Mr. Chairman, Mr. Gourde, committee members, I very much enjoyed my colleague's speech, where he said not to hesitate to question him about the operation and challenges of the Conseil scolaire franco-yukonnais. That's a good introduction for me.
On behalf of the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones and as executive director of the FNCSF, I want to thank you for your invitation to testify before the Standing Committee on Official Languages as part of its study entitled Evaluation of the Roadmap: Improving Programs and Service Delivery. I'm here today with Yolande Dupuis, who is the past president of the FNCSF.
In the presentation we will be making this morning, we will first tell you about the FNCSF and give you its views on the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality. During the presentation, we will tell you about the FNCSF's mission and orientations. Then we will briefly discuss major achievements in connection with the Roadmap. And lastly, we will outline our prospects for the future.
The Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones is a non-profit organization that represents 31 francophone and Acadian school boards and commissions across Canada. Those school boards and commissions provide educational services in French to nearly 150,000 students at more than 630 school facilities. Those students are spread across the provinces and territories of Canada where French is the language spoken by a minority of citizens.
I'll speak more slowly, since we have simultaneous interpretation. So I'll give a chance to the translators, who are nodding their heads at me.
The FNCSF's mission amounts to ensuring the vitality and continued existence of the French-language schools in Canada. It is also to contribute to the development and vitality of the francophone and Acadian communities. Our mission is carried out by means of strategic planning based on three major orientations.
The first major orientation is to pursue, in cooperation with our partners, the interests of our members and of the francophone and Acadian communities by influencing decision-making power in education. The second is to contribute to the vitality and continued existence of French-language minority schools in Canada to make them more attractive and to retain our staff. The third orientation is to maintain the dynamic character of the member network by promoting opportunities for exchange and joint training.
As you know, our 31 school boards are scattered across Canada. Having been executive director of a school board, the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l'Est ontarien, I recognize some members who represent the Ottawa region. I realize the extent to which the national capital and eastern Ontario, where there are a lot of francophones, are privileged. They are privileged in a relative way, but nevertheless much more so than elsewhere. It easier when there are larger numbers. However, that is far from being the case across Canada.
For about 20 years now, since 1990, the FNCSF has had some major achievements. It has supported the francophone school boards in their demands for schools management to provide French-language education in accordance with section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, the FNCSF obtained schools management only recently. Now we manage our schools. The FNCSF has contributed to numerous efforts in this area and is still a national and provincial presence.
As I'm only allotted 10 minutes today, I don't intend to talk about all of FNCSF's achievements. However, I will draw your attention to our annual report. It is on the FNCSF website. In reading it, you realize the extent to which our organization promotes French-language schools, networking, mutual cooperation and training. It's all there. I've brought copies, if you're interested.
In striving to achieve its strategic objectives, the federation collaborates with a number of partners who have an interest in French-language education. Among other activities, the federation makes a major contribution toward rallying numerous partners on one major issue, the Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 23.
At the Sommet des intervenants et des intervenantes en éducation in June 2005—I'm talking about the 2005 summit—the federation coordinated all the activities of the tripartite committee—I'll talk about that committee in a moment. We've been doing that for seven years. We're getting ready for the next education summit, which will be held in Edmonton in April 2012.
At the Sommet des intervenants et des intervenantes en éducation in June 2005, the some 200 participants representing various bodies with an interest in education and coming from various francophone and Acadian communities in Canada, assigned the Fédération nationale des conseils scolaires francophones responsibility for coordinating the Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 23. The decision was made to form a tripartite committee, which is still operating. The tripartite committee has been in place for seven years now.
What does "tripartite" mean? It's difficult to conceive. Every time I talk about it, people ask me when we meet, who sits around the table, a bit like this one. The committee consists of representatives of the three minority French education parties. Around that same table, we of course have representatives of the communities, including those of the school boards. These are representatives of communities that are interested in education. There are representatives—it's quite a feat—of the governments of all the provinces and territories. It's a feat in the sense that we had never seen representatives of all the education departments of all the provinces and territories, those of the Government of Canada, our third partner, and, of course, those of the communities at the same table. We had never brought all those people together to talk about education.
We were a bit nervous at first, thinking that people wouldn't come. As you know, education is a provincial and territorial jurisdiction. Bringing together, in the same room, people from the provinces and territories, people from the federal government and people from the communities to talk to each other was very interesting. Even the fact that it's continuing is very interesting. The people didn't leave the table. They're still there talking about French-language education across Canada. That's the result of the 2005 summit.
The federation has just prepared a very positive report on the efforts and achievements in connection with the Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 23. I don't know whether you have had the opportunity to see that document. It was written in both official languages and distributed and sent to your office. Or rather the clerk told me that it would be in the next few days or weeks. The report outlines all the efforts and achievements the tripartite committee has made over the past seven years. It's quite impressive.
We've entitled the report "L'école de Raphaël". The most recent documents we've prepared had much more general titles. We wondered why we had schools. We have schools for the little Raphaels, little Hamids, you name them, boys, girls, people here as a result of immigration. We want to personalize it. We have schools for children, as a result of which we entitled the report "L'école de Raphaël".
The report outlines an innovative experiment in collaboration, as I said, and a report on the work done in recent years. When we met seven years ago, we established six areas that were important to us. As a result, six working groups have been added over the past seven years. One of the areas is early childhood, our priority. Another is teaching.
Another area is action on culture and identity. Human resources is another area. There's also promoting French-language schools and, lastly, immigration. I forgot infrastructure.
These areas, on which we've been working for seven years, are still priorities. We'll be talking about them a little later.
In addition, the report presents the results of a broad consultation that enabled us to determine some priorities for the future. That's what we've done in the past, now we're wondering where we're headed. Everything I'm talking to you about is of course related to the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality.
Again in this spirit of collaboration, the federation chairs the National Table on Education. What is that about? This table brings together the main francophone organizations in Canada. We bring those principal organizations together so that they can talk to us not necessarily about their mandates, but about education, because it is a national table on education.
At that national table, which we are coordinating, are the Fédération de la jeunesse canadienne-française, the Fédération canadienne des enseignantes et des enseignants, the Fédération canadienne des directions d'écoles francophones, the Fédération des parents canadiens, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française, the Fédération canadienne pour l'alphabétisation en français, the Regroupement des directions générales de l'éducation, the Association des Universities and Colleges of Canada and the Folklore Studies Association of Canada, the FSAC.