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OUR LANGUAGE RIGHTS
Canadian. Language. News.

May 10th, 2021
Welcome to OUR LANGUAGE RIGHTS, bi-weekly curation of language related news across Canada brought to you by LAD Canada, a community of forward-thinking organizations and individuals in the non-profit, public and private sectors, driven by the desire to make a positive impact by advocating for access to information and services in languages people understand.

Indigenous Languages

Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) is proud to announce the expansion of its early learning language pilot projects across the province. On the brink of extinction, Michif had less than 700 fluent speakers in Canada, making this irreplaceable pillar of Métis history at risk of being lost forever. Language is a vital part of identity.
The Indigenous Voices Awards were established in 2017 with the support of a fundraising campaign launched in response to the online furor over an editorial in Write magazine proposing a Canadian literary prize for cultural appropriation. This year, a total of $39,000 will be split among the winners on National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.
The Ininew Friendship Centre (IFC) and Moose Cree First Nation have released
a new free app for Cree learners. Launched in early April, the Moose Cree Language App is currently available on iOS only. The app features a syllabics chart, audio pronunciations and different categories such as basics, camping, food, weather and time.

Francophone

Interpreters who have been the French or English voice of politicians and top doctors for the public during the COVID-19 pandemic say a federal department has told them that if they fall ill, they don't have benefits. The Canadian chapter of the International Association of Conference Interpreters recently penned a letter to Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand asking for her help.

New multi-year bursaries are available to students on P.E.I. who want to pursue French-language post-secondary studies that are not offered on the Island. For example, it would include those taking a nursing degree in French. Students who graduate from a French language school or French immersion program on P.E.I. may be eligible for up to $1,500 a year for a college level program, and up to $2,000 a year for a bachelor's degree.

Immigration/ Settlement, Pandemic and Emergency Communication

Manitobans booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by phone can now get service in more than 100 languages. The provincial government announced the expanded service on Wednesday, which includes accommodating requests for an interpreter, available by phone, at a super site on the day of vaccination.
Doctors across Canada are banding together to encourage racialized communities most at risk of COVID-19 infection to get vaccinated against the virus. A new campaign called This is Our Shot launches today with a virtual town hall moderated by Olympian Clara Hughes and featuring doctors from various ethnic groups. The aim is to dispel myths and answer questions about the vaccines in more than two dozen languages.

Language barriers are an age-old problem for immigrants and refugees, affecting everything from housing to health care, education to employment. But the pandemic has meant there’s more to translate than ever and there have been dire consequences for those who can’t read the vital information. The “infodemic” weighs more heavily on families like Nguyen’s, who don’t get translations of government information as quickly or completely compared to official languages, if at all.
A new federal program could give thousands of temporary migrant workers, including those who come to Southwestern Ontario farms every year, a path to permanent residency in Canada. But some eligibility requirements, including a high level of English at the time of applying, could limit how many workers might benefit from the program, migrant worker advocates say.

Language Rights and Advocacy

Parents at four Toronto Catholic schools are calling on the board to drop mandatory language classes, arguing they're arbitrary, expensive and distract from the core curriculum that the province has insisted schools follow. A local trustee with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) has taken up their cause with a motion that would give parents greater choice when it comes to the international languages (IL) program.
New questions in the
2021 Census will allow for better data on Indigenous peoples and veterans. We have also added questions designed to support minority language rights holders, and to ensure the census counts transgender and non-binary Canadians. This year’s census will also be available in 25 languages as well as in alternate accessible formats. Our government believes that everyone counts. So we count everyone.
A campaign to establish a chair in Tamil studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough – the first of its kind in Canada – has reached its $3-million philanthropic goal.  More than 3,800 donors gave to the grassroots campaign, which was spearheaded by the Canadian Tamil Congress and Tamil Chair Inc. in 2018. Since then, individuals, businesses, governments and community organizations have pitched in with support.
While "hello" might not be that long in the tooth, that doesn’t mean we didn’t greet each other before it came along. In fact, we find a number of different English greetings "dating" as far back as Old English, well over 1,000 years ago.
(A History of Greetings).
LAD Canada: Onward and Upward to 2022 (Townhall, April 22, 2021)
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