The federal and provincial governments need to work together to protect French language services in Ontario, says the AFO

Ottawa, December 4, 2018 – The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) appeared before the Standing Committee on Official Languages in Ottawa this morning and before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario yesterday afternoon. To both these committees, Carol Jolin, president of the AFO, presented the Francophone community’s position on the provincial government’s proposals to cut French language services.

These cuts constitute a rollback of Francophone minority rights.

Firstly, eliminating the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and having the provincial Ombudsman supervise its functions would impair the independence of the institution. Also, the fiscal justification for this measure is baseless, because cutting these services would contribute nothing to the government’s efforts to balance the province’s finances.

Secondly, regarding funding for the Université de l’Ontario français, the federal government has clearly stated that it is ready to receive a request for funding from the Government of Ontario so that the institution can open its doors in 2020 as planned.

“The AFO sees the investment of federal funds as a winning solution for both the provincial and the federal governments,” said Carol Jolin, president of the AFO. “We would welcome a political solution to avoid the irreparable harm that the province’s proposed cuts would inflict.”

The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario assured the two committees that it is ready to work with both levels of government to facilitate a funding agreement.