Allow me to be clear. The Quebec Community Groups Network asks that children of all section 23 rights holders be enumerated by Statistics Canada by means of the short-form census, beginning with the 2021 census. A resort to the long-form census will neither suffice nor be celebrated. The census is much more than an academic or intellectual exercise. It is a cornerstone for sound public policy regarding our official language communities in the education sector.
It is key that Statistics Canada enumerate children of all section 23 rights holders, not just those of parents with rights under paragraph 23(1)(a)—first official language learned and still understood—which does not apply in Quebec. The only section 23 data generated by the previous seven short-form censuses has been of no practical utility in Quebec.
The census is more than an academic exercise.
In conclusion, we note that the enumeration of children under section 23 rights holders is contained in the mandate letter of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, but not the Minister of innovation, Science and Industry. This creates a kind of confusion. This is another example that reinforces the need for a central agency to lead the Government of Canada's official languages strategy.
We realize that our presentation to this committee may be preaching to the converted, but you are in a position to influence the way this conversation goes forward, and we very much urge you to throw your weight behind a correct decision in this matter. It's important to our community. We are very determined to see this go the right way, and we are 100% in solidarity with our francophone colleagues who testified before us.