Thursday, November 3rd 2016 - Question Period - Service for Linguistic Minority Communities
Services for Linguistic Minority Communities
Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Last March, your government eliminated the title of Minister of Official Languages. Now, no one in the Trudeau government is responsible for official languages. Last week, we saw the first signs of the impact this decision will have. Many francophone organizations have indicated that federal funding for francophone immigration to minority communities will be redirected to organizations in majority communities. Without an official languages minister, how will the government ensure that minority communities get their funding?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for her question. The minister responsible for official languages is Minister Joly, and she takes an active interest in these affairs, and I would hope that at an early opportunity she will be able to participate in Question Period as we invite ministers to attend so that questions on this important subject can be addressed directly in this house as well.
Senator Poirier: The vitality of francophone minority communities depends on the funding that was promised to them. What concrete changes does the Trudeau government plan to make in order to ensure that this situation never happens again? Could you try to get an answer for us, please?
Senator Harder: Yes, I'd be delighted to do that and want to assure all members of the house that Minister Joly and the Government of Canada remain deeply committed to official languages.
(Response to question raised by the Honourable Rose-May Poirier on November 3, 2016)
Regarding settlement funding at Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a range of efforts ensure that funds reach Francophone Minority Communities.
The Department continues to provide and improve services in French for French-Speaking immigrants outside Quebec. In the National Call for Proposals 2015, IRCC identified national and regional priorities in support of Francophone Minority Communities and in support of connections between francophone service providers and the broader settlement system.
The Call for Proposals on settlement programming also introduced a priority called Arrimages francophones that aims to better link French-speaking immigrants to settlement services in Francophone Minority Communities.
Approximately 50 francophone organizations that submitted proposals for funding for settlement related services received a letter from IRCC. For these, the Department intends to begin negotiations and reach a Contribution Agreement. The proposed services cover various components of the Settlement program offered in French by Francophone service providers, including: indirect coordination of Francophone organizations and settlement services; needs assessments and referrals; information and orientation; language training; employment related services and community connections.
To better connect French-speaking immigrants with Francophone service providers, the Department is analyzing how obligations related to the official languages clauses within contribution agreements could be strengthened.