VICTORIA, BC, July 4, 2023 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of helping official language minority communities create and maintain strong institutions.
Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, was in Victoria to highlight more than $1 million in funding for la Société francophone de Victoria to acquire and renovate la Maison de la francophonie de Victoria. This project marks a crucial step in strengthening the Francophone presence in this dynamic community.
La Société francophone de Victoria is now able to move forward with its ambitious project to create a facility dedicated to promoting French language and culture. La Maison de la francophonie will serve as a hub for French activities, providing a place for all Francophones and Francophiles in the region to meet and connect. More specifically, the Government of Canada’s investment is being used to acquire the building as well as renovate the facility, community hall and offices to make them suitable for the needs of the community, along with upgrading the building’s fire alarm, ventilation and of heating systems.
This project will contribute directly to the vitality of Greater Victoria’s Francophone community by giving it a gathering space that will ensure the community’s sustainability. It will also encourage collaboration between la Société francophone de Victoria and partner organizations in the region, which will be able to rent space and offer activities and services to Greater Victoria’s Francophone community at a single location.
“We understand how essential it is for the vitality of our Francophone communities to have a place to gather and share. This investment by the Government of Canada will provide the Greater Victoria Francophone community with an iconic building in the heart of the city to meet its unique needs. The creation of la Maison de la Francophonie de Victoria will promote the French language and culture, while allowing members of the community to strengthen the ties that unite them.”
—The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
“I wasn’t even born yet when this project was percolating in the minds of Victoria’s Francophone community. A large number of us have been looking forward to this day, and here we are! La Maison de la francophonie de Victoria will allow all of us to come together and thrive under one roof, where mutual support will be strengthened. I can’t wait to open the doors of our home to experience the rich and stimulating moments in good company and move beyond simply residing in the provincial capital.”
—Frédérique D Bouchard, President, Société francophone de Victoria
Since its founding in 1941, la Société francophone de Victoria is a non-profit organization that promotes, represents and defends the French language and culture in Greater Victoria. It supports the French-speaking community through local partnerships and through services that meet its members’ needs.
Since 1991–1992, la Société has received funding from the Government of Canada through the Development of Official Language Communities Program and the Community Spaces Fund.
The Action Plan for Official Languages 2023–2028, unveiled on April 26, provides for the injection of an additional $47 million over five years to support the construction, renovation and development of educational and community spaces serving official language minority communities. This funding is in addition to the $14.8 million per year provided in the previous Action Plan and the $80 million announced in Budget 2021 for community education infrastructure in these communities. Some of these investments are part of the Community Spaces Fund.
The Community Spaces Fund provides non-profit organizations in minority language communities with the space they need to offer social and cultural activities and services in their language. These gathering places encourage dialogue and support development at the individual and community level. Creating these spaces strengthens the capacity of these organizations and supports community revitalization.
On June 20, 2023, Bill C-13, the Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages, received Royal Assent. Among other things, the Act aims to address the decline of French in Canada as well as clarify and strengthen the promotion of official languages, while supporting official language minority communities.
SOURCE Canadian Heritage