Francophone community celebrates two milestones

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The francophone community reached the first of two milestones this year as the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario, Conseil régional des Mille-Îles (ACFOMI) celebrated on May 1 the 10th anniversary of the French-language Services Act (FLSA) being passed.

Also being celebrated, on Sept. 9, will be the 50th anniversary of the date the Official Languages Act came into effect.

The French-language Services Act guarantees a person’s right to receive service in French at Government of Ontario offices. The act was passed on May 1, 2009. The Official Languages Act made both French and English the official languages of Canada and came into effect in 1969.

To celebrate the FLSA anniversary, ACFOMI held an open house on May 1. About 50 people attended the event, which included live music, food and door prizes.

For the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, ACFOMI is collaborating with the Kingston Frontenac Public Library on a podcast. The podcast will provide French and English perspectives on a number of subjects. It will have a run of two years, beginning in December, and a new podcast will be produced every month.

Michele Dubois is executive director of ACFOMI, which helps people get jobs. Dubois moved to Kingston from Quebec City, and upon her arrival got in touch with ACFOMI, which itself was hiring at the time. “I was lucky — right place at the right time,” Dubois said.

From there, her own career took flight, and so has the program of helping people get work.

“Because Kingston is designated under the French-language Services Act, the provincial government has to deliver services in French,” Dubois said. “Employment Ontario, being the provincial program, they have at least one agency that is able to deliver the program in French. Every staff member here is fully bilingual.”