Doug Ford is failing Franco-Ontarians yet again with omnibus legislation that poses serious risks to the integrity of French language education, said Official Opposition Education Critic, Marit Stiles, and Official Opposition Critic for Francophone Affairs, Guy Bourgouin.
Schedule 15 of Bill 197 will expand the mandate of the Ontario French-language Educational Communications Authority and further centralize the establishment, administration and coordination of French language distance and online learning programs. Currently, Ontario’s 12 Francophone school boards coordinate efforts in their own distance learning programs through the Consortium d’apprentissage virtuel de langue française de l’Ontario and participate in the Centre franco-ontarien de ressources pédagogiques to develop French language educational resources.
“Francophone school boards have long taken the lead on developing high-quality educational resources for French language learning that happens online and at a distance, so it’s worrying to see Doug Ford plowing ahead with plans that will diminish their autonomy and their voice,” said Stiles. “At the very least, Ford should be consulting with Francophone school boards instead of ramming through omnibus legislation.”
Bourgouin added that the move by the Ford government will set a dangerous precedent.
“The Ford government should not be bypassing the elected officials at Francophone school boards and imposing its own French language lesson plans,” said Bourgouin. “This flies in the face of the Charter right Ontario’s French linguistic minority has to education.
“It’s shameful for Doug Ford to keep showing such disrespect for the Franco-Ontario community. He never should have dismantled the independent French Language Services Commissioner, and he should not be sidelining Francophone school boards now.”
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