March 28, 2018 3:01 pm
Updated: March 28, 2018 3:02 pm

Canada’s official languages action plan promises ‘historic’ investments

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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.

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In an interview with The Canadian Press, Heritage Minister Melanie Joly is pledging historic investments, without revealing a dollar amount.

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The last federal budget earmarked $400 million starting next year and $88.4 million annually after that.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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There will also be funding to help the City of Ottawa become officially bilingual.

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A bill to formalize this status for the Canadian capital was passed by the Ontario legislature in December.

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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