Since 2016, Rochelle Squires has been the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs within the Government of Manitoba. She is also the Minister of Sustainable Development and the Minister responsible for the Status of Women.

The Francophone Affairs Secretariat was created in 1981. Its main responsibility is to advise and support the government, the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs, the departments and the administrative authorities regarding French services as well as the province’s French Language Services Policy. It also processes complaints from the public regarding French services and acts as an intermediary between the government and organizations such as the Société de la francophonie manitobaine that promote the French language.

In addition to reiterating the mandates of the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs and the Francophone Affairs Secretariat, the Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act, adopted on June 30, 2016, mentions the creation of a new Francophone Affairs Advisory Council. Members of this Council are chair of the board of the Société de la francophonie manitobaine, deputy ministers or their designates appointed by the Minister, and members of the Manitoba Francophonie. Its main mandate is to “[…] advise and make recommendations to the minister about matters relating to enhancing the vitality of Manitoba's Francophone community and supporting and assisting its development.”[1]

[1] The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, The Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act. Page consulted online on November 2, 2016.

Overview of the Laws, Policies and Regulations

Section 23 of the Manitoba Act grants the right to use English or French in Parliamentary debates and before the courts. It also stipulates that the archives, reports and proceedings of the Manitoba Legislature, as well as the statutes, must be written in both official languages.

On June 30, 2016, the Government of Manitoba adopted the Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act. The Government established four principles that will be used to guide the application of this Act: recognition of the Manitoba francophonie; the active offer of French services; collaboration and dialogue; and progress towards a gradual increase in French services. The Act stipulates the creation of a Francophone Affairs Advisory Council, a review of the French Language Services Policy every five years and the preparation of multi-year strategic plans for French services by targeted public entities.

Adopted in 1989, the French Language Services Policy governs the delivery of services and communications (e.g. correspondence, documents and notices, websites, use of the media) in French in regions where the French-speaking population is concentrated. The Policy also stipulates that targeted administrative entities must make an active offer of French services, meaning that these services must be evident, available, accessible and of comparable quality to English services.

The entities have to ensure the delivery of French services mainly through designated bilingual service centres. The Policy recognizes six bilingual service regions.

The Bilingual Service Centres Act stipulates that, for each designated region, there must be one or more bilingual service centres to ensure the delivery of government services or programs to the public in the language of the individual’s choice.

Other acts or regulations, in whole or in part, focus on institutions within the community of French-speaking Manitobans or the delivery of French services: the Centre culturel franco-manitobain Act, the Université de Saint-Boniface Act, the Public Schools Act, the Regional Health Authorities Act - French Language Services Regulation, the Regional Health Authorities Act - Bilingual and Francophone Facilities and Programs Designation Regulationthe Child and Family Services Authority Act - French Language Services Regulation and Part 9 of the City of Winnipeg Charter Act.