OTTAWA & TORONTO — The governments of Canada and Ontario have formally committed to working together toward the establishment of the Université de l’Ontario français through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, signed on behalf of the Government of Canada. The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Francophone Affairs, and the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, signed on behalf of the Government of Ontario.
“This is a major breakthrough for Franco-Ontarians and French-speaking Canadians across the country! It is the result of the hard work of generations of brave and dedicated Francophones and Francophiles who fought hard to get us to this moment. I want to thank the student movement and the proponents of this project, namely Dyane Adam and Carol Jolin. This achievement is the result of their work. I’m thrilled that, on the day of the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, we have come to an agreement that allows the federal government to assist provincial and territorial governments meet the needs of official-language minorities across the country. On this milestone, we have an extra reason to celebrate. Congratulations everyone!,” states Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie.
“We are pleased to announce Ontario has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the federal government to fund the university, this is a great first step. Our government recognizes the exceptional contribution of the Francophone community to the province’s social, cultural and economic development. We also recognize the importance of a university governed by—and for—Francophones in Ontario. We want to ensure French-speaking students can count on a high quality, modern, postsecondary education system that is aligned with labour market needs,” comments Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation and Francophone Affairs, and the Honourable Ross Romano, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
By signing this MOU, both governments are affirming their commitment to addressing the needs of the more than 600,000 Francophones in Ontario with respect to postsecondary education.
Highlights of the MOU include the following:
- An adequate due diligence process will be implemented in order to commit public funds and move forward in a trustworthy, accountable and transparent way with respect to the proposal submitted by the Governance Council of the Université de l’Ontario français.
- Funding negotiations will begin following the due diligence process, and a joint working group will be established to work together and agree on eligible expenditures, timelines and activities for the Université de l’Ontario français;
- Canada and Ontario will base their agreed-upon governmental contributions on established practices of intergovernmental cooperation in education, namely that Canada’s contribution will not exceed 50 per cent of the total cost incurred by Ontario.
- Because it is exceptional for Canada to cover 100 per cent of the expenditures for the first four years of a multi-year project, Canada will seek assurance from Ontario that it will reimburse Canada of its share should Ontario not be in a position to provide funding within the expected timeframe.