News Room

Contact Information

For requests concerning media relations, requests for interviews or public relations:

Emmanuelle Bleytou
Lead, Strategic communications
Phone: 1 866 246-5262 or 416 847-1515 ext. 107
Cell : 416 906-7021
Email: communications.flsccsf@flscontario.ca

Report on Francophone immigration: the commissionner calls for a concrete action plan

TORONTO, November 23, 2016 – François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner, believes that the report of the Group of Experts on Francophone Immigration released yesterday by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration opens the door to developing and implementing concrete solutions for achieving the five per cent target set by Ontario for Francophone immigration by 2020.

The publication of the report is a first step in the right direction and speaks to the province’s leadership on the subject of Francophone immigration. The Commissioner is calling on the Ministry to accept the report’s recommendations and commit to putting them into concrete action.

I congratulate the government for releasing the report of the Group of Experts on Francophone Immigration and I thank the members of the Group. It is now time for the Ministry to adopt an action plan with clear objectives and specific timelines. The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration has to take the lead on this and deploy an integrated interministerial strategy that corresponds to the continuum of initiatives to be taken” Commissioner Boileau said.

Not only does the collaboration of several other ministries need to be ensured, but it will also be crucial for Ontario to secure specific commitments from the federal government in this field of shared jurisdiction. It is therefore essential for the two levels of government to take concerted action to maximize their efforts to promote Francophone immigration and recruit, settle and integrate Francophone newcomers.

The Commissioner recognizes that implementation of the report will take place over several years. He therefore recommends that the Ministry create a permanent advisory committee on Francophone immigration to guide it throughout that process.

 

Quick Facts

  • The Group of Experts on Francophone Immigration was established by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration with the goal of developing a plan to increase Francophone immigration to Ontario, following the Commissioner’s recommendation.
  • The report contains 13 recommendations relating to five topics: promotion, recruitment, selection, settlement and integration. It also recommends that there be a duty to account periodically for the results achieved.
  • The provincial government adopted the five per cent target in 2012 and still has a long way to go before it is achieved. For example, in 2014, only 2.2 per cent of the immigrant population had French as the official language spoken, according to government figures.

 

The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.

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FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Consult the report of the Group of Experts on Francophone Immigration.

Touria Karim

Lead, Strategic Communications

Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

Telephone: 416‑906‑7021 or 1‑866‑246-5262 (toll free)

Email: touria.karim@csfontario.ca

Disponible en Français

Mauril Bélanger: Ontario Francophones have lost an important ally

Toronto, August 17, 2016 – François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, joins the Francophone community in mourning the Hon. Mauril Bélanger and takes this opportunity to salute the enormous legacy he leaves. With his death last night, following a long battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a leading light in the Franco-Ontarian community has gone out.

“Mr. Bélanger’s dedication to the Francophone community has left an indelible mark on its history in Ontario and in all of Canada,” said Mr. Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner. “Mauril was more than a politician. The legacy he leaves, after devoting his entire career to advocacy for the rights of official language minority communities, is an important one. I would like to express my tremendous gratitude for all of his hard work. I have no doubt that his contributions will continue to benefit the people of Ontario,” Commissioner Boileau added.

In spite of his illness, his determination to continue advocating for the causes he held dear never waned. His commitment and tenacity as a passionate advocate for linguistic duality in Canada made it possible for him always to see his causes through to the finish, no matter the obstacles. His dynamism and dedication to the Francophone community won him recognition from many sides, and included the Bernard Grandmaître award and the rank of Commander of the Order of the Pleiades.

At this sad time, the entire staff of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner would like to offer its sincerest condolences to the family and close friends of Mauril Bélanger.

QUICK FACTS

  • Mauril Bélanger entered federal politics in 1995 as a Liberal member of Parliament in the riding of Ottawa—Vanier, succeeding Jean-Robert Gauthier after his appointment to the Senate.
  • From 1997 to 2002, Mr. Bélanger worked to prevent the closure of the Montfort Hospital, the only health care facility in Ontario to offer university-level training in French.
  • Mauril Bélanger was appointed as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage by Jean Chrétien and served in that position from 1998 to 2000.
  • The creation of the Unique FM radio station and expansion of Ottawa’s La Nouvelle Scène theatre were made possible through the sustained support of Mauril Bélanger.
  • In 2010, he was elected as Vice-Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages.
  • In 2003, he became the Co-founder of the Canada-Africa Parliamentary Association, whose purpose is to encourage exchanges between African and Canadian parliamentarians.
  • He joined Paul Martin’s cabinet as chief government whip (until the 2004 election) and deputy leader of the government (until the 2006 election).
  • In 2004, Mr. Bélanger was promoted to the position of Minister responsible for Official Languages, Minister responsible for Democratic Reform and Associate Minister of National Defence.

 

The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.

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Touria Karim

Lead, Strategic Communications

Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

Telephone: (416) 906-7021 or 1-866-246-5262 (toll free)

Email: touria.karim@csfontario.ca

Disponible en français

The commissioner calls on the Minister of Education to act quickly on the lack of access to French-Language education.

TORONTO, July 4th, 2016 – The French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario recommends that the Minister of Education provide Ontario’s French-language school boards with additional resources and make regulatory changes to address the boards’ enrolment growth and retention challenges in the Greater Toronto Area. This is one of the recommendations in a new follow-up report entitled When the most elementary becomes secondary: Homework Incomplete.

This study relates to an investigation conducted in June 2011, which still shows that the number of French-language schools in Toronto is disproportionately low for the size of the Francophone population. Since 2012, the Ministry has been investing in the construction of new schools and the purchase of existing properties. However, those investments were mainly directed at the elementary level, despite the lack of access to secondary education, particularly in the eastern part of Toronto.

The report also focuses on the substantive equivalence of educational experience, an issue that is well described in the Rose-des-Vents decision. That decision by the Supreme Court of Canada clearly demonstrated the obligation that governments and school boards have to honour the rights of their official language minority by providing the Francophone community with access to an educational experience that is substantively equivalent to that of the majority in the areas of instruction, educational outcomes, extracurricular activities, and student travel times between home and school.

“Five years after the publication of my first report, the situation remains, unfortunately, almost unchanged for parents who are still not able to send their children to a secondary school that is within a reasonable distance,” says Commissioner François Boileau. “The French language school boards are having difficulty retaining students between Grades 8 and 9, because many of them are switching to English-language schools since the educational experience is simply not equivalent to the experience offered to the majority. It significantly undermines the sustainability of the Franco-Ontarian community, especially in the Greater Toronto area,” adds the Commissioner.

QUICK FACTS

  • In Ontario, the Ministry of Education is responsible for elementary and secondary education and has an obligation, under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to ensure that the right to receive an education in French is protected.
  • The Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Education provide the school boards with greater support for construction projects or acquisitions of new secondary facilities to ensure access to French-language education in the Greater Toronto Area.
  • The Commissioner also calls on the Minister to use the Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF) in calculating school requirements so as to better reflect the diversity of its student population and make more accurate enrolment forecasts.

TO LEARN MORE, see our investigation report at flscontario.ca in the Publications section.

The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.

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Touria Karim

Lead, Strategic Communications

Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

Telephone: (416) 906-7021 or 1-866-246-5262 (toll free)

Email: touria.karim@flscontario.ca

 

The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur leaves Francophones a permanent legacy

TORONTO, June 10, 2016 – The French Language Services Commissioner, François Boileau, added his voice to that of the Francophone community to acknowledge the remarkable work of the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur on behalf of the Francophonie.

Madeleine Meilleur announced yesterday evening that she had decided to leave politics to spend more time with her family. The Commissioner would especially like to salute her vision, tenacity and courage in going off the beaten path, but above all, her willingness to take risks for Ontario’s French-speaking citizens.

We have clearly turned a page in the history of Ontario’s Francophonie. It is important that we recognize her many accomplishments and unequivocal influence in Cabinet in the service of all the citizens of Ontario,” stated Commissioner Boileau.

Decades of commitment

Madeleine Meilleur is a woman who has been politically engaged for a long time, and is the type of person described as a “force of nature”. Highly concerned with the quality of life of Francophones throughout Ontario, she applied her talent in bringing people together to several key files that helped shape stronger Francophone communities. Chief among these are the expansion of the Montfort Hospital and the establishment of French-language health planning agencies, both of which benefited from investments in education and health. She also achieved the independence of the French TV channel TFO, the creation and independence of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, not to mention the new Inclusive Definition of Francophone (IDF) that better reflects the new reality of Ontario’s communities. She also greatly contributed to increasing the number of French-speaking Ontarians appointed to key positions.

“Her determination, tireless dedication to the Francophonie, passion, commitment, and knowledge of Franco-Ontarians helped promote the vitality of Ontario’s French-speaking communities,” added Commissioner Boileau.

OVERVIEW

  • During the past 25 years, the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur represented Ottawa-Vanier, first as a municipal councillor and then as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
  • Since 2003, she has sat in Cabinet as Minister for Culture, Minister for Community and Social Services, Minister for Community Safety and Correctional Services, and most recently as Attorney General. She has also been the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs for over 13 years.
  • Over the course of her career, she spearheaded many initiatives that contributed to improving access to, and the quality of, French-language services such as the creation of advisory committees, particularly in the fields of health and Francophone affairs.
  • In 2014, she launched a pilot project on access to justice aimed at facilitating access to French-language services at the Ottawa Courthouse.
  • Ms. Meilleur contributed to the provincial immigration strategy by helping to establish a committee of eleven experts to attain the 5% Francophone immigrant target and thereby further ensuring the sustainability of Franco-Ontarian communities.
  • In 2015, she brilliantly led the 400th anniversary celebrations commemorating Champlain’s arrival in Ontario, which marks the starting point for all cultural, social, economic and political contributions of the Francophone community to the growth and development of the province.

The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.

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Touria Karim

Lead, Strategic Communications

Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

Telephone: (416) 906-7021 or 1 866 246-5262 (toll free)

Email: touria.karim@flscontario.ca

French Language Services Commissioner calls for revision of the French Language Services Act

TORONTO, June 1, 2016 – French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau today submitted his ninth annual report, entitled FLSA 2.0, to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Dave Levac.

In the 2015-2016 annual report, the Commissioner recommends that the government undertake the task of completely overhauling the French Language Services Act so that it will better meet the needs and aspirations of the 612,000 citizens who make up Ontario’s Francophone community.

As 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the passage of Bill 8, the Commissioner believes it is time for a comprehensive revision of the statute.

“The Act was progressive in 1986, but it is no longer so today,” says Commissioner Boileau. “The face of the Francophonie has changed. Cultural diversity has taken hold. Attitudes are different, as are modes of communication. In my view, modernization of the Act is necessary, perhaps even critical.”

Consequently, in the 2015-2016 annual report:

  1. The Commissioner recommends that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs propose to the Legislative Assembly a comprehensive revision of the French Language Services Act.
  2. The Commissioner recommends that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs initiate the process of revising the Act during the current session of parliament, no later than the fall of 2016, in connection with the Act’s 30th anniversary.
  3. The Commissioner recommends that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs launch, without delay, a mechanism for consulting the residents of Ontario, particularly the Francophone community, as a first step in the process of revising the Act.

The report also contains 16 recommendations on specific issues, including the Act’s statement of purpose, the use of the Inclusive Definition of Francophone, active offer, social media, designation of areas, government agencies, and the roles of the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, the Office of Francophone Affairs, the French-language services coordinators, and the Commissioner.

“In developing these recommendations, I wanted to identify the Act’s current shortcomings and determine the most direct and effective means of remedying them,” explains Commissioner Boileau.

QUICK FACTS

  • The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner processed 229 complaints in 2015-2016.
  • In nine years, the Commissioner’s Office has received a total of 2,706 complaints. Of those, 2,047, or more than 81%, were investigated.
  • Over the years, only 497 complaints (18%) have been deemed inadmissible.
  • The French Language Services Commissioner is one of nine officers who report to the Legislative Assembly.
  • In 2016, Ontario celebrates the 30th anniversary of the French Language Services Act.

The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.

LEARN MORE

You can access the annual report at flscontario.ca.

Sorinna Chim
Communications and Public Relations Officer
Office of the French Language Services Commissioner
Phone: (416) 906-7021 or 1-866-246-5262 (toll free)
Email: sorinna.chim@csfontario.ca
Disponible en français

Commissioner calls on the government to include active offer in the French Language Services Act

Report in PDF format

TORONTO, May 26, 2016 – Today, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, François Boileau, submitted to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Dave Levac, a special report entitled Active Offer of Services in French: The Cornerstone for Achieving the Objectives of Ontario’s French Language Services Act. In the report, the Commissioner states that more regulation of the obligation to “actively” offer services in French is needed, and recommends that the government propose an amendment to the French Language Services Act to include active offer in the delivery of services by government ministries and agencies.

This report highlights the need for the Government of Ontario to put concrete measures in place and acquire the tools that are needed for government ministries, agencies and entities and third parties that provide services on behalf of the government to implement the active offer of services in French. Indeed, the Commissioner identifies the absence of active offer as a significant shortcoming in the province’s language regime, a shortcoming that stands in the way of the full achievement of the Act’s objectives. Moreover, Francophone Ontarians in vulnerable positions are hardest hit by this shortcoming, as the personal stories related in this report illustrate.

“Active offer of services in French is a prerequisite for honouring Ontarians’ right to receive their services in French. French-speaking Ontarians (both Francophones and Francophiles), like their English-speaking fellow Ontarians, must be able to communicate in their language without feeling uncomfortable or ill at ease, and without experiencing negative reactions or unpleasant consequences for the quality of the services received,” said Commissioner Boileau.

Although the Act does not expressly refer to the right of Francophones to actively obtain services in their language, some organizations have made active offer the norm in delivering services, a fact the Commissioner is quick to recognize. Absent an express reference to this obligation in the Act, however, progress on active offer may be difficult and slow.

This is the backdrop against which the Commissioner recommends that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs take the necessary steps to ensure that (1) the Act is amended to include a provision relating to active offer. This amendment should come into force no later than May 2018. In addition, the changes to the Act should (2) be based on an action plan setting forth clear directives and best practices to guide executives and managers responsible for implementing the active offer of services in French. (3) The Commissioner also recommends the development of a provincial strategy to promote the implementation of the active offer of services in French by government agencies and institutions subject to the Act. The strategy should be developed in cooperation with community partners that can offer useful expertise and invaluable help in achieving the objectives.

 

QUICK FACTS

  • Active offer implies that service providers are proactive. It also entails guaranteeing that services will be equivalent in quality to the services provided in English.
  • For this report, 18 users of Ontario provincial public services were interviewed in order to understand the impact that not receiving active offer of services in French has on the Franco-Ontarian population.
  • In 2016, Ontario is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the French Language Services Act.

The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.

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LEARN MORE

You can access the special report at flscontario.ca in the PUBLICATIONS section.

Sorinna Chim

Communications and Public Relations Officer

Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

Phone: (416) 906-7021 or 1 866-246-5262 (toll free)

Email: communications.flscCSF@ontario.ca

Disponible en français