French university
Ontario's first French-language university will start accepting applications in April 2020. Source: Shutterstock

Ontario will have its first ever French-language university next year.

The Université de l’Ontario français is set to open its doors in Toronto following a funding agreement signed by the provincial and federal governments last month.

The university will cost CA$126 million over the next eight years, according to a press release.

It will open for its first cohort of students in September 2021.

In September 2019, the governments of Canada and Ontario signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally committing to work together to establish the Université de l’Ontario français. 

The agreement affirms both governments’ commitment to address the needs of the more than 620,000 Francophones in Ontario.

Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano said: “We are excited to be able to move forward with full implementation of the Université de l’Ontario français.”

“Our government has always been committed to the university and to supporting access to the education and training needed for rewarding careers and meeting labour market demands for Ontario’s Francophone students.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney said: “The Université de l’Ontario Français is an important and long awaited-for project, critical to future generations of Franco-Ontarians.”

“The new university is a great example of our government’s commitment to strengthening the Francophone community, investing in its future and ensuring the community’s continued contribution to Ontario’s prosperity.”

French-language education for the francophone community

L’Université de l’Ontario français will start accepting applications in April 2020.

According to CIC News, the university will offer programmes in human plurality, globalised economy, urban environments and digital cultures. 

Programmes in management, communications, social work, law and psychology are expected to launch next fall with the help of partnering institutions.

“We’re working with the provincial government to ensure programmes are helping Ontario and Toronto have the workforce needed in several fields where we don’t have enough people specialised and trained,” Vice-President of Program and Knowledge Development Jason Luckerhoff was quoted saying by CIC News.

The administration is also working on creating partnerships with institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe to attract international students.

Once finalised, the partnerships would allow students to receive credits that would be recognised at both the Université de l’Ontario français and the affiliated institution.

French is one of Canada’s two official languages. According to the 2016 Census data, Ontario has 622,415 Francophones.

Almost 10.4 million Canadians can carry on a conversation in French, notes the Canadian government.

French is the fifth-most spoken language in the world, with some 300 million French speakers worldwide. A large percentage of French speakers (44 percent) live in sub-Saharan Africa.

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