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French language services policy: no budgetary confirmation in British Columbia< /p>Open in full screen mode

British Columbia is the last Canadian province to have a policy on services in French, but the financial details are not yet known. (Archive photo)

  • Yann Lacoste (View profile)Yann Lacoste

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After unveiling its French language services policy, British Columbia has not yet disclosed the details of its implementation, including the funding that will be attached to it. The Minister of Francophone Affairs indicates that the budget will be associated with the chosen initiatives and that the ministries would have their own budget if an initiative moved forward.

According to the province, the French language services policy will serve as a guide for ministries to gradually increase their capacity to offer services to Francophones throughout the province.

It will come into force on April 1, 2024.

Ministries whose mandates correspond to the priority sectors of Francophones in the province will have to begin a consultation with Francophones. The implementation plan will be developed within six months of adoption of this policy and will be updated as necessary.

According to the Minister of Francophone Affairs, Adrian Dix, this policy will guide the entire government in its entirety. […] It is not financing this policy, but when we take action, it will cost money.

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When we talk to him asks how much money will be spent to carry out this policy, he replies: We'll see. This is to be continued with the programs.

Minister Dix is ​​optimistic that this policy will help us attract federal money by applying the policy during negotiations and the implementation of an agreement between Ottawa and the province.

To imagine what funding would look like in British Columbia, Radio-Canada contacted the other provinces, except Quebec, to ask what the budget for their French language services policy corresponded to.

Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario responded on time.

In Alberta, which adopted its policy in 2017, the Francophone Affairs Secretariat has a budget of $1.4 million. However, according to Garret Koehler, press secretary for the Minister of Arts, Culture and Status of Women, Alberta does not receive its fair share of funding for French-language services from the federal government.< /p>

In total, 88,010 Albertans had French as their mother tongue in 2021, or 2.1% of the population, according to Statistics Canada.

Nova Scotia adopted the French Language Services Regulations in 2006. In a written response, the province says the funding is a cost-shared initiative under a federal-provincial agreement that disburses $2.6 million dollars each year. The province and the federal government provide half of this amount, respectively.

In 2021, 34,675 Nova Scotians had French as their mother tongue, or 3.6% of the population.

On the Ontario side, Radio-Canada has not received an exact figure regarding the Ontario Strategy for French Language Services, adopted in 1986.

In the 2023 Report on Francophone Affairs, it is indicated that all ministries must integrate French-language services into their planning and report on them each year through the multi-year budget planning process.

There were 591,855 Ontario residents who had French as their mother tongue in 2021, or 4.2% of the population, according to Statistics Canada .

In British Columbia, the number of people with French as their mother tongue is 80,095 people, or 1.6% of the population.

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