The Manitoba government announced it has secured a two-year extension of the Canada-Manitoba Agreement on Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction with the federal government that will provide local institutions and organizations with more than $12 million this year.

“A continuation of this funding will ensure Manitobans have access to minority language education and opportunities to learn French as a second language,” said Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen. “These programs enhance the linguistic and cultural identities of students so they can continue their studies in French and use the language throughout their lives.”

“We are committed to promoting Canada’s official languages, and this extension will help us continue to support initiatives that will contribute significantly to the vitality of French in a minority setting and French as a second language,” said Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for francophone affairs.

With the funding now in place, the province can move forward on 124 grant commitments that total more than $1.5 million under the French Second Language Revitalization Program and 49 grants of more than $1.2 million through the Program for the Enrichment of French in Education (PEFE). Recipients include independent schools, school divisions, Université de Saint Boniface and non-profit organizations.

“As a key partner for French education in Manitoba, the Conseil Jeunesse Provincial relies on funding from the PEFE grant to offer real opportunities to French-speaking youth in Manitoba,” said Roxanne Dupuis, executive director, Conseil Jeunesse Provincial. “The projects supported allow language and social development in a dynamic and informal setting that helps youth see the opportunities that come from being able to speak French. With this funding, we are able to provide youth with a positive and modern view of the French language and culture.”

The Government of Canada and the provinces and territories signed a multi-year Protocol for Agreements for Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction in 2013. Under the protocol, each province and territory negotiated a bilateral agreement with Canada according to provincial priorities.

As part of the agreement, the French Second Language Revitalization Program provides financial support to the educational community for students enrolled in French immersion or French courses. Qualifying projects help build students’ confidence and fluency in French in academic, cultural and social contexts and increase their desire to continue French studies. Funding also supports teachers’ professional development and heightens community awareness about the benefits of learning French.

The Program for the Enrichment of French in Education provides financial support to school-based, extra-curricular and post-secondary projects that help enhance and promote French language learning, offer opportunities to discover francophone culture, and recruit and retain students in Français, French immersion and French in the English program.

While some 2018-19 funding was delayed as the province secured federal funding, organizations are encouraged to submit their requests for 2019-20.