Governments of Canada and Ontario announce more than $5.7 million in support for the Université de Hearst in Ontario

News release

HEARST, Ontario, March 28, 2022

The vitality of official language minority communities depends on the right to an education in the language of one’s choice, among other things. During Francophonie Month, the Government of Canada is reaffirming its commitment to protect and promote our two official languages, which are an integral part of our Canadian identity.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, along with Marc G. Serré, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Official Languages, and the Honourable Jill Dunlop, Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities, announced more than $5.7 million in funding for two major projects at the Université de Hearst.

Specifically, the Government of Canada is investing nearly $1.9 million over three years to help the Université de Hearst enhance its academic program offerings and to bolster its reputation as an institution operated by Francophones for Francophones. This funding will also be used to hire faculty and develop a mental health and wellness strategy aimed at student retention and success. On its side, the Université de Hearst is investing more than $1.1 million in this project over three years, with support from the Ontario government.

An additional $887,500 investment from the Government of Canada will allow for renovations to several rooms and spaces, which will encourage learning and better meet the needs of a growing student body. The Université de Hearst, supported by the Ontario government, is investing more than $1.8 million to this project over two years.

Both projects are funded under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction (2020–2021 to 2022–2023).


“To ensure the long-term survival of French, we must continue to invest in post-secondary institutions in official language minority communities. During Francophonie Month, we are proud to reiterate our support for post-secondary institutions and invest in innovative projects that will attract the most talented and give them a quality education in their own language.”

—The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“The funding announced today for these two projects is significant. Modernizing the Université de Hearst’s infrastructure will allow it to enhance its profile as a post-secondary institution of choice. The funding will also stabilize and support the university’s development by welcoming international students and strengthening the support services available to them. This is another concrete measure that demonstrates our support for access to quality education so that Francophone students can pursue rewarding careers and contribute to Canadian society.”

—Marc G. Serré, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Official Languages

“The Ontario government knows the important role Université de Hearst plays in providing students with access to French-language studies in northern Ontario. This is why we’ve taken recent steps to establish Hearst as an independent university with degree-granting authority. We’re proud to continue our support of Hearst with funding for enhanced facilities that will ensure collaborative and innovative learning, and support for mental health initiatives that will ultimately help students succeed in their studies.”

—The Honourable Jill Dunlop, Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities

“L’Université de Hearst appreciates this very significant supplemental financial support announced today by the federal and Ontario governments. It allows us to first stabilize and consolidate our financial situation, while developing and enriching our programs and support services to better serve our growing and increasingly diverse student body. L’Université de Hearst has offered French programs in Northern Ontario for 70 years. The increased enrolment in the last eight years, combined with our signature educational approach and use of technology, means we must modernize the facilities dedicated to learning on our Hearst campus. Today’s announcement comes at an ideal time and allows us to compete the financial arrangements needed to carry out this infrastructure project. Our entire university community will soon realize the benefits.”

—Luc Bussières, Rector, Université de Hearst

Quick facts

  • In 2021, the Government of Ontario issued an autonomous charter for the Université de Hearst, making it the second fully French-language university in Ontario.

  • Budget 2021 provides $80 million over two years (2021–2022 and 2022–2023) to support the construction, renovation and development of educational and community spaces serving official language minority communities. This funding is in addition to the $78.9 million over 10 years announced in Budget 2017 for community education infrastructure in those communities. It also adds to the $67.2 million over five years in the new Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023 for construction projects related to educational and cultural infrastructure in official language minority communities.

  • Budget 2021 also provides $121 million over three years (2021–2022 to 2023–2024) to support high-quality post-secondary education in a minority language. These new investments will be made through existing intergovernmental collaboration mechanisms to help provinces and territories address pressing needs and help stabilize the minority-language post-secondary sector.

  • Federal funding for this project is through the Official Languages Support Programs, whose overall goal is to enhance the vitality of English- and French-speaking minority communities and promote the English and French languages in Canadian society.

  • On March 1, 2022, the Government of Canada introduced an enhanced bill promoting the substantive equality of Canada’s official languages, in order to adapt the Official Languages Act to a changing society. Among other objectives, the bill aims to address the decline of French in Canada, clarify and strengthen the section of the Official Languages Act dealing with the promotion of official languages and support official language minority communities.

Associated links


For more information (media only),
please contact:

Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

Follow us on Twitter: @CdnHeritage, @freetobeme_ca, @SportCanada_en, @Capital_Exp.

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