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French Language Services

French Language Services Review

French language and culture has played an important role in shaping Winnipeg. The City recognizes the value of the French language and is committed to improving French language service delivery throughout Winnipeg.

We are undertaking a review of French language services to improve, update, and modernize the delivery of civic services and programs to French-speaking residents where resources are needed most.

Updates

February 2020 – On January 30, 2020, Council adopted the French Language Services Review Strategy and directed the Public Service to provide French language services upon request, develop a five year-plan, and review and update the Official Languages of Municipal Services By-law.

The administrative report is now available in French on the Documents tab.

January 15, 2020 – Your feedback was analyzed and is now available in a public engagement summary. A summary table of what we heard and how it was considered is available on the Engage tab of the project webpage. Your feedback informed the recommendations to improve, update, and modernize the delivery of civic services and programs to French-speaking residents. Recommendations will go before Executive Policy Committee on Tuesday, January 21 and Council for their consideration. To register as a delegation at Executive Policy Committee, contact City Clerk’s.

June 25, 2019 – Thank you to all those who participated in-person, online, and through the coffee chat cards. Your feedback will inform the recommendations to Council on the future of French language services. A summary of feedback from stakeholders and the public will be posted publicly and sent to all those who requested updates.

June 2019 – The deadline to provide feedback through the online survey has been extended until June 24, 2019. Please see the Engage tab for further details, including a link to the survey.

May 2019 – We are engaging with residents and community stakeholders to gather feedback on how we can continue to improve the delivery of City services in French. Sign up for updates below or visit the Engage tab to learn more about how you can get involved.

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Engage

Thank you to those who got involved to tell us which City services you access in French, which services you would like to access, and how we can better meet the needs of French-speaking Winnipeggers.

A summary of what we heard is now available.

What we heard and how it was considered

The table below outlines the key themes from the public and stakeholder feedback and how the feedback was considered in developing recommendations for Council’s consideration.

What We Heard How It Was Considered

With regards to in-person and telephone service, the French ‘active offer’ was brought up consistently by participants, either as a barrier when there was no offer, or as a potential solution to improving French Language Services.

The City will develop a 5-year French Language Services Strategic Plan by the end of 2021.

The strategic plan will include:
A detailed outline of the City’s French language service priorities over the 5-year period and how they align with the Francophone community’s priorities; and how the City plans to align its priorities as they relate to legislative requirements, including By- law 8154/2002 for the Provision of Municipal Services in Both Official Languages.

Improving access to French information (most notably through the website and 311) and awareness regarding how to find French information for residents was brought up by workshop, survey, and coffee chat card participants.

The City will develop a 5-year French Language Services Strategic Plan by the end of 2021, which will establish guidelines on how and under what circumstances the City will communicate with residents in both official languages.

There are not enough designated bilingual staff and not all those who are designated bilingual are able to speak and write in French at an appropriate level.

Coffee chat card respondents indicated staff proficiency and availability as the most common barrier to accessing French services.

The City will identify designated bilingual positions throughout the organization and develop a staffing plan to ensure those positions are appropriately staffed with French-speaking employees.

The City will also work to implement mandatory active offer sessions for all municipal frontline employees and/or backups.

The most prominent vision for the future of French language services in Winnipeg was a fully bilingual city.

The most common response to the question “Which municipal services do you expect to be offered in French?” on the coffee chat cards was “all services.”

Participants recognized that French speaking residents are not confined to the Riel District.

The Public Service is recommending amendments to By-law 8154/2002 for Council’s consideration to ensure, when reasonably possible, that the City provides French language services upon request in areas of the City besides just the Riel District.

An analysis of data gathered in 2016 by Statistics Canada revealed increased French speaking residents in other wards outside of the Riel District.

Currently, there are bilingual facilities or offices that may or may not be located in the designated areas (such as French Language Services Division and Translation Services Branch). They are entirely staffed with bilingual personnel so as to ensure services in both official languages at all times.

There are also partially bilingual facilities or offices that have a bilingual staff in designated positions and in back-up positions to ensure an active offer and delivery of services in French at all times (such as the 311 Call Centre, Water and Waste Billing Centre). They are designated as such in the City’s by-law on the delivery of municipal services.

Access to emergency services in French is critical to ensure service and communication during a resident’s most vulnerable moments.

The City will develop a 5-year French Language Services Strategic Plan by the end of 2021, which will address emergency services.

Stakeholders noted the importance of partnerships with other levels of governments and other French speaking municipalities.

The City's Manager of French Language Services is the primary point of contact with respect to policies, goals, and targets for the provision of French language services, and will continue to work with key stakeholders to ensure continued collaboration.

Improving attitudes towards French and seeing French culture and language as an asset rather than a burden should be a priority.

The City will develop a 5-year French Language Services Strategic Plan by the end of 2021, which will examine opportunities to provide more education about the importance and role of French culture and language in our community.

Engagement

Online survey
The online survey was available from May 15 to June 24, 2019. We received over 100 responses. Thank you to those who took the time to share their experiences and ideas for improvement of French language services.

Coffee Chat Cards
Community members were asked to answer the key questions on the card and drop off feedback at a City facility.

Public Workshop
Thank you to those who attended a public workshop on May 29 to discuss French language services with other community members. The workshop brought community members together to discuss their experiences and ideas for improving French language services.

For inquiries, please call 204-986-2393 or email .

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter or City of Winnipeg public engagement newsletter.

Project Timeline

Timeline

Timeline

Background

Winnipeg has the largest population of French-speaking residents of all major western Canadian cities. The city is currently experiencing a period of strong population growth, and its French-population is becoming more diverse, as are demands for the delivery of French language services.

The City’s delivery of French language services has focused on the Riel District (St. Boniface, St. Vital, and St. Norbert wards), an area which has historically had a large concentration of French-speaking residents. However, Winnipeggers seeking French language services reside throughout the city. The City is committed to improving French language service delivery throughout Winnipeg.

In July 1999, a French Language Services policy Statement was approved by Council. The policy sought to normalize the use of the French language in the delivery of municipal services within the designated areas of the city, and to also serve as an important means to stimulate investment from local, national and international businesses who view the use of the two official languages as an important asset to  Winnipeg.

In May 2001, Council approved the Task Force on the Implementation of French Language Services’ final report. This led to Council adopting By-law 8154/2002 for the Provision of Municipal Services in Both Official Languages, which replaced all previous bylaws regarding French language services, established a plan to implement Part 9 of The City of Winnipeg Charter, and outlined the obligations for French language services for civic departments.

By-law 8154/2002 has not been updated since 2002, and is not reflective of the City’s current governance structure, organizational structure, and current operations. For instance, recent changes to the municipal electoral ward boundaries have altered traditional Riel District boundaries.

In July 2018, Council directed the Public Service to conduct a review of French language services in Winnipeg and report back within one year.

The review of French language services may warrant the establishment of a more contemporary bylaw governing French language services that can more easily adapt to governance, organizational, and operational changes. 

Currently, Part 9 of the Charter supersedes By-law 8154/2002. If any changes are proposed to the bylaw, it may require  amendments to the Charter. Note, changes to the Charter require approval from the provincial government.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the French Language Services Review?

The City is committed to improving French language service delivery throughout Winnipeg. The City undertook a review of its French language services to update and modernize the delivery of civic services and programs to French-speaking residents, and to ensure the appropriate resources are available where they are needed most.

As part of the review, the City engaged with residents and stakeholders to get their feedback on how we can improve, update, and modernize the delivery of City services in French where resources are needed most. The feedback gathered through the engagement process helped to inform recommendations for Council’s consideration.

Date added: May 14, 2019

Why did the City undertake this initiative?

The City is committed to improving French language service delivery throughout Winnipeg.

By-Law 8154/2002 for the Provision of Municipal Services in Both Official Languages has not been updated since 2002 and is not reflective of the City’s current governance structure, organizational structure, and current operations. For instance, recent changes to the municipal electoral ward boundaries have altered traditional Riel District boundaries.

The City undertook a review of French language services to improve, update, and modernize the delivery of civic services and programs to French-speaking residents where resources are needed most. The feedback gathered through the engagement process helped to inform recommendations for Council’s consideration.

Date added: May 14, 2019

What does the City hope to achieve through this initiative?

Winnipeg has the largest population of French speaking residents of all major western Canadian cities. The city is currently experiencing a period of strong population growth, and the city’s French-population is becoming more diverse, as are demands for the delivery of French language services.

The City’s delivery of French language services has focused on the Riel District (St. Boniface, St. Vital, and St. Norbert wards), an area which has historically had a large concentration of French-speaking residents. However, Winnipeggers seeking French language services reside throughout the city. The City is committed to continuing to improve French language service delivery throughout Winnipeg.

The City undertook a review of French language services to improve, update, and modernize the delivery of civic services and programs to French-speaking residents where resources are needed most. The feedback gathered through the engagement process helped to inform recommendations for Council’s consideration.

Date added: May 14, 2019

How can I get involved/provide feedback?

Visit the Engage tab to learn more about how the public was involved in the process.

Date added: May 14, 2019

How can I get regular updates about this initiative?

Join our email list to stay up to date on project progress.

If you would like to stay updated on City of Winnipeg public engagement events, follow the City on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to the City of Winnipeg public engagement newsletter.

Date added: May 14, 2019

Will the City share the results of the public engagement?

Yes. A public engagement summary of what we heard and how it was incorporated is now available online.

Date added: May 14, 2019

What are the next steps?

Executive Policy Committee will review the recommendations put forward by the Public Service.

Date added: May 14, 2019

Where can I learn more about French Language Services at the City?

For more information, please consult City of Winnipeg - French Language Services.

Date added: May 14, 2019

Last update: February 28, 2020