After several individual discussions, the officials responsible for Francophone issues in the provincial and territorial governments decided to meet on June 14, 1991.
The first and subsequent meetings provided an opportunity to exchange information on the official languages situation in each province and territory, on existing French-language services and on how to improve them in order to support the vitality of their minority language communities. Gradually, common positions were adopted on the administrative aspects of federal-provincial-territorial agreements on the promotion of official languages, as well as on opportunities for intergovernmental collaboration.
Themes were then identified, such as translation services and the need for a bilingual workforce in the health sector. Officials quickly realized that some of these issues required a ministerial decision to move forward. Consequently, the first annual meeting of the Ministers’ Council on the Canadian Francophonie (MCCF) was held in 1994 in Moncton, New Brunswick, on the sidelines of the first World Acadian Congress.
This meeting allowed each government to present the reality of its province or territory, and then to present its policies and service structures in relation to its French-speaking community. One of the topics discussed was the electronic highway as a tool to better serve Francophone communities. No strategic decisions were made at this meeting, but the political decision to continue MCCF meetings was endorsed.
Chronology of Membership
- Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Yukon have participated since the first meeting of officials in June 1991.
- Canadian Heritage was invited to join the group in the fall of 1991 and has been participating ever since.
- Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador joined the group in November 1996.
- Québec participated in several meetings between May 1992 and 2002, and became a full-fledged member in 2003.
- British Columbia and Nunavut have been part of the MCCF since 2000.