Official-Languages Programs: 35th Anniversary of the Language Assistant Program

    QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - The Council of Ministers of Education,
Canada (CMEC) is proud to mark the 35th anniversary of the Language Assistant
Program. The Honourable Kelly Lamrock, Minister of Education for New Brunswick
and Chair of CMEC, told a gathering of some 215 language assistants attending
a pan-Canadian training session in Quebec City: "I am pleased to be here with
so many young people from all parts of Canada to celebrate the anniversary of
this program, which has given so many Canadians an enriching cultural and
linguistic experience over the years."
    The language assistant program (Odyssey, which offers full-time
employment, and Accent, which offers part-time employment) aims to promote
Canada's two official languages by giving young people the opportunity to
experience the language and culture of another province or territory. Language
assistants are assigned to elementary, secondary, or postsecondary
institutions, where they help second-language or French-first-language
teachers or instructors create linguistic and cultural activities for students
in the language being taught.
    Minister Lamrock added: "The official-languages programs demonstrate how
much importance provinces and territories attach to learning both official
languages. These initiatives will ensure the future of Canada's linguistic
duality and unite francophones and anglophones from across the country."
    The four official-languages programs - Explore (1971), Accent (1973),
Odyssey (1977), and Destination Clic (1977) - were created jointly by the
federal government and CMEC to encourage young people from across Canada to
learn both official languages. The programs are funded by the Department of
Canadian Heritage and coordinated by CMEC at the pan-Canadian level, while the
provinces and territories assume the costs of their decentralized
    Over 250,000 young Canadians have taken part in the official-languages
programs since their inception, including some 32,000 in Odyssey and Accent.
The programs have helped enhance the quality of second-language instruction
for many Canadians and will continue to provide young people from across the
country with opportunities to deepen their appreciation of linguistic and
cultural realities in other regions of Canada.

    CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible
for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and
territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects
in areas of mutual interest and concern.

For further information:

For further information: Tamara Davis, Coordinator, Communications,
CMEC, Tel.: (416) 804-6548, E-mail:, Web site:,,,,

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Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

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