On February 29th, The Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise (ACF) celebrated its 100th anniversary. For a century, this organisation has defended the rights of Saskatechewan Francophones and has acted as spokesperson for the Fransaskois community. But who are the Fransaskois? I asked the question to Denis Simard, director general of the organization, who will inform us about the status of the French language in this Canadian prairies province.

To define the term “Fransaskois” Mr. Simard refers us to the official definition found in the Report of The Commission on Inclusion of the Fransaskois community:  

 “A Fransaskois is someone who identifies him- or herself with the Saskatchewan Francophone community, today or in the past, whether through birth, marriage or adoption or by identifying with the Fransaskois community, who contributes to the vitality of the French language as well as the growth and development of the French-speaking communities in Saskatchewan, while acknowledging that there are many ways to make a contribution.”

Saskatchewan’s Francophone community is composed of approximately 52,000 people, of which 17,000 are French first language speakers. However, Francophiles are also included in this community. “This is an inclusive community,” says Mr. Simard. “This is a community that is friendly and welcoming, for those, whose first language is French as well as for the new generation of Francophones, such as immigrants and those migrating from other parts of Canada.”

By defending political rights and policies and by providing employment, immigration and community development services, the ACF is the governing body of the province’s Francophone community.  “We want to ensure that there are always jobs for Francophones and, with regards to immigration, we seek to increase and culturally diversify our population,” says its director.

Centennial Organisation!

To mark its 100th anniversary, the ACF decided to partner with the Town of Duck Lake, which is also celebrating a century of existence. “We visited the town which in 1912, hosted the meeting that led to the founding of the first Fransaskois community organisation,” says Mr. Simard.  “At the time, 450 Francophones had come together in this town to create an organization in their image.”

Denis Poirrier, mayor of the Town of Duck Lake, Wayne Elhard, provincial secretary and Heppelle Paul, president of the ACF.

Although Saskatchewan’s Francophone community is dynamic, the fact remains that it is facing significant challenges, particularly in regards to the aging population. “55% of the Francophone population is aged 55 and over,” says Mr. Simard. “We have an aging population which means that many of our towns are vulnerable because the population is not replaced by the next generation of young Francophones.”

Still, Mr. Simard is optimistic about the survival of French in Saskatchewan. He believes that the economic recovery and immigration will bring new energy to the province’s Francophone community. “We are anxiously awaiting the next census statistics. Our community should see an increase due to immigration,” he hopes.

Happy anniversary to the ACF! Cheers to another 100 years!

Philippe Daoust

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The Hon. Shelly Glover

The Hon. Shelly Glover

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

All across the country, millions of Francophones and Francophiles are contributing in many ways to our society. On the road to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie offers an opportunity to highlight these contributions to Canada.

This year, the Rendez-vous invites us to come together under the theme La Joie de vivre, ça nous rassemble. Whether we grew up with French or discovered the language later in life, we all share a Francophone heritage that is a source of both pleasure and pride.

On behalf of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Government of Canada, I encourage Canadians to take part in the 17th Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. I would like to thank the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue for ensuring its success.

Andrée Lortie

Andrée Lortie

President of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue

The period surrounding Journée international de la Francophonie on March 20, 2015 is an opportunity for more than 270 million Francophones on 5 continents to celebrate their various cultures.

In Canada, Canadians will express their attachment to linguistic duality and the French language in particular at the Rendez-vous de la francophonie (RVF).

The 2015 edition of the RVF will be an opportunity to celebrate Canada’s Francophones in all communities in our country. I ask Francophones to invite their Anglophone friends and neighbours to attend any of the 1,800 activities that are organized as part of the RVF this year.

With the theme Joie de vivre: Ça nous rassemble (Joie de vivre: it brings us together), the RVF wants to show that linguistic duality in Canada is not a legal obligation, but a way of life that distinguishes us as Canadians and reinforces our common values and how we identify ourselves.

I wish to thank all our partners, sponsors and friends, particularly the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Enjoy the Rendez-vous 2015.

Happy RVF 2014!

Jean-Marc Fournier

Jean-Marc Fournier

Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie

The 17th edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, a series of major events for Francophones and Francophiles from around the world, demonstrates a deep collective attachment to the French language and the richness of the Francophonie.

A language of pride, culture, science, reflection, innovation, and entrepreneurship, French is spoken all over the world and opens up possibilities for all who have mastered it.

The Francophonie is one of the fundamental characteristics of Canadian identity. Québec, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of Confederation, wishes to highlight the Canadian Francophonie’s essential contribution to enriching the country, as well as the many possibilities it provides to the Canada of tomorrow.

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

The Hon. Madeleine Meilleur

Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs

The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is a must-attend annual event. It is an opportunity to get together and celebrate Francophone culture and heritage across the country.

This year, Ontario’s Francophonie is celebrating its 400th anniversary, and numerous events and activities will highlight this historic moment, projected on to the international stage by the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games hosted by the province this summer.

2015 will be a truly memorable year for Francophones, and I invite you all to participate in this great commemoration of 400 years of French presence in Ontario.

Calin Rovinescu

Calin Rovinescu

President & CEO, Air Canada

Celebrating joie de vivre in French!

As a national carrier, Air Canada is proud to support the recognition of French-speaking Canada. For its 17th edition, Les rendez-vous de la Francophonie will highlight important contributions by the country’s francophones. Every day, we witness how the French language pulls together the different cultural communities in Canada. We are therefore very pleased to join in celebrating the bonds formed through this language that is a source of joie de vivre

John W. Crichton

John W. Crichton

President and CEO of NAV CANADA

"Joie de vivre brings us together"

is a perfect theme to express and celebrate the contributions that francophones and francophiles have made to our diverse and vibrant communities. Whether it is through the provision of bilingual air traffic services or sponsorship of Les rendez vous, NAV CANADA is proud to play a role in bringing all Canadians together to experience some of the best francophone cultural events Canada has to offer.
Bons rendez-vous!

Claude Joli-Cœur

Claude Joli-Cœur

Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada

The Rendez-vous de la Francophonie offers many wonderful opportunities to revel in the rich culture of Canada’s diverse French-speaking communities, and to discover—or rediscover—what makes them unique through the encounters and exchanges taking place across the country.

For the 10th year in a row, the National Film Board of Canada is joining in the celebrations, bringing French speakers and francophiles together to enjoy films that reflect these inclusive values, with three programs for the big screen and a special selection online at

Enjoy the festival!