University of Ottawa launches a new partnership with the University of Sudbury to bolster university programs taught in French in Northern Ontario

International and Francophonie
Photo of the partnership with the University of Sudbury
In September 2025, the University of Sudbury could welcome its first cohort of students recruited under a partnership with the University of Ottawa. President Jacques Frémont joined the University of Sudbury team in announcing this news and in answering questions from the many journalists on site in Sudbury.

In June 2023, the Government of Ontario denied the University of Sudbury’s request for operational funding to establish itself as an independent university managed “by and for” Francophones. However, in this same letter, the Ministry confirmed its willingness to work with all Francophone educational insitutions to help provide high-quality post-secondary education to residents of Northern Ontario, thereby acknowledging the significant lack of university programs in French in this area of the province.

Discussions between the two universities had begun even before the government’s decision. Moreover, last fall, the provincial government’s own Blue-Ribbon Panel on Post-Secondary Education Financial Sustainability had encouraged institutions to work together to broaden access to academic programs by collaborating on administrative structures.

Thanks to this collaborative model,  the University of Sudbury maintains its independence and governance “by and for” Francophones. The third principle of the agreement is that these measures be cost neutral for uOttawa, which is particularly important given the financial position of Ontario’s universities.

The University of Sudbury analyzed its needs and the programs of interest to Francophones in Northern Ontario communities, and has turned to the University of Ottawa for help in offering these services. Over the coming months, the University of Ottawa will support the University of Sudbury in implementing and sharing academic and administrative services (including IT tools and access to library resources). The University of Sudbury will create new programs based on the learning outcomes of courses offered at the University of Ottawa, thus allowing for the transfer of credits applicable to degrees jointly offered by both institutions.

This historic cooperation agreement was announced in the presence of distinguished guests, most notably Didier Pomerleau, who is Ontario’s assistant deputy minister for French language education , and Peter Hominuk, who is executive director of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario.

Following the announcement, the Ministry of Colleges and Universities published the following message:

“The Ministry welcomes today’s announcement of a partnership agreement between the University of Ottawa and the University of Sudbury. Today’s agreement signifies a notable collaboration between French-language post-secondary institutions in advancing high-quality post-secondary French-language education in Ontario that will meet the needs of students. We welcome this commitment, which we expect will positively impact students, professors and the entire community. This partnership could serve as a template for future initiatives to improve accessibility and enhance the overall quality of education in French in the province.”

A more official version of the agreement will be finalized in the coming months to allow the University of Sudbury to recruit the first cohort of students under this new partnership, who would arrive on its campus in September 2025.