The Ontario government continues to build on its commitment to strengthen French-language education in the province. Through its Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) COVID-19 Equity Supports, the province is directing $500,000 toward initiatives that will provide Indigenous, equity, human rights and anti-racism resources to Francophone students, as well as targeted supports to Francophone parent organizations.
“Ontario’s investments will help ensure Francophone students learn about their history and culture, and gain access to learning recovery supports to help get students back on track,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “After two school years of disruption and uncertainty, Francophone parents will also have new tools to support their children, as Ontario moves forward with our learning recovery plan — including expanded tutoring and mental health supports.”
This equity funding announcement comes as the world marks International Francophonie Week, a celebration of the French language and Francophone culture. As part of its PPF, the Ontario government is providing:
- $200,000 facilitated through Centre de leadership et d’évaluation (CLE) in support of Francophone Indigenous resources for students from Grades 4 to 12. These include videos exploring a range of themes regarding Indigenous histories and perspectives, particularly on Treaty recognition, connection to the Land, identities and reconciliation.
- $200,000 to Le Centre franco. The funding is the result of a request by French-language boards to develop a self-paced learning module to support students’ and school staff’s understanding of current equity, human rights and anti-racism issues, initiatives and recommendations. The project consists of videos and current pedagogical resources geared toward educators of intermediate- and secondary-level students.
- $50,000 to Parents partenaires en éducation to enhance the scope of support to provincial parent organizations to leverage virtual parent networks, resources to participate in board communications and contacts to address local needs. This program provides intensified and targeted supports to parents, as learning recovery strategies are implemented.
- $50,000 to Association francophone pour l’éducation artistique en Ontario (AFÉAO) through CLE to produce a pedagogical resource focused on games, physical activities and arts from around the world to celebrate the richness of various cultures and communities. This resource will be accessible in the virtual learning environment (VLE) of the French-language school boards.
“Francophone education is critically important to Ontario’s long-term prosperity, which is why our government is investing in initiatives to support Francophone students and parents,” said Sam Oosterhoff, the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education. “The Government of Ontario is proud to partner with respected stakeholder groups and Francophone parent organizations to advance understanding of equity, human rights and anti-racism issues, especially now during International Francophonie Week.”
The Priorities and Partnerships Funding COVID-19 Equity Supports fund various initiatives that help promote equity and a positive school climate, support healthy relationships, build empathy, and address bullying and cyberbullying.
- Through the Priorities and Partnerships Funding COVID-19 Equity Supports, the province has also committed to combating Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism, advancing and promoting the success of Black students and strengthening protections against bullying and violence at school.
- The French-language (FL) education network is comprised of Centre Jules-Léger and 12 school boards across the province – eight Catholic and four public, including 471 elementary and secondary schools.
- There are more than 113,000 students enrolled in FL schools this year.
- In Ontario, 1.5 million people speak French, including more than 622,400 Franco-Ontarians. This represents the largest Francophone population in Canada outside of Quebec. Globally, there are 300 million Francophones.
- According to the Francophone Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AFMO), 41.5 per cent of Francophones live in Eastern Ontario; 28.7 per cent live in Central Ontario; 22.5 per cent live in Northeastern Ontario; 5.9 per cent live in Southwestern Ontario; and 1.4 per cent live in Northwestern Ontario.
- As part of the Safe Return to Class Fund, the Ontario government directed $6.4 million to support equity-related projects. This included funding to community organizations to address anti-Asian hate, antisemitism, and Islamophobia, support for Black, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQI+ students, as well as support for newcomer youth, parents and families to enhance access to school and community resources, and culturally appropriate mental health and well-being supports for youth, families and teachers.
- In March 2021, the Ontario government announced a two-year investment of $1.6 million toward a new Anti-Racism and Anti-Hate Grant Program that will focus on increasing awareness on the impact of racism and hate.
“In the spirit of linguistic accessibility, equity and social justice, I know that Francophone students in Ontario will benefit from these new investments through broadening their understandings and enriching their educational experience. As the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Francophone Affairs, I am proud to have worked diligently alongside the Minister in engaging our Francophone stakeholders to build a prosperous future, not just for Franco-Ontarians, but for all Ontarians across the province. This announcement is yet another way we are making a difference for La Francophonie.”
– Natalia Kusendova
Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga Centre
“In recognition and appreciation of International Francophonie Week, Parents partenaires en éducation would like to thank the Government of Ontario for its financial contribution, which will allow for the development of programs and services intended for French-speaking parents of students associated with Ontario’s Francophone school boards. This funding will provide new opportunities for parent engagement and involvement in their school communities, which will, in turn, foster solidarity in our network and help to alleviate the isolation experienced by our French-speaking parents across the province.”
– Paul Baril
President of Parents partenaires en éducation
“Le Centre franco is proud to support the Ministry of Education of Ontario in its commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable environment in the French-language schools of the province. Equity in education will provide all students with an equal opportunity to succeed and remove barriers to well-being and academic achievement. We thank the Ministry of Education for its trust in this resource development project, on the broad theme of equity, human rights and inclusive education. A project that will serve to guide school staff in creating a climate conducive to diversity, and positive for the entire school community.”
– Claude Deschamps
Chief Executive Officer of Le Centre franco
“The Centre de leadership et d’évaluation (CLE) would sincerely like to thank the Ontario Ministry of Education for supporting initiatives such as elaborating resources and videos for students to learn and discover Indigenous histories and perspectives. This funding announcement also allows the CLE to partner and collaborate with AFÉAO to produce pedagogical resources to transfer knowledge through virtual learning for French-language school boards. This announcement provides an opportunity to celebrate the International Francophonie Week.”
– Ginette Plourde
Chair of the Board of Directors, Centre de leadership et d’évaluation
“The funding received by the Association francophone pour l’éducation artistique en Ontario (AFÉAO) allows educators who visit our website and use our resources to enhance their own delivery of the arts education curriculum in Grades 1 to 12 in all subject areas of the arts: drama, visual arts, dance and music at the elementary level; media arts, visual arts, dance, music and drama at the secondary level. This funding also allows us to support teachers through a free online mentoring program with mentors. These include: Tricks of the Trade, Numeracy Through the Arts, Introduction to First Nations History, Arts and Cultural Practices, and Mental Health and Wellness. In short, this funding allows AFÉAO to support and promote the pedagogical, academic and identity success of teachers and students in French Ontario. ‘Seeing High and Wide’ is a maxim that is lived to the fullest at AFÉAO, thanks to the financial support of the Ontario Ministry of Education. On behalf of the teachers, students and their parents, thank you!”
– Lise Goulet
President and Executive Director of AFÉAO