2.1. Best practices
The best practices selected for this report are initiatives, activities or events that promoted the Francophonie in some exceptional way or were developed with particular concern for improving the situation of vulnerable Francophones.
Commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the French presence in Ontario
The Office of Francophone Affairs worked very hard in 2015 with more than 100 governmental and non-governmental partners putting together key initiatives to mark the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s visit to Ontario. The activities were held between early summer 2015 (400 years to the date of Champlain’s arrival in the territory now called Ontario) and June 2016 (400 years to the date Champlain is said to have left the province). Thanks to the programs developed, Ontarians, other Canadians and people from around the world learned more about Franco-Ontarian culture and heritage during this historic celebration.
The Ontario 400th Celebrations Program was designed and developed by the OFA in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade. The objective was to support local community initiatives marking the anniversary, stimulate local tourism and create jobs.
Cultural and community groups were encouraged to submit funding applications for these commemorations. A total of 61 projects were selected for the program.
French-language training to combat violence against women
Le Phénix is a provincial community organization that promotes the value and full participation of persons with disabilities. It has developed a range of tools, such as handbooks, awareness workshops and lectures to better serve its clients.
In August 2015, with funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, nine Northern Ontario agencies dedicated to combating violence against women collaborated to have Le Phénix deliver a training course to more than 20 front-line Francophones employees. The course raised their awareness of the realities faced by women with disabilities who request services or assistance. The participants were also provided with strategies for reducing the barriers and obstacles that those women encounter.
It’s Never Okay: 2015 Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment
As part of Ontario’s It’s Never Okay Action Plan, the Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment was held in the fall of 2015. In preparation for the event, the project team planned the inclusion of active offer of French-language services in every aspect of the Summit, resulting in a fully bilingual event.
The team consulted Francophone stakeholders in the sector to identify speakers, themes and potential invitees with violence against women prevention expertise. In addition to bilingual volunteers and team members, greetings, signage and reference material were available in French, and simultaneous interpretation and Quebec sign language (LSQ) interpretation were available for participants.
There were also bilingual counsellors for participants who needed to share their emotions triggered by discussions.
In short, the French-language services were visible, available, accessible and announced before and during the Summit.