Great disappointment among Franco-Ontarians after the publication of the budget

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Very conflicting feelings prevail in the community after the publication of the last budget. The document proposes the modernization of the French-language services law and assistance to entrepreneurship through the Ontario Federation of Entrepreneurs, two advances already recorded, but remain silent on post-secondary education in French at Middle North.

“We have a real plan,” the minister said in the courtroom on Thursday. But not yet for post-secondary in French. According to several observers, the government should have taken advantage of the year 2022 to resume the agenda on its own account of this file after the report of the deputy ombudsman, responsible for services in French, which reveals a negligence in the management of the Sudbury crisis.

“We are very disappointed that there were no announcements during the pre-budget weeks or at least a wink at the university-level budget for the Middle North,” laments Denis Constantineau, a spokesman for the Northern Ontario Coalition. by a French-language university. “For us in the Middle North, the presence of a French-language university is a priority for students to study close to home,” he recalls as the community has been raising awareness with the government for a year.

François Hastir, General Manager of RÉFO. Courtesy

Sudbury: “This government needs to take concrete action quickly” – François Hastir, General Manager of RÉFO

“We are obviously disappointed not to see a firm commitment from the province in this matter of great importance,” added François Hastir, director general of the Franco-Ontarian Student Association. “If this government really wants to listen to the needs of Francophones, it must quickly take concrete action. “And denounce a” status quo when it should be time for action. »

About 9 million have been released for indigenous courses and the freezing of tuition fees for next year is maintained (no compensation for universities). The future of Laurentian and Sudbury universities is missing. Like post-secondary, other issues were mentioned without giving a specific answer for francophones, such as the response to scarcity.

“There are no new specific measures for Francophones,” laments Carol Jolin, president of the Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario. “The budget announces major initiatives to address the shortage of labor in Ontario, in health and early childhood, three important issues for the Franco-Ontarian community. What does the government want to do in this regard with the Franco-Ontarian community? question, about his hunger.

Positive but vague economic signals

Julien Geremie points out that many of the elements in the document are repetitions of the old budget such as the Ring of Fire: “We still mention it but it would be good if it materialized,” said the director general of the Ontario Cooperation Council.

On the other hand, it celebrates the mention of French-speaking employers, the increase in the minimum wage as well as the strengthening of the Skills Development Fund, an employability program for professional retraining in the labor market. Mr. Geremie believes these three aspects are part of the response to labor shortages.

He also spoke positively about the role that Grow Ontario could play: in the last budget) but whose outlines still seem inaccurate.

Dominic Mailloux, president of the FGA. Image credit Rudy Chabannes

“It’s a pity that the issues that affect our community are no longer mobilized” – Dominic Mailloux, president of the FGA

For its part, the Ontario Federation of Business People, through its President Dominic Mailloux, has been “reassured to see that the government is planning a set of measures that will not only take advantage of the existing economic forces in our province, but also to find a new skilled workforce ”.

The reduction of bureaucracy and the costs of small and medium-sized enterprises, together with the simplification of procedures for the arrival of newcomers, are important assets, according to the umbrella organization of the French-speaking economy, in reference to 15.1 millions committed over three years under the Ontario Immigrant Candidate Program.

The FGA finds, however, “a pity that the issues and issues affecting our Franco-Ontarian community are no longer mobilized for this 2022 budget.”

Teachers fall from their chairs

“It is clear that the government is using the budget presentation to boost its election campaign,” said the Franco-Ontarian Teachers’ Association. Its president, Anne Vinet-Roy, does not identify “any specific information for the financing of education. Unfortunately, this does not surprise us, as the necessary and appropriate investments to support the well-being and success of students and education workers do not seem to be a priority for this government. »

He regrets that the amounts allocated to education “have not been distributed according to the real needs of students and do not give priority to their mental health, well-being and academic success.”

Anne Vinet-Roy, President of the AEFO. ONFR + files

A government that thinks of its own political gains rather than the education of future voters. “ – Anne Vinet-Roy

“We also know that the Ford government really wants to cut $ 12.3 billion in school funding over the next nine years. So we’re a long way from a ‘historic investment’ as we’ve heard, and we’re wondering again How can a government that claims to be responsible continue to think about its own political gains instead of educating future voters in Ontario? ”

Several speakers joined ONFR+ Finally, we welcome the increase in the allocation for the French-speaking Ministry of Foreign Affairs to $ 9 million for the year, which is $ 3 million more than in 2021-2022 and the presence of a measure to improve accessibility to long-term care centers for French-speaking residents, with an investment of $ 300,000 to develop materials in French.

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