Sudbury

Nickel Belt MPP pushes for French university

The New Democrat MPP for Nickel Belt is taking the first step towards creating a Franco-Ontarian university.
France Gélinas (centre), the MPP for Nickel Belt, has introduced a bill to create a Franco-Ontarian University. (Supplied)

The New Democrat MPP for Nickel Belt is taking the first step towards creating a Franco-Ontarian university.

France Gélinas has introduced a bill to create the Université de l'Ontario français.

She said there is currently limited access to university programs in French. She said the Franco-Ontarian community presently governs a network of 450 primary and secondary schools, 12 school boards and two community colleges, but French-speaking Ontarians have limited access to university programs in French.

"We are turning a page of history today," she said. "A bill has been tabled. It will be in the archives of this province forever, and this is the beginning of a new chapter."

Gélinas said the university would likely have multiple campuses, so it could be accessible across the province.

She acknowledged there is a French language university in northeastern Ontario, Université de Hearst, but said a Franco-Ontarian university would be mandated to offer a full range of university degrees and programs in French.

"The Université de Hearst does not have the mandate to do this," she said. "Their board of governors … that created them … for a purpose, and the purpose is not to be a university for the entire province."

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