By Chantal Gagnon
The Franco-Ontarian Day Act adopted unanimously by the Legislative Assembly proclaims September 25 of each year as Franco-Ontarian Day. This Day officially recognizes the contribution of Ontario’s Francophone community to the cultural, historical, social, economic and political life of the province.
On this 3rd celebration of Franco-Ontarian Day, I reflect on the hard work that Francophone Ontarians have done to build the many strong communities and heritage that we enjoy today. I think of what my parents and many others of their generation did to build the French community: build French schools, churches, cultural centers, TV, radio, and more. I take pride in what so many of my generation and the next continue to contribute in order to preserve and enrich Francophony in Ontario. We have also come a long way in our ability to more easily live and work in French everyday.
It has not always been easy but for me, it has been worth it. I have always worked in jobs where French was important. I raised my children living in French and carrying on the traditions of my family. I take great pride (and know deep down that my parents would too) that my kids are fluently bilingual and now teach in French Immersion.
Currently there are over 600,000 Francophones in Ontario. LAO is required to provide services in French in all 25 designated areas of the province. Be it via LAO’s network of community legal clinics, its regional offices and court locations, the toll-free call centre, or its online and certificate programs, LAO strives to continuously enhance the delivery of French Language Services across the province.
LAO is committed to working with partners and stakeholders to develop and implement French Language strategies, policies and plans that ensure LAO and its service delivery partners respect the French Language Services Act and provide French Language Services that meet the Francophone communities’ needs.
I very much enjoy my work in French Language Services at LAO. It is rewarding and strengthens my feeling of belonging to this vibrant community. I am very happy to be helping to make a difference for our French-speaking clients. I celebrate my Francophony and heritage everyday, when my colleagues say Bonjour and speak to me in French (even a little).