Standing Committee on Official Languages
Senate committee adopts motion on post-secondary institutions serving minority communities
April 22, 2021
Ottawa, April 22, 2021 – The Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages on April 19 adopted a motion on post-secondary institutions serving official language minority communities in Canada, in light of the financial difficulties some of these institutions, such as Laurentian University, are presently facing.
Moved by Franco-Ontarian Senator Lucie Moncion, the motion urges the federal government to work with its provincial and territorial counterparts to create an emergency assistance fund for post-secondary institutions that serve minority-language communities and whose survival is threatened by significant financial insecurity.
The motion also urges the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages to conduct a study on the financial situation of post-secondary institutions serving official language minority communities, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these institutions.
The committee noted the federal government’s commitment in Budget 2021 to invest, over a three-year period, in greater access to high-quality, post-secondary minority-language education across the country. However, more needs to be done by all levels of governments to ensure the long-term stability and survival of these programs and the institutions that provide them.
- Post-secondary institutions serving official language minority communities in Canada are essential to the cultural, social and economic vitality and sustainability of these communities.
- A number of these Canadian institutions — including Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, and the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean, among others — are in a precarious financial situation, in some cases due to chronic underfunding.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the financial difficulties of Canadian post-secondary institutions, particularly those serving official language minority communities.
- Laurentian University is seeking protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
- Recent cuts to French-language post-secondary programs at Laurentian University are diminishing access to such programs in Northern Ontario.
“As chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages, I am extremely concerned about the financial insecurity that many post-secondary institutions offering minority-language programs in Canada are facing. Ensuring the long-term survival of these public institutions is an urgent issue that requires urgent action by multiple levels of government. We must prevent other post-secondary institutions serving official language minority communities from suffering the same turmoil as Laurentian University and Campus Saint-Jean.”
- Senator René Cormier, Chair of the committee
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For more information:
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