1.4. Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF)

When the Commissioner took office in 2007, he wanted to lay the groundwork for a current, workable, inclusive definition of Ontario’s Francophonie. Accordingly, that was the first recommendation in his first annual report (2007-2008). The recommendation was acted on quickly, as the government introduced the new Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF) in 2009.

Its reception and impact were highly favourable. Under this new definition, Francophones are “persons whose mother tongue is French, plus those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English but have a particular knowledge of French as an Official Language and use French at home.” 9

By virtue of the IDF, members of ethnocultural communities were officially recognized and included as Francophones in Ontario.

“A Franco-Ontarian of Cameroonian origin, I am proud to belong to this multifaceted Francophonie that promotes the persistence and contribution of minority Francophones in Ontario.

The Inclusive Definition of Francophone enables us to truly expand the Francophone space through economic partnerships and cultural alliances and to experience our Francophone pride as added value.”

— Léonie Tchatat
Founder and President, La Passerelle-I.D.É.

Despite this pedigree, seven years after the introduction of the IDF, we need to consider whether the time has come to review the definition to ensure that it is sufficiently inclusive. In fact, this review should be carried out periodically by the Minister through regulations.

9 For more information: http://ofa.gov.on.ca/en/franco-definition.html (page consulted in May 2016).

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