No New Federal Funding for Official Languages in Education


Toronto, July 14, 2008 – Through the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), the ministers responsible for education across the country are pleased that federal funding for the official languages in education will continue but have expressed disappointment that the Government of Canada will not increase its funding under its new Roadmap for Linguistic Duality in Canada, announced by the Minister of Canadian Heritage on June 19, 2008.

“We were happy to receive an assurance that the federal government will continue its commitment to the official languages, said Kelly Lamrock, New Brunswick Minister of Education and Chair of CMEC.  “However, given inflation and the enrolment growth in many provinces and territories, maintaining the status quo basically means a considerable reduction in funding.” 
Federal contributions to the provinces and territories for official languages in education are provided under bilateral agreements with each jurisdiction.  The bilateral agreements are negotiated according to a protocol between Canadian Heritage and CMEC.  The federal government is contributing a minimum of $258.6 million this year to assist provinces and territories to meet the costs they incur in providing French-language education to francophone students outside Quebec, English-language education to anglophone students in Quebec, and instruction in French and English as second languages. 

All jurisdictions offer programs for official-language minority learners and second-language learners.  The provinces and territories are continually striving to improve the quality of those programs and to improve outcomes for learners. They are also endeavouring to increase access for learners who have a right to education in their mother tongue and those who wish to study their second official language.

Lamrock observed that current federal funding for official languages in education is lower than 1991-92 levels.  With inflation, over $400 million would be required annually from Canadian Heritage to deliver the same programs.

“Our partnership with the federal government over the past years has been very productive, but we feel it is essential that the Government of Canada enhance its support to assist us in our ongoing efforts,” added Lamrock.  “Our officials will be meeting soon with their federal counterparts to discuss how that partnership will continue under the new roadmap, and we look forward to those discussions.”

CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and territories.  Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern.

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Colin Bailey
Assistant Director, Administration and Communications    
(416) 962-8100, ext. 259
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