French Language Study Program: Immigration and Education Officials Need to Find Solution, Not Cast Aspersions on Students and English School Boards

Montreal, April 18, 2017 – It’s unacceptable that the future of hundreds of immigration candidates is in limbo despite graduating from French courses that were approved by Quebec’s Ministry of Education. It is up to the provincial Ministries of Immigration and Education to find a remedy rather than sacrificing the future of would-be Quebecers and tarring the reputation of Quebec’s English school boards.

The Programme de l’expérience québécoise (PEQ), a vocational and French-language study program, provides foreign students with a Quebec selection certificate – the first step towards becoming a permanent resident. But 18 months after passing their classes, many of them are being called in for interviews by Quebec’s Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness (MIDI) to evaluate their French. Hundreds of those who graduated from the Lester B. Pearson School Board and the English Montreal School Board have had their immigration applications rejected.

Read more

QCGN Hopeful About Opportunities for Official Language Minority Communities in Federal Budget

Montreal, March 23, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is cautiously optimistic about opportunities for Quebec’s English-speaking Community contained in this week’s federal budget.

“The budget’s emphasis on skills development, innovation, and job growth are a good fit to our community’s strategic development goals of economic prosperity,” commented QCGN President James Shea. “We know that achieving economic prosperity – a key component of our collective vitality – depends on greater access to employment and educational opportunities for youth and adults alike, especially through skills training, and encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.

Read more

Community Innovation Fund announces shortlisted projects

Montreal, March 21, 2017 – The independent selection committee for the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) met last week and has come up with a shortlist of organizations that will be invited to submit a full application. The selection committee, chaired by Grace Hogg, Grants Coordinator of the George Hogg Family Foundation, has shortlisted 11 projects that improve employability or basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors/caregivers, and/or newcomers. Some tackle more than one of these vulnerable populations that are targeted by the fund which was set up to finance social initiatives for community organizations providing direct support to English-speaking Quebecers.

The projects, from six regions of Quebec, include eight that address the needs of English-speaking youth, including youth with special needs; two that address the needs of seniors; and two that address the needs of newcomers. Financed by the Government of Canada through the Social Partnership Initiative in Official Language Minority Communities, and managed by the QCGN, the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) is a new resource to put social innovation in action. Between April 2017 and March 2019, the fund will invest more than $1 million in social initiatives while building partnerships to increase funds that will be injected into the community.

Read more

View the list on the Community Innovation Fund webpage

For more information on the Community Innovation Fund, please contact 514-868-9044, ext. 230 or go to cif@qcgn.ca.

QCGN to Host Conference on Community Engagement and the Integration of Newcomers

Montreal, March 13, 2017 – On March 15, 2017, the Quebec Community Groups Network will be hosting a one-day conference entitled Community Engagement and the Successful Integration of Newcomers. The one-day event on the eve of the National Metropolis Conference will bring together dozens of representatives from various sectors and regions to discuss how newcomers – immigrants, refugees and migrants – integrate into Quebec society through the province’s English-speaking communities and institutions.

Sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the one-day conference kicks with a workshop/panel entitled Faith-based Organizations as Integrating Factors for Newcomers that will discuss how churches, synagogues, and faith-based groups are integrating newcomers into our communities. This panel was organized in cooperation with the English-speaking Catholic Council.

Read more

View the conference’s website for details and registration

Bilingual Young Quebecers Leading the Way to Canada’s Future

Montreal, March 10, 2017 – This year marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation. What does that mean to Quebec’s youth? What are the hot issues for youth with regards to Canadian identity, social issues, the environment, the economy, Canada’s role in the world? How do they see the future of this country and their role in it?

Interesting discussions and lively debates on these themes are anticipated as dozens of youth aged 15 to 25 descend upon the National Capital Region this weekend for the third and final Young Quebecers Leading the Way forum from March 10 to 12.

Read more

Quebec must drop plans to abandon the riding of Westmount-Saint-Louis

Montreal, February 10, 2016 –  The QCGN is disappointed that the Commission de la représentation électorale du Québec (CRE) apparently failed to follow the criteria related to the delimitation of electoral divisions by eliminating the Westmount-Saint Louis electoral division.

“The proposed electoral divisions of Ville Marie and Westmount-Notre-Dame-De-Grace will not provide effective representation for the natural community of Westmount, whose unquestionable cultural and historical heritage goes back generations,” commented Geoffrey Chambers, Vice-president of the QCGN.

Read more

View the proposed electoral division

QCGN Welcomes Resurrection of Independent Court Challenges Program

Montreal, February 7, 2017 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is pleased with the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program of Canada and delighted that the Government of Canada is establishing an independent program in which funding for linguistic rights cases will be protected.

“The defense and advancement of Constitutional equality and linguistic rights benefits all Canadians, and this program will provide the financial assistance necessary for ordinary people to fight for these rights,” said QCGN President James Shea, who was on hand today in Ottawa for the joint announcement by Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.

Read more

QCGN Demands Apology From Prime Minister Trudeau

Montreal, January 18, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is shocked and appalled that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau steadfastly refused to speak English during a stop in Quebec’s Eastern Townships yesterday and is demanding an immediate apology and a meeting.

During a town hall meeting in Sherbrooke, Que., Trudeau did not utter a single word of English, even when questions were addressed to him in the language of Shakespeare. Responding to one woman who asked what the federal government intended to do to address the lack of mental health services for English-speaking Townshippers, he replied in French: “Thank you for your use of both official language, but we’re in a French province so I will answer in French.”

Read more

English-speaking Quebec Must Have a Stronger Voice in Conversation About Official Languages

Montreal, December 15, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is generally pleased with the House Standing Committee on Official Languages’ report Toward a New Action Plan for Official Languages and Building Momentum for Immigration in Francophone Minority Communities however it is concerned that our community was somewhat sidelined by the study and one of its major recommendations.

“We are particularly pleased to see the Committee’s recommendations related to transparency, accountability, and involvement of official language minority communities in the Government of Canada’s official languages’ strategy,” said QCGN President James Shea. “The federal government must partner with linguistic minority communities in a real way. After all, this strategy is for the support of community vitality, and must therefore be developed and implemented by the community sector providing direct services to individuals. We want a seat at the table.”

Read more

Bishop’s University Will Hold Civic Leadership Institute for Quebec’s English-speaking Youth

Sherbrooke, December 12, 2016 – In August 2017 Bishop’ University will welcome young English-speaking Quebecers to its Lennoxville campus for a week-long Civic Leadership Institute. This initiative is being supported by the Quebec Government as part of its Stratégie d’action jeunesse 2016-2021.

The Institute, which is part of the action plan announced on Monday by Premier Philippe Couillard and Karine Vallières, Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier (Youth) and MNA for Richmond, is being led by Bishop’s Dean of Education, Marie-Josée Berger with the support of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN).

Read the full press release from Bishop’s University

QCGN Advocates for More Flexible Regulations for Provision of Federal Minority Language Services

Montreal, November 17, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network is pleased with today’s announcement by Treasury Board President Scott Brison and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly that the government will undertake a review of the regulations pertaining to the Official Languages Act which deal with communicating to the public.

“It is particularly appropriate that representatives from Canada’s official language minority communities have been invited to today’s announcement, demonstrating the intimate links that exist between all parts of the Official Languages Act, which aims to ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada, and support the development of our nation’s English and French linguistic minority communities,” commented QCGN President James Shea, who was on hand for the announcement.

Read more

Community Innovation Fund Seeking Proposals to Better Serve Vulnerable Youth, Seniors/Caregivers or Newcomers

Montreal, November 11, 2016 –The Quebec Community Groups Network today invited non-profit organizations that serve English-speaking Quebecers to announce their intention to apply for the Community Innovation Fund (CIF) which will finance social initiatives to improve employability or secure basic socioeconomic security for vulnerable youth, seniors/caregivers or newcomers in Quebec’s English-language communities.

“The focus of this Fund is on supporting organizations to find innovative and sustainable ways to serve the needs of our communities,” said QCGN Board Member James Hughes who sits on the Governance Committee of the Community Innovation Fund. “CIF will empower communities to develop new financial models and to diversify partnerships while deepening existing ones.”

Read more

QCGN Discusses Concerns of English-speaking Community with Premier Couillard

Quebec City, November 8, 2016 – At a first-ever meeting with Premier Philippe Couillard at the National Assembly Tuesday afternoon representatives from the Quebec Community Groups Network had a frank and positive discussion about Quebec’s support to its English-speaking minority community.

Top of mind were reforms to education and health and social service networks that had major impacts on our institutions; the scarcity of English-speaking Quebecers in the provincial civil service; as well as the importance of retaining youth so they can bolster our communities, support our elders and make positive contributions to the future of Quebec.

Crédit photo: Claude Hurens

Read more

Educational Institutions Must Tie Their Activities to the Vitality of the Communities They Serve

Montreal, September 21, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) recognizes that schools are a cornerstone of the vitality of English-speaking communities and believes that Education Act should enhance the responsibility of our educational institutions to serve their communities.

In a brief submitted to the Committee on Culture and Education this week, the QCGN argues that school boards, schools, as well as adult and vocational centres must support the development and vitality of their respective communities. QCGN, which represents 48 groups across Quebec, insists that this responsibility should be clearly defined within the Education Act rather than being discretionary on the part of educational institutions.

Read more
Read our Brief on Bill 105

Awards Recognize Exceptional Community Leaders

Montreal, September 9, 2016 – The Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is pleased to announce that Montreal jazz legend Oliver Jones, former social worker and community volunteer Miriam Green and Townshippers’ Association president Gerald Cutting will be honoured with the eighth annual Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award in October. Community advocate Dafina Savic will receive the second annual Young Quebecers Leading the Way Award.

A week before he passed away on Aug. 16, the Goldbloom Awards jury also decided to extend a special honour to federal MP Mauril Bélanger for his lifelong commitment to linguistic duality and his groundbreaking work in empowering the Official Languages Act. Under Bélanger’s leadership, Canadian parliamentarians voted to amend Part VII of the act to oblige federal institutions to take “positive measures” to translate the government’s commitment to promoting linguistic duality and community development into action.

Read more
Read the Montreal Gazette article