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Port Stanley News RSS Feed  Regional Ford Cuts Funding for Franco-Ontarians


Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario
Ford Cuts Funding for FrancoOntarians

Toronto, Nov. 16, 2018 - Yesterday, the Ontario government cancelled plans to open the province's first French-language university in southern Ontario, set to open in 2020, despite having made promises not to do so during the election campaign and after taking office.

In the same announcement, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli indicated that the province will be eliminating the positions of three independent officers – the French Language Services Commissioner, the Environmental Commissioner and Ontario Child Advocate – and rolling their responsibilities into the offices of the auditor general and the provincial ombudsman.

Both of these announcements were made as part of the government's cost-cutting plan "For the People" to reduce the provincial budget.

This unexpected news has been met with harsh criticism and disappointment among Francophone students, faculty and community groups across Ontario.

"Creating this French-language university was necessary to improve the quality of education for the 600,000 Francophones living across this province," said Nour Alideeb, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "French-speaking students in Ontario pay some of the highest tuition fees in the country, yet face all sorts of challenges when attending college or university due to a historic lack of resources and programming for French-language learners. In their short-sighted attempt to save money, Ford's government has essentially wasted decades of funding and consultations that had been building towards this project."

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario had lobbied the provincial government for increased funding for French-language education and to ensure that the funding for the new French-language university did not take away from existing Francophone institutions.

The cancellation of the French-language university comes only a few weeks after the sudden cancellation of three additional new campus projects in Milton, Brampton and Markham. These actions amount to a significant funding cut for the post-secondary sector.

"Now by eliminating the position of the French Language Services Commissioner, who was responsible for protecting the rights and interests of Franco-Ontarians, it will be harder for people to advocate for themselves when the services they need are not being provided," said Alideeb. "When looked at side-by-side, these two cancellations amount to a huge step backwards when it comes to improving the social, economic and political life of the Francophone community in this province."

The French Language Services Commissioner was responsible for receiving complaints about French-language government services and exercising its powers of investigation to make recommendations with respect to the delivery of these services.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario represents 350,000 students in Ontario, including the majority of Francophone post-secondary students in the province.

Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2018 14:33:06 PM EST

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