The British Columbia Association of Teachers of Modern Languages (BCATML), a Provincial Specialist Association of the BC Teachers' Federation, welcomes the Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future, unveiled yesterday by the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future is the Government of Canada's official languages strategy for the period from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2023. It outlines the Government of Canada's vision for supporting official-language minority communities and promoting our two official languages. This plan is inspired by public feedback provided during cross-Canada consultations between June and December 2016. BCATML's Trish Kolber (French Language Representative) and Rome Lavrencic (President) co-authored a BCATML Report that was presented to the Senate Committee on Official Languages on October 5, 2016 in Vancouver, BC.
The Action Plan reveals the Government of Canada's goal to raise the national bilingualism rate of 17.9% to 20% by 2036. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau stated that the Action Plan "reflects our government's broad vision of a strong Canadian Francophonie, of Quebec's vibrant English-speaking communities and a bilingualism that encourages exchange and recognizes our English and French linguistic heritage." The Action Plan builds upon the legacy of the Official Languages Act (1969) introduced by former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who said: "We believe in two official languages and in a pluralist society not merely as a political necessity but as an enrichment."
The Action Plan for Official Languages delivers an investment of $499.2 million over the next five years and outlines new initiatives to support Canada's two official languages. The Action Plan for Official Languages is based on three pillars:
Among the $499 million, over $100 million of new funding will be invested in promoting a bilingual Canada and in teaching and learning French and English as second languages. Some of these investments will go to address the current shortage of French as a Second Language teachers, inciting youth to pursue post-secondary education in French, as well as the creation and enhancement of other educational-related services shown in the table below.
Highlights of the new funding for the enhancement of the Official Languages Program:
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