ST. JOHN’S, N.L. (GNB) – The provincial and territorial ministers responsible for the Canadian Francophonie met today in St. John’s, N.L., at the 21st Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie.

“Our participation in the Francophonie gives us access to a series of networks in different strategic sectors that are important for us, such as education, research, culture, trade, the economy, immigration and the environment,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry, who is also minister responsible for La Francophonie.

The ministers discussed key issues, including the delivery of government services in French and francophone immigration. The slogan, The Wind in Our Sails, is inspired by the vibrant Newfoundland and Labrador francophone community as the government of that province has recently adopted a French-language services policy.

As the federal government prepares to develop a new multi-year official languages plan, the provincial and territorial governments reiterated their willingness to improve the delivery of French-language services. They also indicated that the quality of these services is achieved through close federal-provincial-territorial co-operation.

They therefore asked the federal government:

  • to clarify its commitment to provinces and territories with regards to increasing the scope and quality of French-language services to reflect the changing needs and the diversity of the francophone and Acadian communities; and
  • to update the bilateral co-operation agreements to match the realities of francophone and Acadian communities and the priorities of provincial and territorial governments and in particular, to increase the financial envelopes allocated.

The ministers also provided updates on francophone immigration issues. They agreed on the need to work closely with the federal government in developing action strategies to be presented at the Forum on Francophone Immigration. A first in Canada, this forum will be organized in conjunction with the ministers responsible for immigration with a view to ensuring that each government meets its respective goals for Francophone immigration.

The next Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie will take place June 22-23, 2017 in the Ottawa area on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Created in 1994, the ministerial conference works to make the Canadian Francophonie an open, vibrant, diverse community that contributes fully to the development of Canadian society.