At the eighth Ministerial Conference on Francophone Affairs (MCFA), the ministers and elected officials reached a consensus on a new interprovincial/territorial partnership to strengthen the Canadian Francophonie. They also confirmed that intergovernmental co-operation plays a major role in bringing about progress on priority concerns related to services in French. Lastly, the conference participants adopted an intergovernmental action plan supporting the development of Canada’s Francophone and Acadian communities. This plan gives effect to the Declaration of Principles of Government Leadership with Respect to the Canadian Francophonie, adopted in October 2002.
Intergovernmental co-operation will be essential in order to implement many of the initiatives contained in the federal government’s Action Plan for Official Languages. The conference participants therefore agreed to develop strategies for intergovernmental and interministerial co-operation that will strengthen partnerships, facilitate sharing of expertise, increase effectiveness, and maximize the use of resources.
The ministers discussed the topic of health services in French. At this meeting, the Société Santé en français Inc. and the Consortium national de formation en santé presented their recent initiatives to improve access to health services in French for Francophones and Acadians in minority-language communities. The ministers and elected officials present at the meeting applauded the efforts of these organizations and encouraged them to continue their work. The MCFA now has a website where its partners can easily follow the progress of its initiatives.
The next Ministerial Conference on Francophone Affairs will be held in New Brunswick in the fall of 2004, as part of the celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the Francophone presence in North America.