It’s time to reinvest in Ontario’s francophone and bilingual post-secondary institutions

Ottawa, May 28, 2018 – The Table postsecondaire de l’Ontario français* [Franco-Ontarian Post-secondary Workgroup], coordinated by the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO), held a press conference today on French-language education. Their message was clear: Ontario’s francophone and bilingual colleges and universities need help expanding their French-language programs.

The Table postsecondaire de l’Ontario français acknowledges and supports the government’s efforts to create the Université de l’Ontario français. However, other francophone and bilingual institutions across the province are in urgent need of help: university funding has been frozen for 10 years, and college funding is in decline. Such conditions make it almost impossible for these institutions to provide the same quality of education as English-language institutions, let alone expand their (French-language) programs.

“Post-secondary education in French is a priority for the Franco-Ontarian community. This wish is clearly expressed in the Community Strategic Plan: Vision 2025. Francophones have the right to study in their own language. The Université de l’Ontario français is being developed as we speak, but it isn’t enough. We ask all Premier of Ontario candidates to announce their plans regarding bilingual universities and francophone colleges. The need is great, and the time to act is now!”, says Carol Jolin, President of the AFO.

“Ontario’s seven francophone and bilingual universities are crucial for francophone communities. Proper funding would allow these institutions to maintain current programs, which are under threat due to the 10-year funding freeze, and to offer new programs in developing fields across the province. The Francophonie is growing worldwide Ontario and young Franco-Ontarians stand to benefit greatly from provincial investment in a bilingual workforce,” says Pierre Zundel, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor of Laurentian University

“If French-language colleges want to stay competitive and increase francophone enrollment, they need to be able to offer a modern learning experience focused on developing professional and technical skills. This is the only way to attract students and guarantee their success in the job market. We need more provincial funding to support and expand high-quality French-language education that will prepare students for the ever-changing job market,” says Lise Bourgeois, president of La Cité College.

Quick Facts

  1. Since 2009, the Ontario Government has allocated Cad$34 444 237 annually in baseline funding to French-language education at bilingual universities.
  2. Since 2009, the Ontario Government has frozen investments in francophone colleges. In 2009-2010, the provincial government invested Cad$2 814 per student. That number has now fallen to Cad$2 400 per student.
  3. According to data from the Bank of Canada, inflation increased by an average of 1.5% a year from 2009 to 2017 inclusive (13.5% in total).

*The Table postsecondaire de l’Ontario français consists of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) and Ontario’s francophone and bilingual post-secondary institutions. These include Collège Boréal, La Cité College, Dominican University College, Laurentian University, the Université de Hearst, the University of Ottawa, York University’s Glendon Campus, Saint Paul University and the University of Sudbury.