Government of Canada provides $2.7 million in funding for a new community and cultural centre at Foyer Richelieu Welland

News release

WELLAND, Ontario, January 10, 2023

The French and English languages are a treasure for our country. Institutions like Foyer Richelieu Welland serve an official-language minority community and contribute to the sustainability of French. The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of helping these communities create and maintain strong institutions, by assuring their vitality.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, announced support of more than $2.7 million for Foyer Richelieu Welland to build a new community and cultural centre. She was accompanied by Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament (Niagara Centre).

This new Government of Canada investment will allow for the construction and development of a community and cultural centre that can accommodate at least 500 people each day. This centre will be designed to encourage gatherings and will improve services to Francophones by offering things such as:

  • various training courses in French in fully equipped meeting and training spaces;
  • support and respite services in French for caregivers;
  • a cultural program, including community shows; and
  • a social program, including cooking classes and community barbecues to bring people together in the new space.

These programs and services will be available to all users, including residents, day hospice and day centre participants, and their families.

This project will directly contribute to the vitality of Welland’s Francophone community. In addition, it will raise community awareness of the aging population and will encourage intergenerational integration.

The project began in October 2020. Since then, the Government of Canada has provided more than $4.7 million to this project through the Community Spaces Fund.

Quotes

“The Foyer Richelieu Welland is an anchor in the Francophone community. Today’s investment will allow the centre to expand its services to Francophone seniors and their loved ones. These new services will help prevent isolation by giving them the opportunity to meet and interact in their own language while providing a healthy and pleasant living environment.”

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

“The construction of this new community centre will give our Francophone community in Niagara Centre new momentum. Foyer Richelieu Welland continues to be a strong anchor for the community. I’m thrilled to announce this added investment of $2.7 million, totaling $4.7 million for this project, which will contribute to its growth, strengthening health and well-being, as well as our community’s French culture and heritage.”

—Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament (Niagara Centre)

“The federal investment will improve the daily lives of residents because the community will come to their home. This centre will create a community within a community where Francophones in Niagara and Southern Ontario can come together and celebrate their wonderful culture in a multi-generational environment.”

—Sean Keays, CEO, Foyer Richelieu Welland

“This investment will improve our centre for another generation by preserving our culture and our language for Francophone seniors in Southern Ontario.”

—Muriel Thibault-Gauthier, President of the Board, Foyer Richelieu Welland

Quick facts

  • Foyer Richelieu Welland is a non-profit organization located in Welland, on the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario. Its mission is to provide services to Francophones with long-term care needs.

  • Budget 2021 provided funding of $80 million over a two-year period (2021–22 and 2022–23) to help build, renovate and develop educational and community spaces serving official-language minority communities. This funding is in addition to the $67.2 million over five years provided in the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 to support school and cultural infrastructure building projects in official-language minority communities. A portion of these investments is allocated to the Community Spaces Fund.

  • The Community Spaces Fund enables non-profit organizations working in minority communities to develop spaces to offer community and cultural activities and services in their language. These meeting places, conducive to exchanges, will contribute to the individual and social development of the community. Creating these living spaces builds organizational capacity and supports community revitalization.

  • On March 1, 2022, the Government of Canada introduced an improved bill aimed at substantive equality of official languages in Canada to adapt the Official Languages Act to a changing society. Among other things, this bill aims to remedy the decline of French in Canada, clarify and enhance the section of the Official Languages Act concerning the promotion of official languages, and support official language minority communities.

  • On February 19, 2021, Minister Mélanie Joly outlined the Government of Canada’s intentions to modernize and strengthen the Official Languages Act and related instruments in the document English and French: Towards Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada. The document proposes a range of changes and new measures to reach a new linguistic balance in Canada.

  • The document represents an ambitious reform with 56 proposals that affect almost every part of the Act. Of these, 33 are legislative amendments to strengthen sections of the Act.

  • The third guiding principle of this reform document concerns the importance of supporting official-language minority community institutions.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
marianne.blondin@acoa-apeca.gc.ca

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819-994-9101
1-866-569-6155
media@pch.gc.ca

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