The governments of Canada and British Columbia announce a major investment for French-language postsecondary education in British Columbia.
VANCOUVER, BC, May 25, 2022 /CNW/ - Education is key to ensuring the equality of our two official languages in the education system, from early childhood to postsecondary. To support official language minority communities and maintain the vitality of the French language, we need to work with partners and invest in the French education system, particularly postsecondary institutions.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced more than $4.7 million in funding to support French-language postsecondary education in British Columbia. The minister was accompanied by Kelli Paddon, Member of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia for Chilliwack–Kent; Yvon Laberge, President of Collège Éducacentre; Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Victoria; and Dr. Joël Castonguay-Bélanger, head of the French department at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and board member of the Centre de la Francophonie.
In collaboration with the University of Victoria, Collège Éducacentre and UBC, this investment will support a three-year capacity-building project that will improve French-language academic opportunities through new programs and courses, particularly French teacher education and development. It will also better serve Francophone students by offering more academic support and enhanced cultural activities.
In addition, the project allows postsecondary institutions to demonstrate the strong presence of the Francophone community through greater access to information and resources in French on campus and online.
The project will also support cultural programming and increased coordination and networking between educational partners and community organizations. The Government of Canada is investing $2,605,384 in this project over three years while the Government of British Columbia is investing $2,113,260 over the same period, for a total of $4.7 million.
The project is funded under the Canada–British Columbia Agreement on Minority-Language Education and Second Official-Language Instruction (2020–2021 to 2022–2023).
"After launching the national consultations to renew the Action Plan for Official Languages yesterday, I know how important it is to continue investing in postsecondary education. Today's investment will better serve the educational needs of British Columbia's Francophone community and will increase the visibility of French on campus by adding the resources and support needed."
—The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
"French is deeply rooted in Canadian history and that's why we are proud to support our post-secondary institutions to offer new programs, like the University of Victoria's French Teacher Education Program and exciting cultural activities in French at the University of British Columbia's campuses with Francophone guests, events and workshops linked with class instruction. We're investing in post-secondary institutions so that French-speaking learners can pursue an education in both of Canada's official languages."
—The Honourable Anne Kang, British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training
"We recognize the importance for school districts to recruit French-speaking teachers and respond to the growing demand for French programs in schools. Through this three-year federal and provincial funding partnership, we are working together to invest in French-language post-secondary education programs so more students can study and train to become French-language teachers in B.C."
—The Honourable Jennifer Whiteside, British Columbia Minister of Education, Skills and Training
"At a time when it is more difficult to attract and retain employees, this funding will help solidify our institution's base, which is growing. Also, le Collège Éducacentre collabore is working with le Conseil scolaire francophone to respond to the growing need for specialized French educational aids in B.C. This financing allows us to meet the need, by developing programming for and by the community, that will train students for the current demands of the profession."
— Yvon Laberge, President of Collège Éducacentre
"We are grateful for the Government of Canada and Government of British Columbia's commitment to supporting UBC faculty and students in preserving the French language, increasing French academic opportunities and building capacity for the Centre de la Francophonie's program. With this funding, UBC researchers and faculty will be able to increase student resources in French and online, advance cultural programming and increase the visibility of the Centre de la Francophonie to coordinate and network between educational partners and community organizations
— Santa J. Ono, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of British-Columbia
"This investment advances the University of Victoria's role in better serving the academic and education needs of British Columbia's Francophone community. We are proud to be a catalyst for cultural programs that reflect the richness of our region and reinforce the links between postsecondary institutions and community organizations."
— Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Victoria
Funding for this project is provided through the Official Languages Support Programs, which aims to enhance the vitality of English- and French-speaking minority communities and promote the English and French languages in Canadian society.
Budget 2021 provides $121 million over three years (2021–2022 to 2023–2024) to support high-quality post-secondary minority-language education. This new investment will be made primarily through existing intergovernmental cooperation mechanisms to help provinces and territories address pressing needs and help stabilize the post-secondary minority-language education sector.
On March 1, 2022, the Government of Canada introduced an enhanced bill promoting the substantive equality of Canada's official languages, in order to adapt the Official Languages Act to a changing society. Among other objectives, the bill aims to address the decline of French in Canada, clarify and strengthen the section of the Official Languages Act dealing with the promotion of official languages, and support official-language minority communities.
The University of Victoria is one of Canada's leading research-intensive universities with more than 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students and ranked first among Canadian comprehensive universities in the 2019 2021 Times Higher Education Global University Employability Ranking for preparing career-ready students.
Collège Éducacentre is the only French-language college in B.C. Its courses and programs are offered online and only in French. Established in 1976, the college has operated as a non-profit organization since 1992.
The University of British Columbia is ranked 34th in Times Higher Education World University Rankings and one of three Canadian universities in the top 50.
Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official Languages
Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023: Investing in Our Future
Official Languages Support Programs
University of Victoria
University of British Columbia
SOURCE Canadian Heritage
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