QUEBEC (GNB) – Under the theme Forts de notre Francophonie, the ministers responsible for the Canadian Francophonie met virtually to reiterate their commitment to collaborate and identify priority areas where advances can be made between now and 2023 in order to promote and protect the Canadian Francophonie.

The ministers discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Canadian Francophonie, as well as the crucial nature of bilingual communications in crisis situations. The provision of French-language services in the mental health and elder care sectors and francophone immigration are among their priorities. Bilingual worker shortages, recognition of professional skills and interprovincial mobility are also major concerns that ministers wish to address over the next two years.

"This pan-Canadian Francophone discussion table is essential to ensuring the promotion and advancement of the Canadian Francophonie, and we are proud to have been an active participant," said Glen Savoie, minister responsible for La Francophonie. "As an officially bilingual province New Brunswick is a role model. Our presence within the council, as well as our ongoing commitment to the Francophonie, allows us to advance and protect the vitality of both the French language and our French communities."

“French is a minority language in Canada, and we must work together to protect and promote it,” said Sonia LeBel, Quebec minister responsible for the Canadian Francophonie and council co-chair. “My colleagues and I are committed to working together, and the discussions of the past two days reaffirm the importance of intergovernmental co-operation to promote this beautiful language that we share and to allow all those who wish to do so to be able to live in French.”

“Francophonie makes Canadians stronger every day,” said Mélanie Joly, federal economic development and official languages minister, and council co-chair. “That is why the government is determined to move forward towards the substantive equality of English and French, as evidenced by the recent introduction of the bill to modernize the Official Languages Act. The protection and promotion of French and the support of official language minority communities are at the heart of the language reform. The collaboration that we are building, year after year, within the Ministers' Council on the Canadian Francophonie, will allow us to achieve this goal together.”

The Government of Saskatchewan will co-chair the annual council meeting in 2022.

The council, created in 1994, is the only intergovernmental forum that brings together the ministers responsible for the Canadian Francophonie. More information is available on the Ministers' Council on the Canadian Francophonie website.