Canada’s two official languages – English and French – are fundamental to its national identity, and have helped shape a country in which people from diverse cultures, origins, and religions feel at home.
The Government of Canada has an official language strategy to encourage the use of English and French across the country, and to improve the conditions to enable official-language minority communities (OLMC) – English-speaking Canadians in Quebec and French-speaking Canadians outside Quebec - to flourish for the benefit of all Canadians.
The Enabling Fund for OLMC, as part of a National Strategy contributes to OLMC’s economic vitality and labour market participation through investments in 14 OLMC organizations that provide professional community economic development and human resources development support in 50 locations across Canada. Sustained investments in OLMC capacity and flexible design are key aspects of these efforts. They allow incremental development of OLMC capacity to attract investment, promote entrepreneurial culture, provide support and services to enhance skills and growth potential of OLMC businesses, and respond to local OLMC needs and opportunities.
A successful initiative for youth, the PERCÉ program, funded in part by the Prince Edward Island Economic Development and Employability Network, is a recognized good practice for the recruitment and retention of skilled youth in OLMC. The objective of the program is to incite Francophone youth who have left their community for post-secondary studies to return for a labour market experience.
The Program offers students enrolled in university or college the opportunity to take part in paid internships with a local employer, and in their area of study and interest. Youth benefit from an orientation week covering personal and professional development themes; visiting workplaces and meeting key players from their communities. They are also informed about organizations that can help them to set up a business and settle in Prince Edward Island.
In addition to forging links with local employers, the program offers youth a heightened awareness of the economic opportunities in Island communities. Youth also benefit from training related to employment skills, entrepreneurship and the opportunities to build professional networks. Of those who complete the program, 82% stay in Prince Edward Island to work.
For additional information on the Enabling Fund, consult: http://www.esdc.gc.ca/eng/communities/olmc/index.shtml
For additional information on the PERCÉ’ program, consult: http://percepe.ca/accueil