Canada’s official languages action plan promises ‘historic’ investments
The federal government’s action plan on official languages will include significant investments in early childhood education and encourage Francophone immigration in a minority setting.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly is pledging historic investments, without revealing a dollar amount.
The last federal budget earmarked $400 million starting next year and $88.4 million annually after that.
Joly, who will unveil the five-year action plan with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau later Wednesday, says it will end a decade of funding stagnation for minority language communities.
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The plan follows consultations that took place in 2016 in 22 cities across the country.
Much of the funding will go directly to organizations instead of the provincial and federal governments.
“It’s a plan to strengthen our communities, ensure their vitality,” Joly said in an interview.
“It is a plan for investments in two areas that have not been supported in the past, which are early childhood and those of Francophone immigration.”
French-language education will be an important part of the action plan with money for training French teachers as well as cultural activities in schools and community centres.
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Anglophone communities in Quebec will also have a share of the pie, especially those outside of Montreal.
Sums will be set aside for special projects with the support of the newly created secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers created by the Couillard government.
There will also be funding to help the City of Ottawa become officially bilingual.
A bill to formalize this status for the Canadian capital was passed by the Ontario legislature in December.
© 2018 The Canadian Press