In the face of the decision of the provincial government to abolish the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and to halt plans for a new university for Francophone Ontario, representatives of Ontario School Board Council of Unions are urging CUPE education workers to turn out in large numbers to the demonstrations planned across the province that will call on the government to reverse its decision.
The Francophone Assembly of Ontario (l’Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario, or AFO) is organizing several demonstrations, which will take place across the province on December 1 at 1 p.m. throughout many Ontario communities.
“It’s important to maintain Francophone education systems in place and to protect French-language services through the office of an independent commissioner. To protect our Francophonie in Ontario, we have to continue to offer Francophone services at the heart of the province,” said Sylvain Piché, OSBCU’s Francophone vice-president and president of CUPE 4340.
“This constitutes an attack on more than 600,000 Francophones in Ontario,” said Laura Walton, OSBCU president. “Such a decision will affect their future, as well as the future of the French language in Ontario.”
Piché and Walton called on CUPE members to mobilize to defend Francophone rights.
“This is the time to join together as Franco-Ontarians and as citizens to reclaim our rights,” Piché declared.
CUPE represents thousands of members who are employees of school boards in Ontario’s French-language public and Catholic education systems. There are more than 110,000 Francophone students who attend these schools and they have a right to educational services in French.
For more information on the AFO demonstrations, see https://monassemblee.ca/joignez-vous-a-la-resistance/manif/.