The AFO’s Political Action


THE AFO IS COMMITTED TO 7 PRIORITY ISSUES


  • HEALTH

  • EDUCATION

  • EMPLOYABILITY

  • COMMUNICATIONS

  • IMMIGRATION

  • LANGUAGE RIGHTS

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

  • PROVINCIAL ELECTIONS

Progress
Cercle vert
Complete or almost complete
Cercle jaune
In progress
Cercle rouge
Late
Cercle gris
Projet on hold
 
 

Accessible French-Language Health services


The French Language Services Act (FLSA) guarantees francophones the right to receive services in French from Ontario Government organizations located in any of the 26 officially designated areas of the province.

Third-party organizations in designated areas are also required to offer services in French according to Regulation 284/11, which was adopted in July 2011.

Nine years after the recommendations of the French Language Services Commissioner were published, the AFO finds that French-language healthcare services are not consistently offered in the designated areas.

The demands of the francophone community are not trivial manifestations of identity politics – linguistic barriers and living in a francophone minority setting have a direct impact on the overall effectiveness of the healthcare system.

In collaboration with others, we have:

 

Province-wide access to education in French


Access to post-secondary education in French is crucial for Franco-Ontarian linguistic and cultural development.

By improving access to university education in French especially in the Centre-South-West the Ontario Government will enable students to stay in their region instead of forcing them to relocate.

Unfortunately, access to post-secondary studies in French is limited: only 22% of post-secondary programs are currently offered in French.

This situation is particularly alarming in the Centre-South-West, where only 35 programs are available in French.

In his report Pas d’avenir sans accès [No Future Without Access], the French Language Services Commissioner denounced the situation and submitted several recommendations.

In collaboration with others, we have:

 

The Economic power of Franco-Ontarians


By guaranteeing all Franco-Ontarians access to literacy and basic education programs, the provincial government allows them to contribute more fully to economic, social and community development in the province.

Illiteracy affects 48% of Franco-Ontarians.

High illiteracy is hindering the development of the francophone community. Educating people, and in particular young people, is extremely important for the development and prosperity of the community as a whole.

Literacy and basic education programs must be universally accessible in order for Franco-Ontarians to access and generate high-quality jobs.

In collaboration with others, we have:

  • successfully lobbied the Canadian Government to conduct a study on the benefits of bilingualism in Ontario.
 

developing francophone media in Ontario


By providing local Franco-Ontarian media organizations with financial support, the Ontario and Canadian governments would contribute significantly to the development of the province’s francophone community.

Access to French-language media is especially critical for minority francophone communities: it allows them to survive and grow, and also presents opportunities to exchange ideas and hold discussions.

Unfortunately, the financial situation of such media organizations remains fragile and their future is uncertain.

The threat to French-language media represents a much larger threat to the survival of the Franco-Ontarian community overall.

In collaboration with others, we have:

 

encouraging francophone immigration to Ontario


The federal government has set a francophone immigration target of 4.4% by 2023 for all provinces excluding Quebec. In 2016, the provinces themselves reached an agreement to set their francophone immigration targets to an even higher 5%.

Ontario’s provincial government recently adopted Bill 161, Ontario Immigration Act, 2014, in which it reiterated its 2012 goal to achieve a 5% francophone immigration target.

In the preamble, the Bill expressed the government’s interest in “enabling all communities across Ontario, including Franco-Ontarian communities, to attract, welcome and integrate immigrants.”

However, other than a slight increase in 2016, the number of francophone immigrants settling in Ontario has been in continuous decline since the implementation of Ontario’s Immigration Strategy.

In collaboration with others, we have:

 

Defending francophone linguistic rights


Financial support from Official Languages Support Programs is essential to the well-being and development of the Franco-Ontarian community.

However, no real positive change has been made to these financial packages for over a decade.

This puts Franco-Ontarian organizations in a precarious financial position and weakens their organizational capacity.

Furthermore, the French Language Services Act has not been updated in any significant way since its initial publication almost 30 years ago. This urgently needs to be done.

In collaboration with others, we have:

  • successfully lobbied for the inclusion of Schedule 5 in Bill 177, Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, which grants official bilingual status to the City of Ottawa;
  • restored the baseline funding of the Ontario Trillium Foundation to 2015-2016 levels;
  • created the Francophone Community Grants Program; and
  • re-established the Language Rights Support Program.
 

Protecting Franco-Ontarian arts and culture


The survival of the French language is directly tied to Franco-Ontarian arts and culture.

By the late 1960s, there were no francophone organizations dedicated exclusively to the arts in Ontario.

Today, however, Ontario’s Francophonie has a network of over a hundred professional quality francophone cultural centres and organizations dedicated to arts and culture.

Although progress in this sector has been significant over the past decades, the available baseline funding offered to francophone arts and culture groups has been stagnating for years.

In collaboration with others, we have:

  • published a White Paper on Francophone Arts and Culture in Ontario;
  • successfully campaigned for a CAN$500 million increase in funding for the Ontario Arts Council;
  • seen Notre Place adopted as the official hymn of Franco-Ontarians by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario; and
  • obtained funding from the federal and provincial governments to build the Place des Arts in Sudbury.