The Ministry of the Environment’s Drinking Water Programs Branch has created a wide range of learning materials for elementary-school-age children. Among these is a video in French on the filtration of drinking water, created for students in Grades 2 to 5. This educational tool is available on the Ministry’s Website and has been actively offered to every French-language school board in the province.
On October 20, 2009, the FrancoGO network was created within the Ontario Public Service. FrancoGO stands for Francophones in the Government of Ontario. With over 1,000 members to date, the network will work to foster the cultural, personal, and professional development of Francophones and Francophiles within the Ontario Public Service, helping them to break the isolation they sometimes feel, connect with other Francophones and Francophiles, and appreciate the rich contribution and potential of government employees who speak French within the government, whether or not they hold a designated position.
The Ministry of Finance initially funded and developed the FLS and You video, which attracted the interest of other ministries. The Network of French Language Services Coordinators worked with the Ministry to broaden the visual examples to apply to the OPS as a whole. This project coincided with the designation of Kingston in May 2009. This video provides an overview of Ontario’s Francophone community, past and present, and is designed to raise awareness of the French-language service obligation for the OPS staff.
In October 2009, the Office of Francophone Affairs organized a symposium in Ottawa entitled L’Ontario et l’Afrique francophones : des alliances à explorer [French Ontario and French Africa: Exploring Possibilities for Alliances]. The event attracted business leaders and politicians from Ontario and a number of African countries. It provided a venue for sharing information on business practices and the development of business ties between Francophone countries in Africa and Francophone stakeholders here in Ontario.
On May 12, 2009, the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario launched Dis : services en français [Service in French, Please!], the first-ever province-wide campaign to promote the use of French-language services. With financial support from the Office of Francophone Affairs, this campaign encouraged Francophones to exercise their rights and request service in French. Media partners, including TFO, Mouvement des Intervenant.e.s en Communication Radio de l’Ontario (MICRO), and 12 French-language weekly newspapers carried messages and advertisements for over a month. This campaign was the first of its kind since the French Language Services Act was enacted in 1989.
In December 2009, ServiceOntario brought together a group of bilingual government employees who interact directly with the public in French and English. The purpose of the consultations with this group was to improve the quality of French-language service delivery at ServiceOntario sites around the province. ServiceOntario also scheduled training on active French-language service offer for all front-line employees, in order to make them fully aware of their responsibilities under the French Language Services Act. In addition to providing its bilingual employees with a button that says, Bonjour, je parle français [Hello, I speak French], ServiceOntario is pursuing its efforts to provide signage in both French and English at all of its sites.