Madam Speaker, I have the honour of being in the House tonight to speak about Canada's official languages.
I would like to remind my colleague, the member for Drummond, that education is the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces. That is why, for almost 50 years, the Government of Canada has worked closely with the provinces and territories to support minority education and second language education.
Our government recognizes the crucial role played by institutions to ensure the rights of Ontario's citizens according to the French Language Services Act. That is why we are supporting the Franco-Ontarian community as an official language minority community.
As part of the action plan for official languages, we approved $1.9 million in funding to enable the team working on Ontario's French-language university to continue its efforts until January 2020. Clearly, the ball is in the Government of Ontario's court.
It is incumbent on the Government of Ontario to apply for federal funding, not the reverse. On several occasions, from November 2018 to January 2019, our government contacted the Government of Ontario to gauge its intentions and to urge it to apply for funding under the current call for projects. Unfortunately, the province confirmed that this was not its intent at this point.
The communications of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie with her Ontario counterparts were clear. In a first letter dated November 16, 2018, she expressed her disappointment with the Ontario government's decisions to cancel the proposed French-language university and to abolish the position of French language services commissioner for the province. In her second letter dated January 13, 2019, she reiterated the federal government's commitment to contribute up to 50% of the total cost of Ontario's French-language university if the Ontario government were to apply for funding.
We should note that the Government of Canada has received a request for one-time funding directly from the team that is developing the Université de l'Ontario français project, concerning preliminary work to be done for the establishment of the Francophone knowledge and innovation hub in Toronto. This unifying project could host the Université de l'Ontario français once established.
The Government of Canada worked with the provinces and territories to help build post-secondary infrastructure in Ontario and other areas of the country, and we plan to continue that work with Ontario's French-language university.