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Reaching out to Franco-Ontarians

We’re back with another episode of Info Matters, en Français!

Our most recent episode, recorded in French, is a celebration of the Francophone language and culture in the lead up to International Francophonie Day on March 20.

Ontario has the largest French-speaking minority community in Canada with more than 600,000 Ontarians identifying French as their first language and over 11 per cent of Ontarians who speak both English and French — an increase of more than 7 per cent in the last decade! They live particularly in the east, northeast, and centre of the province, with an increasing percentage now living and thriving in Toronto. Nearly one million children are learning French in publicly funded schools representing the next generation of Ontarians.

The roots of the Francophone community in Ontario run deep. They are a vibrant and dynamic people who stand proud of their heritage. The French Language Services Act recognizes French language as a "historic language of Ontario” and an official language of our education system, our courts, and legislature.

Despite this long history, Francophones may not always be aware of their right to access public services in French or their right to file a complaint when French language services from Ontario government institutions fall short. Similarly, they may not be as aware of their right to access information or their right when it comes to privacy protection.

In this episode of Info Matters, I sat down with Kelly Burke, Deputy Ombudsman and French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario to discuss the challenges and opportunities of reaching out to this distinct audience. Commissioner Burke shares a few of her outreach and networking tips with me and together, we explore potential future collaborations between our offices to engage with Franco Ontarians and increase awareness of their rights when it comes to language, access, and privacy. You can listen to the full episode here.

Connecting with Franco-Ontarians has been a priority for me since I became Commissioner last July and I remain committed to that objective. While I can’t travel across the province to meet Francophones within their own communities just yet, I hope this podcast episode serves as a warm welcome to Ontario’s vibrant Francophone community.

We’re always interesting in hearing your ideas for future episodes. If you have an access or privacy topic you’d like to learn more about on the Info Matters podcast, send us a tweet or email us at @email.



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