The Francophone Secretariat aims to:
- acknowledge and increase awareness of the long-standing and continuing contribution of Alberta's Francophonie to the social, cultural and economic development of Alberta
- support organizations, communities and individuals in the development of their capacity to participate in, and contribute to, government-sponsored initiatives promoting French language and cultures
- coordinate a cohesive approach to the ongoing development and improvement of government services in French
- support ministries in promoting existing Government of Alberta initiatives to provide services to the French-speaking Albertans
The Francophone Secretariat:
- serves as the liaison between the government and the Alberta Francophonie
- clarifies and represents the needs of the French-speaking Albertans within government, with various ministries and agencies
- coordinates and implements Alberta’s French Policy
- represents Alberta and Alberta’s Francophonie in organizations such as the Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie
- participates in the negotiation and implementation of federal-provincial agreements as it relates to government engagement with the Francophonie in Alberta and the provision of government services in French
On June 14, 2017, the Government of Alberta unveiled a French policy that guides government ministries in enhancing services in French and supports the vitality of the Francophonie in Alberta.
French is one of Canada’s two official languages and a vibrant component of its diversity. French is also the most widely spoken language in Alberta after English and its use is projected to continue to grow in the years to come. This will result in more requests for services in French in Alberta.
The provincial government has an opportunity to better serve a significant portion of Albertans, while also enhancing Alberta’s competitive advantage and strengthening the province’s relationship with the Francophonie across Canada and the world.
From October to November 2016, the Government of Alberta engaged with Albertans through:
- targeted and facilitated discussions with internal stakeholders, including all ministries and select agencies
- consultations with community stakeholders, including a bilingual online public survey
Participants were presented with broad concepts of what could form the policy’s guiding principles. Throughout the discussions, key considerations included the notions that change may take time and that a phased approach may be required to move forward, particularly given the current fiscal situation.
What the policy means to Albertans
The overall goal of the policy is to help government be more aware of and responsive to the needs of French-speaking Albertans when delivering services to the community. The policy also has the potential to enhance Alberta’s attractiveness as a destination for interprovincial migration, immigration, tourism and investment.
The Government of Alberta already provides a number of services in French in areas like education, access to justice, arts and heritage.
There is a common understanding between the Government of Alberta and francophone community stakeholders of working towards long-term incremental change. To start, government will focus its attention on cost neutral or no cost initiatives – things that can be done differently, more efficiently and more effectively.
The policy’s implementation must be achieved within existing resources. The Government of Alberta obtains annual funding from the federal government that it will allocate to enhance and increase French-language services. In 2017-18, this federal funding amount is $728,500. Negotiations to renew the Canada-Alberta Agreement on French-Language Services 2017-18 are scheduled to begin in late 2018. A French Policy positions Alberta to negotiate additional federal funding.
Other provinces with French policies
Most other jurisdictions in Canada have a policy and/or legislative framework governing their approach to services for their French speaking communities.
- Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie
- Official languages in the provinces and territories
Alberta Advisory Council on the Francophonie
Established in 2018, the Alberta Advisory Council on the Francophonie advises the Minister of Culture and Tourism, responsible for the Francophone Secretariat, on the implementation and evaluation of the French Policy. It also helps ensure that the Albertan French-speaking community, in all its geographical, cultural and demographic diversity, is represented.
Key responsibilities of the Council include:
- identifying priorities for strengthening the community’s vitality through the development and enhancement of services in French within available resources
- improving the development and delivery of government services in French within available resources
- optimizing the use of existing provincial funding for services in French and federal funding administered by Culture and Tourism
- evaluating the effectiveness of the policy in achieving its intended outcomes
To connect with the Francophone Secretariat:
Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-415-3348 (Edmonton and area)
Toll free: dial 310-0000 before the number
Other contact options
Ministry of Culture and Tourism
9th floor, Standard Life Centre
10405 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4R7
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