Consultations for French Policy

In November 2016, more than 100 French-speaking community leaders from across the province and across sectors participated in targeted facilitated in person sessions to provide feedback on what should be considered in the future policy’s guiding principles.

In order to allow greater participation, interested Albertans had the opportunity to share their thoughts via an online survey that closed on November 20, 2016.

The input collected will be assessed over the next few months and will serve to inform the development of a policy document in 2017.

French Policy FAQ

Why is it important?

The development of a French policy supports the Government of Alberta’s commitment to strengthening its relationship with the francophone community in a way that is respectful, proactive and collaborative. French is one of Canada’s two official languages and, by far, the most spoken and learned language in Alberta schools other than English. A French policy would aim to create a coherent approach and enhance access to government services in French.

What is government policy?

Policies are clear, simple statements of how a government intends to conduct its services, actions or business. They provide a set of guiding principles to help with decision making.

A French policy will be just that: a series of principles that will guide how government can enhance its services in French. It will not prescribe specific initiatives.

What are we consulting on?

We want to hear from participants about why something is important, more specifically, to help us identify what some of the underlying principles that government could use to guide how it engages with French-speaking Albertans and how it develops and delivers services in French.

Who will benefit?

Primarily French-speaking Albertans will benefit through improved access to resources and services in French provided by the Government of Alberta including:

  • Improved early childhood and health outcomes among francophone families
  • More successful settlement and integration of French-speaking newcomers
  • Enhanced preservation and promotion of Franco-Albertan heritage and history
  • Increased visibility and celebration of francophone arts and cultures

Since 1996, Alberta’s francophone population has increased by more than 40%. Approximately 238,000 Albertans speak French and close to 200,000 students are enrolled in Alberta’s various French-language education programs.

What does this mean to Albertans?

The overall goal 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.

What will it cost?

A number of services in French are already being provided by the Government of Alberta in areas like education, access to justice, arts and heritage.

There is a common understanding between the Government of Alberta and francophone community representatives that we are working towards long-term incremental change. To start, government will focus its attention on cost neutral or no cost initiatives - things that we can do differently, more efficiently and more effectively. We will look at maximizing existing investments, specifically using existing federal funding administered by Culture and Tourism’s Francophone Secretariat and leveraging existing community resources and networks. Having a policy will also put Alberta in a better position to get more equitable funding from federal government.

Do other provinces have a French policy?

To date, Alberta is one of two provinces without a policy or legislation on French-language services. All other jurisdictions have a policy or legislative framework governing their approach to services for their French speaking communities.

Additional background information:

Last reviewed/revised: May 11, 2017
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