Exemplary Practices

Specialized publications for boys

The partnership established by the Ministry of Education with the Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques is another example of a successful collaboration with a non-profit French-speaking stakeholder group to better serve the needs of Francophones. The Centre exists since 1974 and offers multiple educational services including the research and development of both print and multimedia teaching publications, training for education management staff and the development of software and database applications.

In 2008-09, this partnership led to the development and launch of three magazine publications for Francophone students in Ontario. The first is a quarterly magazine entitled QUAD9 [What’s new?]. It is published in two separate editions: one for Grade 7 and 8 students and one for students in grades 9 and 10. QUAD9 deals with subjects that affect teenagers, especially boys, and features columns such as Ça s’passe chez nous! [It happened here at home] and Sans blague, c’est vrai! [No kidding, it’s true!]. QUAD 9 also informs its readers about events happening in Ontario’s Francophone community and runs features focussing on Francophone students from across the province. Two issues of each edition are distributed to French-language schools in Ontario every year.

The second publication is a magazine called Mon Mag à moi [My very own magazine]. It is also published in two editions: one for students in grades 3 and 4 and another for students in grades 5 and 6. Mon Mag à moi magazine is tailored to the interests of students aged 8 to 11 years old and features columns such as Juste pour lire [Just for reading] and Ma page @ moi [My own page]. Mon Mag à moi also informs its readers about what is happening in the francophone community and includes features about Francophone students from Ontario. Two issues of each publication are distributed to French-language schools annually.

The third publication is a magazine entitled Minimag. It is published for francophone students aged 4 to 7 years old. It features various subjects including animals, occupations and seasons and presents comic strips, games and comments on different issues from young francophone students. Minimag is distributed to French-language schools in Ontario three times a year. In January of 2011, this magazine went national and is now being distributed to French-language school boards across Canada, except in the province of Québec.

The Commissioner applauds these initiatives that provide young Francophone students with more than just high quality reading materials. They provide young minds with a sense of belonging to Ontario’s Francophone community which, in itself, is of inestimable value.

Sexual Violence Action Plan

In March 2011, the Government of Ontario publicly released its Sexual Violence Action Plan, called Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives.

As a citizen, the Commissioner is extremely happy about this interministerial initiative, which focuses on three fundamental aspects of the fight against sexual violence: (i) preventing sexual violence through increased public education, (ii) expanding and improving access to a wide range of services for survivors of sexual violence, and (iii) strengthening the criminal justice system’s response toward sexual violence. He has high hopes that the Plan will truly contribute to putting an end to sexual violence and to helping Ontario women and girls live in safety.

As a champion of the rights of Francophones, the Commissioner is also very happy about this initiative, which fully takes into account the specific needs of French-speaking citizens. For example, from the beginning of the consultations, which included regional meetings in communities in all parts of the province, Francophone survivors of sexual violence and frontline workers were invited to speak and share their views about the support that they need.

Their contribution led to specific commitments by the government, the most important of which consists of ensuring that access to French-language services will be addressed within the Action Plan, and setting up a joint working group on French-language services, to ensure that the policies, programs and services meet the particular needs of Francophone women.

The other commitments that will be beneficial for Francophones include (i) an increase in the funding for sexual assault centres that serve French-speaking women, (ii) an enhanced role for Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, an organization that works to develop resources in French, and (iii) the provision of language interpretation services to help survivors understand the services and options that are available to them.

Sexual violence is a problem that affects all of society. the Commissioner is proud to see that in the government’s efforts to develop a plan for this serious problem, female citizens are being treated with dignity and respect, not only as women but also as Francophones.

« Mes services en français » Web portal

The Mes services en français Web portal was developed by the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington Children and Youth Services Steering Committee in partnership with the ACFO Mille-Iles community group after an exhaustive survey of the needs of Francophone parents living in the Kingston area.

The survey revealed that most Francophones in Kingston use the Web to source out information important to their daily lives. thus, the Web Portal project was born in the form of a partnership.

Launched on January 27, 2011, the messervicesenfrancais.org website showcases Kingston-area French-language services that are funded by the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The colourful portal also provides links to agencies offering French-language services and other useful community-related resources.

Ontario Women’s Directorate

Another example of partnerships that the Commissioner applauds are those established by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, the Office of Francophone Affairs and the Ontario Women’s Directorate — a government organisation that operates within the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Over the past few years, theses bodies have jointly funded the Institut francophone de formation en matière de violence faite aux femmes of Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes to provide specialized training to Francophone workers (both management and staff) in women’s shelters, counselling agencies and sexual assault centres.

In February 2011, the Ontario Government announced that it was continuing its funding for the training programs of the Institut francophone de formation en matière de violence faite aux femmes, which are provided to Francophone frontline workers through in-person workshops, webcasts, podcasts and online initiatives. This training is designed to help frontline workers provide better service to clients by understanding emerging issues including (i) mental health and addiction problems of women who are victims of abuse (ii) the plight of older women who are being abused, and (iii) the difficulties faced by women who have experienced violence in war-torn countries.