OCUFA’s statement on the new memorandum of understanding regarding the Université de l’Ontario Français

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OCUFA cautiously welcomes news that the provincial and federal governments have reached a memorandum of understanding in which they both recognize the importance of meeting the postsecondary needs of Ontario’s growing Francophone population.

In the 2018 Ontario election, Doug Ford promised to move forward with the Université de l’Ontario français – a project set into motion by the previous government as a French-language university by and for Francophones. However, less than six months after the election, Ford promptly cancelled the project.

This was followed by a year of Doug Ford’s government aggressively undermining public postsecondary education in Ontario, including the introduction of a reckless new funding formula, cuts to university budgets and OSAP, and attacks on student unions and student media. Further, since taking office, Ford and his Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities have consistently refused to meet or consult with faculty and students.

This pattern of behaviour leads to serious concerns about Doug Ford’s support for the province’s public postsecondary education system and whether he can be trusted to resurrect the Université de l’Ontario français.

Ontario’s university faculty, especially those teaching at institutions already serving the province’s Francophone and Francophile students, have a unique and vital perspective on their educational needs. As plans for the Université de l’Ontario français once again start to gain momentum, it will be critical that faculty voices are incorporated into this government’s vision of Francophone postsecondary education in Ontario.

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