In March, we celebrate the month of La Francophonie! Did you know? There are more than 300 million French speakers around the world. Canada is a proud member of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, working with Francophone partners to promote our common values, including peace, democracy, diversity, and respect for human rights. Canada was one of the founding members of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation in 1970, which became the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) in 2005. On March 20th, the 88 member states of the OIF will celebrate the International Day of La Francophonie.
French is not simply a language in Canada, but a culture and a community with their own unique traditions. Francophone culture first arrived in Canada with French settlers during the period of British rule in the region. French Canadian culture shares many similarities with French culture, especially in the common usage of the French language. Canadians have since forged their own identity on the culture, known for their “joie de vivre,” artistic and culinary traditions and beautiful sights and performances. In 1969, the Official Languages Act came into force in Canada. The Act recognized the equal status of English and French, and gave all English- and French-speaking Canadians the right to communicate with the federal government and to receive government services in the language of their choice.
Canada’s participation in this community allows Canadians to benefit from a linguistic duality and diversity in our culture, as well as offering incredible opportunities to explore other French cultures. This month, Canada joins Francophones around the world in celebrating the spirit and traditions that the French language and culture brings to Canada and the international community. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be launching our next Connect2Canada Spotlight series which will shine a light on the many events and activities happening across the U.S. along with celebratory messages from staff from coast to coast.