet it remains to be seen how the government intends to come up with concrete solutions to the problem and, most importantly, what measures will be put in place.

 

28Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, supra note 8.

29Available online: http://www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/postsecondary/schoolsprograms/MovingForward.pdf (page consulted in May 2013).

30Available online: http://www.premier.gov.on.ca/news/thronespeech.php?Lang=EN (page consulted in May 2013).

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