VANCOUVER, May 13, 2019 /CNW/ – Our two official languages, English and French, are an integral part of our Canadian identity. All children should be able to flourish, grow and have fun through education in one or both of our official languages.
In recent years, school officials across the country have experienced a serious shortage of teachers in Francophone minority schools as well as French immersion teachers and French as a second language programs. This has major implications for official-language minority communities and the promotion of bilingualism.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, announced today that a national strategy geared towards teacher recruitment and retention in these schools and programs. With $62.6 millionin funding over four years, this strategy will fund projects aimed at alleviating the teacher shortage and will lead to the creation of a national roundtable on French as a second language.
Minister Joly is launching a call for proposals with the goal of funding projects and initiatives that will help better understand the shortage and increase the capacity to recruit and retain French teachers. More information on project eligibility and how to apply is available on the Official Languages Support Programs web page.
Also, Minister Joly will establish a national roundtable for French as a second language that will bring together key players (provincial and territorial governments, relevant organizations, and the federal government) to work closely together to respond to current issues in French immersion, French as a second language education and the teacher shortage.
Minister Joly also announced $3 million in funding to help Simon Fraser University (SFU) extend the reach of its courses and programs in French. This will support the growing demand from students and their families for more French-language education in British Columbia by widening the offering of post-secondary French courses and programs at SFU, with the continuing efforts of its Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs.
“Over the generations, Francophones in every region of Canada have kept their vibrant language and culture alive. Our government knows that teachers play a crucial role in ensuring the vitality of official-language minority communities and the promotion of bilingualism across the country. That’s why I’m pleased to announce this strategy. It is the result of a strong collaboration with the provinces, territories and community organizations.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie
“British Columbia has been working hard across ministries to ensure learners have access to French language education. This federal investment is a big step towards reinforcing our commitment to diversity. Funding that strengthens partnership and collaboration throughout British Columbia’s K-12 and post-secondary ecosystems is always welcome, and will ultimately increase educational and career opportunities for the next generation.”
—The Honourable Melanie Mark, Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) and Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training for British Columbia
“More and more British Columbians want to learn both of Canada’s official languages and it’s important they have that opportunity. We welcome this support to help address the shortage of French teachers. This investment builds on the work we’ve done with the Government of Canada to date, including funding 74 additional seats over two years for French teacher education at Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia (UBC) and UBC-Okanagan.”
—The Honourable Rob Fleming, Minister of Education for British Columbia
“This investment of funds for Simon Fraser University will continue to support our commitment to train the next generation of French teachers, at a time of increasing demand. It will also enable SFU to expand its overall French programming across faculties for those who share the value of learning in both of Canada’s official languages.”
— Kris Magnusson, Dean, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census, Francophone communities outside Quebec represent 3.8 percent of the population, and the rate of bilingualism among Anglophones outside Quebec is 6.8 percent. According to 2036 projections, the percentage of Francophones outside Quebec could fall to three percent, and the national bilingualism rate could increase only among Francophones in Quebec.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of students enrolled in immersion programs increased to 47.8 percent from 2006–07 to 2016–17, and the number of students enrolled in French minority-language schools increased to 14.3 percent.
As part of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023: Investing in Our Future, the Government of Canada is investing $62.6 million over four years to support the recruitment and retention of teachers in Francophone minority schools and teachers of French immersion and French as a second language programs.
The Action Plan for Official Languages includes an investment of $2.7 billion over five years, including $500 million in new funding, to support official-language minority communities and promote bilingualism across the country.
Backgrounder – The Government of Canada is helping address the shortage of French teachers across the country and is supporting Simon Fraser University’s French programming
Teacher recruitment and retention strategy in minority French-language schools and in French immersion and French as a second-language programs
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census, Francophone communities outside Quebec represent 3.8 percent of the population, and the rate of bilingualism among Anglophones outside Quebec is 6.8 percent. According to projections for 2036, the percentage of Francophones outside Quebec could fall to three percent, and the national bilingualism rate could increase only among Francophones in Quebec.
The shortage of teachers affects children and their families’ access to French education, whether it be in minority-language schools, or through immersion and second-language programs, and can have an impact on French-language minority communities as well as on bilingualism.
The Government of Canada is launching a two-fold national strategy to help recruit and retain teachers in minority-language schools, French-immersion and French as a second-language programs. A national call for proposals will support projects that aim to further understand the shortage and increase the capacity to recruit and retain teachers. Provinces, territories and not-for-profit organizations can submit project proposals. More information on project eligibility and how to apply is available on the Official Languages Support Programs web page.
The Government of Canada is also announcing that a new national roundtable on French as a second language will be established to bring together key players including federal, provincial and territorial governments as well as relevant organizations to discuss issues such as French second-language education and the teacher’s shortage.
This new $62.6-million national strategy is part of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 and will support official-language minority communities and the promotion of our two official languages.
Simon Fraser University is a Leader in French-Language Education in British Columbia
In order to support the growing demand from students and their families for more French-language education in British Columbia, the Government of Canada is investing $3 million to help Simon Fraser University extend the reach of its courses and programs in French. The funding will allow for the continuing support of SFU’s Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA) in the development of these programs, and future educational projects in French across the university.
This funding is subject to the ratification of a new Canada–British Columbia agreement on minority-language education and second official-language instruction covering the period targeted by the project.
Bilateral agreements between Canada and British Columbia have been in place for almost 50 years to support the province in implementing its French educational activities and its second official-language instruction activities.