There are more than 300,000 French speaking citizens in British Columbia, with more than 40 francophone associations and organizations actively representing the francophone language and culture in the province.
In October 2012, the BC Francophone Affairs Program invited francophones and francophiles across British Columbia to share their suggestions on how the government can improve its services in French. This province-wide engagement helped identify priorities within B.C.’s French speaking community and negotiate a new Cooperation Agreement on Official Languages with the Government of Canada, and a five-year Strategic Plan.
The objective of the Canada-British Columbia Cooperation Agreement on Official Languages is to promote one of Canada’s fundamental characteristics — French as one of Canada’s official languages — and as such to enhance support to B.C’s French speaking community. Since first being signed in 2001, the agreement has supported programs and services for francophones and francophiles in the province focusing on priority sectors such as health and social services, justice, economic development, arts and culture, and communication.
Under the agreement, the provincial and federal governments contribute a value of $700,000 annually each to advance services in French in British Columbia. Since the first agreement was signed in 2001, the joint-funding has provided French books to libraries, translation of useful resources and supported initiatives for the French-speaking community. For example, the agreement supported the development of Économusée sites, the design and installation of French interpretive signs at heritage sites across the province or at significant events such as Canada’s Winter Games in Prince George, and the distribution of a French welcome package to expecting parents.
With the 2013-2018 agreement sets to expire in 2018, the provincial and federal governments will need to develop and sign a new cooperation agreement on official languages. Further engagement will take place to identify the current and future priorities of the B.C. French speaking community in preparation for the new agreement.
Renseignez-vous sur cette consultation en français.
October 15 to November 15, 2012
In total, 123 comments were received from 57 participants. Sixty-five comments were received through the blog, 14 questionnaires were completed and 21 comments were tabulated by the Fédération des francophones de la
Francophones and francophiles visited the engagement blog to share their suggestions online. Participants read responses, asked questions and joined in discussions with others across the province. Feedback from respondents showed that arts and culture, health, economic development and government services continue to be priorities for the francophone community. Participants also proposed several initiatives for the government to improve the way it delivers services, including more news releases in French on province-wide issues and enhancing support in French for families and job seekers.
Input leads to action:
As part of the agreement renewal, the government of B.C. reviewed the results of the public engagement and created a five-year strategic plan.
We are now more than half-way through the implementation of the 2013-2018 Strategic Plan created as a result of the 2012 engagement. So far, we have improved access to programs and services for French-speaking British Columbians, enhanced the visibility of the Francophone community, and increased the Province’s capacity to support structuring and start up initiatives in priority sectors.
Within this context, our Province recognizes that Francophones and Francophiles have made valuable contributions to our province’s economic, cultural and social fabric.