Ontario Enters Provincial-Federal Funding Agreement For French-Language Education

The McGuinty government has entered into a four-
year agreement negotiated between the Council of Ministers of Education,
Canada and the federal government for funding to support French-language
education, Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy said today.
“French language and culture are an important part of Ontario’s
heritage,” said Kennedy. “That’s why Ontario supports this provincial-federal
partnership and is committed to ensuring our students, at whatever educational
level, have access to the best quality French-language education we can
provide.”
Ontario will receive more than $300 million over a four-year period for
minority-language education and second-language instruction at the elementary,
secondary and post-secondary levels. The federal government will provide the
funding as part of the Protocol for Agreements for Minority-Language Education
and Second-Language Instruction between the Government of Canada and the
Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). The agreement was finalized
on November 23.
“Francophone Affairs Minister Madeleine Meilleur and MPP Jean Marc
Lalonde played a role in securing this agreement as tireless advocates on
behalf of the more than 100,000 French-language learners in Ontario,” said
Kennedy.
“We are strongly committed to helping our francophone students succeed
with more focused programs in French. We also believe it is important to
support the acquisition of bilingual skills amongst anglophone students,” said
Meilleur. “French-language education is an important part of Ontario’s
vitality and is a key factor in ensuring our present and future economic well-
being.”
As the province with the largest francophone community outside of Quebec,
Ontario has invested significantly in minority-language education. Since
taking office the McGuinty government has introduced a variety of policies and
supports to ensure a vibrant French-language education system including:
– Increased funding for elementary and secondary French-language
education of approximately 17 per cent or $140 million
– Providing $24.6 million in annual funding to French-language school
boards for new construction. This represents an increase of
$10.4 million since 2003-04. The total annual amount is expected to
finance approximately $338.6 million worth of construction
– Launched a policy in 2004 entitled Politique d’aménagement
linguistique to help promote French language and culture, improve
student achievement and self-esteem and help keep young Franco-
Ontarians in French-language schools.

In addition, Ontario, in partnership with the federal government, has
flowed approximately $133.5 million annually to support the two French-
language colleges and six bilingual universities.
“As a result of this agreement, we will have more resources to ensure
French-language colleges and bilingual universities are better able to support
their unique mission in Ontario society,” said Chris Bentley, Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities. “Increasing access to university and
college education for francophone students is part of the McGuinty
government’s Reaching Higher Plan.”
“This agreement acknowledges Ontario as the home of Canada’s largest
minority French-language community and will assist our government in its
vision to increase the vitality of French educational institutions in
Ontario,” said MPP Jean-Marc Lalonde.

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