Cabinet Shuffle Blurs Roles and Could Delay Implementation of Action Plan for Official Languages

Montreal – July 18, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network congratulates Minister Mélanie Joly, who moves to Tourism, maintains the Official Languages file, and was assigned responsibility for La Francophonie. We also commend Pablo Rodriguez, the new Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism. However, the QCGN is concerned that the cabinet shuffle blurs roles and may create confusion about who is responsible and accountable for Official Languages.

“The Government of Canada has just made a major commitment to Official Languages through its Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future, so we are rightfully concerned about ensuring clear lines of accountability related to the coordination of its implementation,” said QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers. He noted that official language organizations are worried the shuffle will impede the rollout of additional resources allocated for Official Languages through Canadian Heritage.

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QCGN Set to Champion English-speaking Quebecers

Montreal – June 16, 2018 – Galvanized following an upbeat two-day meeting, members of the Quebec Community Groups Network emerged energized and ready to defend Quebec’s English-speaking community on both the federal and provincial fronts.

On the federal front, the hot topic was the new Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023: Investing in Our Future – Ottawa’s multi-million-dollar investment strategy to support official language minority communities, including English-speaking Quebec. The plan will provide an additional $57.37 million over five years to Canadian Heritage to boost core funding for official language minority organizations as well as a new dedicated fund of $5.3 million over five years for Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

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QCGN Applauds Priorities in Commissioner’s Annual Report

Montreal – June 12, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) applauds the priorities set forth in the Annual Report of Canada’s new Commissioner of Official Languages, Raymond Théberge.

In his report released this morning, the Commissioner said he plans to keep a close watch on how the government coordinates and implements initiatives described in its Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023: Investing in Our Future and work to ensure that official languages and linguistic duality continue to be a fundamentally Canadian value and a national priority.

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Future of English-speaking Quebecers is core element for Modernization of Official Languages Act

Ottawa –May 28, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) spoke up today as part of the Modernization of the Official Languages Act.

“The Act is a lifeline for English-speaking Quebec,” QCGN President Jim Shea told a hearing of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages. “The Act is the only language rights legislation that protects the interests of English-speaking Quebecers as a community. It sets out quasi-constitutional rights for English-speaking Quebecers, including the right to access federal services in English, the representation of English-speakers in the federal public service, and those workers’ right to work in English.

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Call for Nominations: Exceptional Candidates Sought for Provincial Access Committee

Across the province members of the English-speaking community are being invited to come forward to work for our community’s interests and help solidify our future.

In what sets a remarkable precedent, the QCGN and the CHSSN have been mandated by a newly revised Quebec Government regulation to establish a joint Selection committee.  This committee will call for and recommend candidates from our community for appointment, by the Minister of Health and Social Services, to the new Provincial committee on the dispensing of health and social services in the English language, better known as the Provincial Access Committee.   The Provincial Access Committee’s mandate is to help approve, oversee and evaluate how our health and social services are delivered in English. Note that the Access committee’s mandate includes the assessment of regional access programs.

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QCGN/Community pleased with funding from Secretariat

Montreal – April 23, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased that the new Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers is investing $950,000 in projects to support the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

Kathleen Weil, the Minister responsible for Access to Information and the Reform of Democratic Institutions and Minister responsible for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, announced the funding on Monday. The money will flow through Concordia and the Quebec English-speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN), a collaborative network of researchers, stakeholders, educational and other institutions housed at Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs.

Some $350,000 will remain at QUESCREN to support research related to English-speaking communities and support outreach activities. These include the biennial forum of QUESCREN’s Inter-Level Educational Table titled “Minority Community Vitality through Education”, scheduled for the fall. A feasibility study that explores the possibility of establishing a Centre for Excellence in Social Economy will also be conducted in collaboration with Concordia’s partners.

The remaining $600,000 will be distributed to community partners including the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), which will receive $230,000 to develop and maintain expertise in public policy analysis and research in areas of provincial jurisdiction.

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Long Awaited Regulation Creating Provincial Access Committee a First Step in the Right Direction

Montreal – April 9, 2018 – In 1986 the right of English-speaking Quebecers to receive Health and Social Services was recognized in law by the government of Quebec. This right has been consistently respected by all governments of Quebec since that time.

In 2015, Bill 10 was enacted. It radically restructured the health and social services system. This necessitated revisiting mechanisms for ensuring access to health and social services in this new institutional environment. That included the regulation governing the Provincial Advisory Committee on the dispensing of health and social services in the English language.

Over the past three years, the Quebec Community Groups Network, in partnership with the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN), worked with Health Minister Gaétan Barrette and the government of Quebec to revise and update the regulation governing the advisory committee which is mandated it to advise the Minister of Health on the accessibility and quality of health and social services for English-speaking Quebecers.

“The QCGN today welcomes and expresses our support for the amended regulation adopted by Cabinet,” said Eric Maldoff, who heads the QCGN’s Health and Social Services Committee. The revamped regulation ensures that new members of the provincial access committee will be more representative of Quebec’s English-speaking community, said Maldoff. It also confers responsibility on the QCGN and the CHSSN for recruiting and proposing committee members to the Minister of Health.

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QCGN Welcomes New Federal Investments in English-speaking Quebec

Ottawa – March 28, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is looking forward to greater support from the federal government following the release of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in our Future.

The plan, which includes $500 million in new spending for Official Language Minority Communities, was unveiled in Ottawa Wednesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly. These measures bring the total investment to $2.7 billion – the largest-ever commitment to official languages.

“Over the past several years, English-speaking Quebec has invested a great deal of time communicating its needs to the federal government,” said QCGN President James Shea. “With the release of the Government of Canada’s Action Plan, it is clear we have been listened to.”

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QCGN Welcomes New Budget Measures for English-speaking Quebecers

Montreal – March 27, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased that the government is investing many millions toward supporting the vitality of Quebec’s English-speaking minority community.

QCGN had high expectations for today’s budget, following a first-ever pre-budget consultation with Quebec’s English-speaking community and a comment from Finance Minister Carlos Leitão following that meeting that his budget “would address some specific needs of a very important component of our society.”

Organizations representing Quebec’s English-speaking minority told Leitão that more money should go to the newly created Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers, so it can be more muscular and effective in ensuring that services to which we are entitled are delivered and that our rights are respected.

And he delivered.

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QCGN Welcomes Promises of New Investments in Official Language Programming

Montreal – February 27, 2018 – The Quebec Community Groups Network welcomes today’s federal budget that will add $400 million in new funding over five years to support official language programs critical to the vitality of English-speaking Quebec.

“English-speaking Quebecers have reason to be optimistic about the hints dropped in this budget concerning the upcoming federal Action Plan for Official Languages,” said QCGN President James Shea, adding there is good news for our community’s arts, culture, and heritage sectors and our minority language newspapers.

“We now await details of the Action Plan for Official Languages to find out how the governments of Canada and Quebec can work together to fulfill these promises.”

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