As the main advocate of the Fransaskois community, the ACF defends both the interests and linguistic aspirations of the Fransaskois community.
The ACF maintains direct links with various levels of government in an open and non-partisan manner, it works closely with the government departments most likely to have an impact on the capacity of the fransaskois community to ensure its sustainability and development.
We exert our influence in specific sectors that allow Francophones to maintain and strengthen their institutions in order to ensure access to services in French.
Francophone immigration is an important issue within the francophone community across Canada. The ACF seeks to mobilize the organizations within the Fransaskois network to ensure its success. According to the 2021 Canadian census, the Fransaskois community has 16,435 people whose first language learned is French. The same census counts more than 52,000 residents of the province who can speak French in Saskatchewan.
Like other Francophone minority communities in Canada, the Fransaskois community depends heavily on immigration to renew the Francophone population and maintain its demographic weight. The challenge is to attract new Francophone immigrants to the province of Saskatchewan.
The ACF promotes Francophone immigration and advocates to increase the number of Francophones admitted annually to the province of Saskatchewan.
The ACF is responsible for several services whose objectives are to facilitate the reception and inclusion of newcomers. These services are the SAIF-SK, the RIF-SK and the CFA.
Modernisation of the Official Languages Act
In 1969 the Government of Canada made Canada an officially bilingual country by passing the Official Languages Act. The influence of organizations representing Francophone communities across the country was instrumental in the passage of this fundamental Law. The Official Languages Act has reinvigorated Francophone minorities across the country by giving official status to Canada's foremost languages. In 2019, the country commemorated the 50th anniversary of Canada's Official Languages Act, bilingualism is among the most recognized Canadian characteristics.
There are several aspects of the Official Languages Act that should be strengthened as this law is difficult to enforce.
Canadian linguistic duality remains, according to the ACF, the preferred way to ensure that the Fransaskois community can continue to develop the services it needs to flourish. Hence the importance of promoting expansion:
- French language education and Francophone schools;
- French-language media;
- Promoting language rights;
- Post-secondary education in French
- Bilingualism as a Canadian value.
The Fransaskois community seeks to increase access to post-secondary education in French in order to give French speakers a choice in their language of instruction and ensure the capacity of francophones to exercise leadership.
The ACF uses its influence to ensure the progress of the post-secondary sector in French and to assess the rights of Francophones in regard to post-secondary education services, it calls for program development in various faculties.
To this end, the ACF is striving for the Fransaskois community's access to quality postsecondary education.
Official recognition of the French language in Saskatchewan
Twice the ACF was involved in constitutional cases with the aim of rectifying the historical wrongs done to Francophones in Western Canada. The first case was when the ACFC fully intervened in the André Mercure Case, where the Supreme Court of Canada finally upheld the legal status of the French language in Saskatchewan, in 1988.
The second case was from 2009 to 2017 when the ACF intervened in the Boutin-Caron Case. The ACF intervened three times in this case: in the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Although the Supreme Court ruled against the petitioners.
The province of Saskatchewan should, according to the ACF, further support the development of the Fransaskois community. The Francophone population is changing and there are more and more requests for services in French. We are pursuing our dialogue with the Government of Saskatchewan to increase the offer of services in French.