French is 'becoming cool': Sask. and Que. strive to strengthen Fransaskois community
Up to $220K will be committed by both provinces to fund projects by community organizations
Saskatchewan and Quebec are committing extra money to strengthen the Fransaskois community and make the province more attractive to French immersion teaching recruits.
The governments announced a co-operation agreement Friday to share programs and services to foster a strong Francophone community in Saskatchewan.
It's not the first of its kind, but it does include a bigger financial commitment cap than in the past.
Each province says they'll aim to put forward up to $110,000 by 2022 to fund projects pitched by community organizations.
Part of the reasoning behind the plan is that Saskatchewan Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre said the French language across the country is "becoming cool."
"Parents are seeing the value of French education and more and more and more children are learning French," she said.
According to Statistics Canada, Saskatchewan is seeing the greatest increase in children signed up for French immersion education.
Despite the interest, Eyre said the province is one of many having difficulty attracting and retaining teachers.
She said this project aims to reduce some of those recruitment obstacles by collaborating.
"It may be working with some of the obstacles that young French teachers may face when they come from a Francophone province such as Quebec or New Brunswick, to get them into the classroom faster," Eyre said, referencing certain required coursework that may need to change.
'We are together'
Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec's minister responsible for Canadian relations and the Canadian Francophonie, said the agreement is about more than just education.
Fournier said his government has similar partnerships with seven other provinces and one territory, and will sign with the rest in coming months.
He said these agreements were one of Quebec's objectives for Canada's 150th anniversary as a country.
"It's a moment to look at the past but also to prepare the future," he said.
"We are together. Let's develop more projects, let's develop more ties. This is the future of Canada that we are starting here today."