June 23, 2014 – Laurentian University will become the first bilingual university in Ontario to be designated under the province’s French Language Services Act. The recognition takes formal effect on July 1st, 2014. The Laurentian designation applies to services provided on the Sudbury campus, and to programs that are offered entirely in French leading to 13 degrees at the bachelor, master and Ph.D. levels.
The French Language Services Act designation guarantees the right of individuals to receive provincial government services in French in designated areas. Institutions such as universities, hospitals and other public agencies may also be designated as official providers of French language services.
“By becoming the first bilingual university recognized under the French Language Services Act, Laurentian University proudly demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that the Franco-Ontarian community’s interests are upheld and protected,” said University President and Vice-Chancellor Dominic Giroux. “It is a sign of our commitment to French-language education and to la Francophonie.”
“At this historic moment in our institution’s history, I would like to thank the Regroupement des professeures et professeurs francophones at Laurentian University for having launched this process in December 2011,” said Michael Atkins, Chair of the Board of Governors. “Their efforts were strongly supported by Laurentian’s Senate and the Board of Governors, and by the Government of Ontario.”
According to Claude Lacroix, Chair of Laurentian’s Executive Committee, “It was a rigorous process that led to this acknowledgement from the Ontario Government under the French Language Services Act, which will allow us to fulfill the University’s bilingual mandate while respecting our governance and complying with the framework set out by the Office of Francophone Affairs.”
“In taking this step, the provincial government is recognizing Laurentian University’s support for the cultural heritage of our Francophone population. It has played a leading role in a vibrant and flourishing Francophone culture here in Ontario,” explained Claudette Paquin, member of Laurentian’s Executive Committee and Chair of its Senate and Board of Governors’ Joint Committee on Bilingualism.
Announced as part of the St-Jean festivities, this recognition of Laurentian University under the French-Language Services Act, will be celebrated on Franco-Ontarian Day – September 25th, 2014.
“Obtaining a partial designation under the French-Language Services Act demonstrates that it is possible for a bilingual institution to maintain academic freedom while actively offering a legal guarantee of quality education and services in French to the Franco-Ontarian community and all Francophiles,” said François Boileau, French Language Services Commissioner.
“Twenty-eight years after the French Language Services Act was passed, Laurentian University is very proud to have applied for and received this designation,” said President Giroux.