McGuinty Government Keeps Commitment To Francophone Community



    Takes First Step Towards Creation Of French Language Services
    Commissioner

    TORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is building on its
support for the Francophone community by introducing amendments to the French
Language Services Act that would create the Office of the French Language
Services Commissioner, Francophone Affairs Minister Madeleine Meilleur
announced today.
    The amendments were part of the Budget Measures and Interim Appropriation
Act, introduced on March 22, 2007.
    "The proposed establishment of the Office of the French language services
commissioner would lead to continuous improvements in the quality,
accessibility and active offer of French-language services," added Meilleur.
"This announcement of historical importance demonstrates the government's
commitment to supporting the vitality of the Francophone community and to
ensuring that Francophones get the services they need."
    "The establishment of an Office of the French language services
commissioner responds to an essential need of the Francophone community: to
have an effective mechanism in place to act upon our concerns regarding
French-language services," commented Mariette Carrier-Fraser, President of the
Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario.
    On November 20, 2006 at the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the
French Language Services Act, Premier McGuinty announced the government's
intention to introduce legislative amendments to create the Office of the
French language services commissioner. This initiative fulfills an important
government commitment to the Francophone community.
    Other initiatives taken by the McGuinty government to strengthen the
Francophone community include:

    
    -   Additional investments of $317 million in French-language education
        at the elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels
    -   In the health sector, a $185 million investment to double the size of
        Montfort Hospital
    -   The designation of Brampton, Callander and Kingston under the French
        Language Services Act

    "The wide range of initiatives that we have put in place is the result of
the ongoing dialogue taking place between government, citizens and community
organizations in order to meet the needs of Ontario Francophones," concluded
Minister Meilleur.

    Disponible en français

                              www.ofa.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              March 26, 2007

                        PROPOSED ESTABLISHMENT OF THE
             OFFICE OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES COMMISSIONER

    On November 20, 2006, at the ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the
French Language Services Act, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the
government's intention to introduce legislative amendments to create the
Office of the French language services commissioner.
    On March 22, as part of the 2007 Ontario Budget Bill, the government
introduced amendments to the French Language Services Act that would create
the Office of the French language services commissioner.
    The main functions of the commissioner would include:

    -   Investigating whether the Act is being complied with, at his or her
        own initiative or in response to complaints;
    -   Reporting on the results of the investigations;
    -   Monitoring government agencies' progress in providing French-language
        services; and
    -   Advising the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs on the
        administration of the French Language Services Act.

    The commissioner would report to the Minister Responsible for Francophone
Affairs, and would produce an annual report to be submitted to the minister
for tabling in the Legislative Assembly.
    If passed, the amendments to the French Language Services Act would also
give the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs the power to make a
range of regulations about how the Act is administered.

    Disponible en français

                              www.ofa.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Marc Despatie, Office of the Minister
Responsible for Francophone Affairs, (416) 325-5219; Charles Jean Sucsan,
Office of Francophone Affairs, (416) 325-4968

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OFFICE OF FRANCOPHONE AFFAIRS

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