Delivered on March 1, 2018
Mr. Speaker, the francophone community is a vibrant part of the multicultural mosaic of the Northwest Territories. As we move into the 20th Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, from March 1st to 21st, we have some milestones to mark and events to celebrate.
According to the 2016 Census, there were 4,280 French speaking residents across the Northwest Territories, nearly 10 per cent of the total population. While the majority of francophone residents live in Yellowknife, there are also large numbers in Hay River,
Fort Smith and Inuvik.
This is why, Mr. Speaker, when the Strategic Plan on French Language Communications and Services launched in 2012, the focus was on the significant demand in communities of Yellowknife, Hay River, Fort Smith and Inuvik.
The Strategic Plan was developed in partnership with the Fédération franco-ténoise to improve the Government of the Northwest Territories’ delivery of French language communications and services. The plan relies on the Francophone Affairs Secretariat, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, and Services TNO, our French-language single-window service centre, to help departments, boards and agencies ensure that programs and services are delivered appropriately and meet Official Languages Act obligations.
The Strategic Plan is currently being independently evaluated to determine if the requirements of the Standards for French Communications and Services are being met at targeted points of service, for example, general medical assistance, and tax and legal assistance. The overall success and value of the Strategic Plan will also be evaluated.
Extensive engagements were held with stakeholders from across the Northwest Territories, both within government and with community and representative groups. The evaluation results will be made public in the coming months. The results will inform the development of the next five year Strategic Plan on French Language Communications and Services, for the years 2018 to 2023.
Mr. Speaker, 2018 marks 10 years since the Government of the Northwest Territories established Services TNO. Services TNO provides information and a variety of government services to members of the public. Since 2008, this agency has received thousands of requests from French speaking residents looking to receive quick and efficient services. We will be celebrating its 10 year anniversary through the month of March.
In addition, Mr. Speaker, the construction of the addition to Ecole Allain St-Cyr remains on schedule with full completion by the end of November 2018. The Department of Education, Culture and Employment has worked collaboratively with the Commission scolaire francophone, the Territory’s francophone school board, to ensure that the needs of this school’s francophone students are being met. Once completed, the addition will feature one multi-purpose classroom, one instructional classroom, special needs spaces and a full sized gymnasium with change rooms and a stage for school plays.
Mr. Speaker, over the next three weeks, there will be more than 3,000 activities taking place across Canada as part of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, including community gatherings, multicultural meetings, ceremonies, shows, and educational activities, a whole series of events celebrating French culture. We, in the Northwest Territories, will also be celebrating with our rich and thriving francophone community that only continues to grow.
Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.