R.J. Simpson: 25th Rendez-vous de la Francophonie

Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Yellowknife — March 1, 2023

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Monsieur le President, as we enter the month of March, we recognize Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. As the Minister Responsible for the Official Languages Act, it is encouraging to see such awareness, involvement, and celebration of all of the Northwest Territories’ 11 official languages.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, a celebration by Canada’s ten million French-speakers, and all Canadians in recognition of French language and culture. This year, the theme is Celebrations, with a focus across the country on joy, festivities, gatherings, and fun.

Monsieur le President, in the Northwest Territories, we have much to celebrate.

Last September, this government launched a Francophone Stream of the Northwest Territories Nominee Program, to attract foreign nationals to the NWT whose skills are aligned with workforce needs. This action of the 2017-2022 Immigration Strategy recognizes the contributions of French-speaking immigrants to the strength and prosperity of our country, and to the rich cultural and linguistic diversity of the Northwest Territories.

Monsieur le President, celebrating and building our Francophone community also means developing government services, resources, and communications to serve them in French.

The GNWT continues to make progress in this area. In 2021-2022, the GNWT translated a record-high 3.27 million words into French. We also saw a record number of GNWT staff receive the bilingual bonus for French, at 188 individuals. According to the 2022 Francophone Community Satisfaction Survey, 77 per cent of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of the service they received from the GNWT in French.

Monsieur le President, this is great progress, but we always strive to do better. This is why a third-party review of the Strategic Plan on French Language Communications and Services occurs every five years.

In September 2022, the public was invited to provide input on the Strategic Plan, and I thank all those who took the time to contribute. The third-party report and government response will be published in the coming months, before informing the development of the next Strategic Plan.

Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, I would like to recognize the Northwest Territories’ vibrant Franco-ténoise community: the people, businesses, and organizations who continue to be significant contributors to this territory’s social, economic, and cultural development.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.