January 11, 2016

The Honourable Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen’s Park
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1A1

Dear Premier:

I am writing to report on the progress made to date on the priorities identified in my mandate letter as the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. I am pleased to report that meaningful progress is being made.

Commemorating the 400 Years of the French Presence in Ontario

As you know, 2015 marked 400 years of French presence in Ontario. I am proud of our government’s initiatives over the last year to commemorate this important occasion for French speakers in our province, including:

  • Funding 62 cultural and tourism community projects across the province, such as the Franco-Fête de Toronto, a showcase of Francophone culture and music during the Pan American Games; Haïti en fête, a showcase and celebration of the Caribbean community in Ottawa; and the Rendez-Vous Champlain festival, a tribute to Champlain’s arrival on the shores of Penetanguishene in 1615.
  • Investing $1.4 million in the new Penetanguishene Park. I was pleased that you were able to attend the official inauguration of the project in August 2015 during the annual Rendez-Vous Champlain festival.
  • Hosting the 20th Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie in Toronto from June 16 to 18, 2015.
  • Broadcasting the television series Le Rêve de Champlain by Groupe Média TFO.
  • Creating a silver coin celebrating the 400th anniversary of Champlain’s historic journey to Huronia, which was unveiled by the Royal Canadian Mint on June 11, 2015, during the opening ceremony of the 2015 Festival Franco-Ontarien in Ottawa.
  • Launching special programming to commemorate Samuel de Champlain’s voyage at the Royal Ontario Museum and a special edition of the Franco-Fête de Toronto during the Pan American Games.
  • Unveiling an official provincial plaque from Ontario to France marking Champlain’s departure from the Port of Honfleur to Ontario on October 12, 2015.
  • Holding a special edition of the Ontario Francophonie Awards during the 400th Commemoration closing ceremony.
  • Hosting a cultural soirée dedicated to the 400th Commemoration on October 30, 2015, in Québec City, during the inaugural event of the Réseau des villes francophones et francophiles d’Amérique.

Strengthening French-Language Services

In order to ensure that the needs and best interests of the Franco-Ontarian community are taken into account in public policies and programs, we have:

  • Continued to develop a tool that will help ensure the province plans to provide French-language services.
  • Made progress on the design of learning modules for provincial government officials, including those working in agencies, to ensure that they provide “active offer” — offering services in both French and English, where available.
  • Fully designated the City of Markham under the French Language Services Act. As of July 1, 2018, Ontario government offices located in Markham will offer
    French-language services in accordance with the act.
  • Partially designated the University of Ottawa under the French Language Services Act. As of January 1, 2016, the university is legally required to offer a number of undergraduate programs, graduate programs and academic services in French.
  • Worked with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and Cabinet Office on further opportunities for students in Central and Southwestern Ontario to access French-language postsecondary programs.

Collaborating on Shared Responsibilities across Government

I am also pleased to report that we have made progress on shared responsibilities across government, including:

  • Launching an Ontario group of experts on Francophone immigration to promote the achievement of Ontario’s five per cent immigration target with the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade.
  • Initiating a pilot project aimed at facilitating access to French-language services at the Ottawa Courthouse.
  • Continuing to work with other ministries and third parties on the implementation of Ontario Regulation 284/11 across the government.
  • Integrating French-language services and the representation of Francophone culture during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Based on stakeholder feedback, our efforts were successful.
  • Continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to strengthen access to French-language health services and with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in the development of its Moving on Mental Health plan.

The rich and exciting commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the French presence in Ontario, alongside these important achievements, is the result of your visible, energetic leadership in support of the French-speaking community of Ontario. I thank you for your guidance and pledge to continue making substantial progress on behalf of the 612,000 French speakers in Ontario.


Madeleine Meilleur signature

Madeleine Meilleur

Results achieved

Mandate Letter CommitmentProgress to Date
Leading the planning and execution of the commemoration of 400 years of French presence in Ontario in 2015. This includes a series of community-based events to foster short- and long-term economic benefits in many of the province’s communities. Legacy projects of the Commemoration will include a book to remember the 400th anniversary year; OFA will release a report and findings on next steps in spring 2016.
  • 2015: TFO's Le Rêve de Champlain, Rotary Champlain Wendat Park in Penetanguishene, Royal Canadian Mint commemorative coin, Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie, Franco-Fête’s 400th theme at Pan Am Games, Ontario Francophonie Awards, plaques in Sainte-Marie among the Hurons and in Honfleur, France, and the Québec City event.
Continuing to oversee the application of the French Language Services Act (FLSA) — and collaborating with ministries and agencies to ensure that the needs and best interests of the Franco-Ontarian community are taken into account in public policies and programs.
  • Launch of “Francophone lens” tool to ensure French Language Services (FLS) are considered from early stages of policy and program development.
  • Worked with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) on the implementation of the Moving on Mental Health initiative to ensure the needs of the community are taken into account.
  • With MOHLTC: helping Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) plan and establish performance measures for FLS.
Considering means of strengthening the practice of the “active offer” of services in French within the ministries and agencies.
  • Collaboration with the Economy and Central Agencies' FLS Cluster to develop three learning modules that reinforce the practice of "active offer."
  • These are intended for staff working in the development of programs/policies, front-line employees and third parties.
Continuing to collaborate with communities across the province to increase the number of designated areas under the FLSA.
  • The designation of the City of Markham has been approved by Cabinet, announced, and will come into force on July 1, 2018.
  • The designation of the City of Oshawa is under active review by the Office of Francophone Affairs (OFA).
Exploring options to increase access to French-language postsecondary programs in Ontario, including the implementation of the Action Plan for Central and Southwestern Ontario. You will work with the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities toward that end. Your goal is to make Ontario a place where citizens who want to learn, live — and thrive — in French have the opportunity to do so.
  • The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) entered into agreements with six institutions to expand access to French-language postsecondary education in Central and Southwestern Ontario.
  • The partial designation of the University of Ottawa was approved by Cabinet on September 14, 2015, making it the fourth postsecondary institution to be designated under the act since July 2013, and the fifth overall.
Collaborating with the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade to achieve the Francophone immigration target of five per cent. You will also provide advice and recommendations on how to better integrate Francophone immigrants, economically and culturally, into our communities.
  • The Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) has established a group of experts to recommend how to achieve the five per cent target and provide advice on the integration of Francophone immigrants. The OFA is an observer of this group.
Continuing to work to ensure ongoing improvement in the availability of French-language services within the justice system, including court services.
  • Collaboration with the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) in a pilot project to facilitate access to FLS at the Ottawa courthouse. MAG launched the pilot on May 29, 2015. This pilot will guide how we approach FLS in the justice system across the province.
  • Chairing a Legal Community Engagement Committee as part of the pilot: a consultation meeting with the Franco-Ontarian community took place on April 14, 2015, in Ottawa.
Continuing to work with ministers and third parties toward the implementation of Regulation 284/11, governing the delivery of French-language services by third parties.
  • Continuing to work with the ministries and third parties and reporting annually on the regulation to the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Collaborating with the Pan/Parapan Am Games Secretariat to ensure that French plays a prominent role in all aspects of the games.
  • Based on stakeholder feedback and media coverage, the integration of FLS and the representation of Francophone culture during the Games were a success.
Continuing to work with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care to further objectives for enhanced access to health-related services in French.
  • Continuing to work closely with MOHLTC to strengthen access to French-language health services, including through the dissemination of best practices from successful initiatives in Eastern and Northeastern Ontario.