Canadian. Language. News.

April 26th, 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.
LAD Canada: Onward and Upward to 2022 (Townhall, April 22, 2021)

Indigenous Languages

  • Saskatoon to name future street in Michif language Harriet St. Pierre says she is proud the Michif language is being used to name a street in Saskatoon. 
  • Here's why the grand chief of the Gwich'in Tribal Council changed his name It's been his dream since he was a young adult to change his name to one that's belonged to his family for generations but was obscured by early settlers. And now it's official: The grand chief of the Gwich'in Tribal Council will go by the name Ken Kyikavichik.
  • After 32 years as Skeetchestn chief, Ron Ignace steps aside “I’ll continue working on our language,” Ignace says about his retirement from elected office. “We now have the opportunity, through Bill C-91, to establish our own Secwepemc law to make, within Shuswap territory, Secwepemctsin language to be the official language of the territory.”
  • Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na (TTO) Unveils Building Project While the number of first language speakers is declining across all Mohawk territories, the population of Indigenous Peoples in Canada is growing. The time to build and invest in a next generation of speakers is now. To reverse the decline of Indigenous languages in Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report called for the establishment of more education and cultural spaces.
  • Downtown Spark bringing life back to the core Cree musician Connie LeGrande has put the finishing touches on her new song, Kisemanito, or Kind Creator, a Nehiyaw spiritual. "It's so important to have our languages out there," says LeGrande, an Edmonton-based singer-songwriter known as Cikwes. "It confirms the languages are still here and still alive."
  • Makivik Corporation, the Inuit land claims organization in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec, says it’s moving ahead with the Nunavik self-determination process. “Our new approach aims to be fully transparent and inclusive of all organizations in Nunavik,” said Makivik President Pita Aatami in a news release on Thursday. “We will continue our negotiations with Canada, and we will also start talks with Quebec.” 
  • Indigenous Bar Association calls for permanent spot on Supreme Court of Canada


Francophones, allophones should be forced to attend CEGEP in French, PQ says The Parti Québécois will push for the province's language laws to be applied to the CEGEP network, meaning it wants to force francophone and allophone Quebecers to do their collegial studies in French. At an online meeting Sunday, party members voted overwhelmingly (94 per cent) to back a motion put forward by the PQ's youth wing to extend the application of Bill 101 to CEGEPs.

With Laurentian in mind, Canadian Senate calls for emergency fund for struggling Francophone post-secondary institutions The Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages on April 19 adopted a motion on post-secondary institutions serving official language minority communities in Canada, in light of the financial difficulties some of these institutions, such as Laurentian University, are presently facing.

Quebec likely to use notwithstanding clause again for new language law, despite concerns by court The Quebec government will "probably" use the notwithstanding clause to protect its language law reforms from charter challenges, Premier François Legault said Thursday. His comments come just days after the Quebec Superior Court severely criticized the government for how it used the clause in the Laicity Act, the 2019 law that bans many civil servants from wearing religious symbols at work.

Alberta francophone school boards refuse to pilot test draft curriculum As organizations representing Alberta francophones voice their objections to a proposed new elementary school curriculum, all of the province's French-language school boards have opted not to test the material next year. For the first time, Alberta's school curriculum was simultaneously developed in English and French. But many Franco-Albertans say they are bitterly disappointed with the result.


Immigration/ Settlement, Pandemic and Emergency Communication

  • A 'relief' or too stringent? Ottawa's new pathway for foreign nationals gets mixed reviews in Waterloo region The federal government's new pathway to permanent residency for foreign nationals working in essential jobs such as personal support and health services is drawing mixed reaction in Waterloo region. Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, who announced the new policy last week, said up to 90,000 workers and international graduates already in Canada will be allowed to convert their temporary status to permanent residency.
  • Retaking language test unfair during COVID-19: applicants to new residency pathway "We all had our degrees from Canada and everything was in English," Aman said. "There is no sense (in taking) the test again and again."
  • Q&A with Vaccine Hunters Canada: 'We're just here to get things done' Many Canadians are discovering that finding a vaccination appointment isn’t as easy as it should be. Much of the confusion and concern is centered in Ontario: In addition to implementing frequent changes to eligibility requirements that vary by region, the province is experiencing logistics problems with its decentralized system of delivering shots into arms. The result is that, while Ontario administers more than 100,000 doses a day and has around a million doses in freezers, local health units are cancelling tens of thousands of appointments for lack of supply. 

Language Rights and Advocacy

Locals say multilingual vaccine awareness campaign will fight misinformation, encourage action The rollout of a multilingual education campaign on vaccinations in Windsor-Essex is vital, according to resident Alia Youssef, but she says it's coming out a little late. On Wednesday, several community partners launched a public education campaign to inform eligible residents about the vaccine rollout. In a news release, the City of Windsor said it was important to get this information out considering more than a quarter of those living in the region are born outside of Canada.

Having trouble booking your shot? These volunteer 'vaccine hunters' want to help A group of web-savvy volunteers says they have helped thousands of Canadians book vaccine appointments so far, and they're just getting started. Vaccine Hunters Canada uses social media to help Canadians navigate the sometimes confusing patchwork of vaccine eligibility and availability.

New language-learning app named after late Liberal bilingualism champion

Canada’s Blue Metropolis literary festival set for virtual opening The theme of this year’s festival, which will feature more than 50 events with 200 artists, is The Challenges of Our Times. The festival runs until May 2 and presents free multilingual panels, debates and interviews in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. “This very special edition of the festival is presented during a pandemic which isn’t letting up, but which has not got the better of our great energy and our endless will,” said William St-Hilaire, Blue Metropolis Executive and Artistic Director.

The Government of Canada Confirms Official Languages Funding for 19 Community Organizations in Manitoba WINNIPEG, MB, April 15, 2021 /CNW/ - Official-language minority communities in Canada face considerable challenges to maintain their language and their identity. To ensure the vitality and future of linguistic minority communities, the Government of Canada is making real investments so that all Canadians can reap the economic and cultural benefits of our official languages.

The Government of Canada Confirms Almost $3 Million in Official Languages Funding in Saskatchewan REGINA, SK, April 15, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Official-language minority communities in Canada are in a constant struggle to hold onto their language, uphold their rights and maintain their ability to live in the language of their choice. The Government of Canada supports Canadians living in linguistic minority communities by investing in community partners that are providing the tools and opportunities to help their members learn and retain the language.

Language Advocacy Day Canada 2021: Keynote speech by Min Sook Lee
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