Quebec is my home: Inclusion and Rights for English-speaking Quebecers

Friday June 14 and Saturday June 15  8:00AM

Concordia University John Molson School of Business

9th floor

1450 Guy Street,  Montreal

DAY ONE – JUNE 14, 2019

8:00 AM: Registration and networking breakfast
9:00 AM: Welcome and opening remarks

Opening remarks: QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers

Opening Keynote: Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge

9:30 AM Panel: Right to Community Governed Education System

Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out the right of official minority language groups to control and manage our educational institutions. The importance of a community governed education system for linguistic minority communities in the current climate is crucial. In Quebec, the English-speaking community exercises this control and management through democratically elected school boards. Additionally, we have recently seen the repeated removal of English schools from our communities. This precedent is of great concern generally and has a potential specific impact on English-speaking communities in rural or remote areas where populations are smaller and more disparate and English schools act as community hubs and are critical instruments in community cohesion and vitality.

Moderator: Russell Copeman

Panelists: Kevin Shaar, Geoffrey Kelley, Marlene Jennings

11:00 AM: Panel: Promoting Pluralism: The Bill 21 Challenge

The Coalition Avenir Quebec Government had presented a bill to ban the wearing of religious symbols by public sector employees.

This proposed legislation will directly affect people from certain faith-based communities, many of whom also identify English-speaking Quebecers, a majority of whom oppose it. The government is prepared to invoke the notwithstanding clause to pass this bill, effectively acknowledging the challenge it poses to the individual constitutional rights and freedoms that protect Canadian and Quebec citizens. This bill has severe implications for access to employment by members of certain religious minorities. It has implications for Quebec society as a whole as well, as its approach to diversity and minorities in the name of “laicité” is likely to have consequences. What are they? What should our community do about it?

Moderator Reverend Diane Rollert

Panelists: Julius Grey, Chris Neal, Bouchera Chelbi

12:10 PM: Special Presentation

Jennifer Cuffley, Regional Director, Public Service Commission of Canada

English-speaking Quebecers in the Federal Public Service

12:30 PM: Lunch

Guest speaker: Anthony Housefather MP


1:00-4:30 PM WORKSHOP


A second date with community sectors serving Quebec’s English-speaking communities and federal government departments and agencies

Appointments between project submissions and federal government department representatives

Facilitator: Sarah Manolson



How to write a winning grant proposal? How to align with community priorities? Tools and resources for best practice, needs assessments.

Facilitator: Paul Holley


How to engage new community leaders on your board, how to manage succession of volunteers, how to support community governance.

Facilitator: Dora Koop


How to make our organizations more representative of the populations we serve? strategies to and support the active involvement of marginalized groups

Facilitator: Dan David


3:30PM Community Innovation Fund

Celebrating success and demonstrating impact

4:30PM: Plenary – A second date with community Sectors serving Quebec’s English-speaking Communities and Federal Government Departments and Agencies
5:15PM: Wine and Cheese

A tribute to Sheila Goldbloom

DAY TWO – JUNE 15, 2019

8:00 AM: Networking breakfast
9:00 AM: Panel: English-speaking Quebec: Working with our Official Language Minority Neighbours

English-speaking Quebec experiences the challenges of living as a linguistic minority.  And our community understands that it is intimately connected with French-speaking Canadians living as minorities; we are linked through the linguistic rights that protect our community’s vitality.  That is why the Quebec Community Groups Network stands in solidarity with Franco-Ontarians in opposing cuts to French languages services in Ontario and supports the continuing struggle of Acadians in New Brunswick to receive Constitutionally guaranteed government services in French.   This year has been especially challenging for Canadians living in official language minority communities, and it is especially important that official languages be front and centre in the upcoming federal election. The QCGN, l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, and the Societe de L’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (SANB) represent nearly 1.9 million Canadians living in official language minority communities.  These organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together during the upcoming election and pledged to come to each other’s aid when language rights are threatened.

Panelists: Geoffrey Chambers, Carol Jolin, Robert Melanson

9:15 AM: Panel: English-speaking Quebec and the Official Languages Act

The fundamental piece of legislation that enshrines Canada’s linguistic duality; the Official Languages Act sets the bedrock of the work of our organizational network. This year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Act. Acknowledging this milestone, government and community has been collaborating in the Act’s modernization. Within this context, this panel will explore what the Modernization provides, what the Official Languages Act means to English-speaking Quebec, how it functions for the Francophone Community of Ontario and also explore ways that QCGN is collaborating with our fellow organizations across Canada to work together to further promote our collective voices in promoting linguistic duality in Canada.

Panelists: Senator René Cormier, Joan Fraser

10:30 AM: Panel- Right to Access Health and Social Services

Bill 10 was a catalyst for the community because it radically restructured the health system and removed, to a large extent, community voice in the control and management of our health care institutions. Since then, the Minister of Health and Social Services has named a new Provincial Committee on English-language services and new regional access committees are being established throughout the province. The right to access to health and social services is a key issue for English-speaking communities. It has been identified as a community priority through consultation and it goes to the heart of individual and community health and well-being. With the imminent revision of access programs to English-language services and the participation of local communities in this process, lessons from the Provincial Committee’s work are essential. When English-speaking communities are better off, everyone is better off.

Moderator: Michael Udy

Panelists: Eric Maldoff, Terry Kaufman


1:00 PM: AGM registrations
1:30 pm: Annual General Meeting