The Senate Committee on Official Languages just released its report entitled Horizon 2018: Toward Strong Support of French-language Learning in British Columbia.
In this report, the Senate Committee explains that the federal government is not assuming its leadership role to ensure access to French first-language and French second-language education in British Columbia.
The committee's report makes 17 recommendations on which the federal government should act in order to live up to its obligations under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under the Official Languages Act.
In 2018, the federal government will renegotiate the Protocol for Agreements for Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction with the provinces and territories. 2018 will be a pivotal year for both the federal and provincial governments to demonstrate their commitment in addressing the current inadequacies in BC and the rest of Canada.
- Improve access to francophone schools;
- Increase bilingualism among youth;
- Review the funding mechanism and improve accountability; and
- Support the vitality of francophone communities.
The report recommends that the BC government, with support from the federal government, should work with French-language education stakeholders to implement these recommendations.
- That the Minister of Canadian Heritage conclude a special agreement with BC's Ministry of Education to respond to the pressing infrastructure needs of the francophone community in negotiating the new protocol for agreements on education in 2018.
- That the Minister of Public Services and Procurement intervene with teh Canada Lands Company Ltd. to promptly acquire lands that are already 50% owned by this Crown corporation in order to build two schools that will meet the needs of Vancouver's francophone community.
- That the Minister of Canadian Heritage, in collaboration with BC's Ministry of Education, ensure access for everyone to French immersion programs in BC and commit to increased and sustained funding for these programs.
- That the Minister of Canadian Heritage provide support for post-secondary institutions to ensure basic training and continuing education for French teachers.
- That the Minister of Canadian Heritage, in negotiating the new Protocol for Agreements on Education and the next multi-year official languages plan, commit to increasing the envelope for Intergovernmental Cooperation on Education, for example by providing:
- support for school infrastructure and school transportation in francophone schools;
- support for post-secondary institutions to provide basic training and continuing education for French teachers; and
- language and cultural exchanges and authentic experiences for students enrolled in French first-language and French second-language education, as well as for teachers.
View all 17 official recommendations in full detail by clicking here.