The Government of Canada provides more than $2.4 million to Les Essentielles to support Francophone women in Whitehorse

News release

WHITEHORSE, August 8, 2023

The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of strengthening the capacity of organizations in official-language minority communities to improve access to their programs and services.

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages, accompanied by Brendan Hanley, Member of Parliament (Yukon), announced more than $2.4 million in funding to Les Essentielles to allow the organization to purchase a commercial property in Whitehorse. Funding for this project will strengthen the organization’s mission to support Franco-Yukoner women in minority language communities.

The organization will now be able to set up permanent offices to carry out cultural and artistic activities, exhibitions, family respite services and violence awareness workshops to meet the specific needs of Franco-Yukoner women. The new commercial property will provide an adapted and functional space that will allow the organization to expand its range of services and strengthen its visibility and presence in the community. It will house offices, meeting rooms and facilities, among other features.

This announcement is also part of the ongoing efforts of the Government of Yukon—which is contributing $300,000 to this project—to support organizations working to ensure gender equality and promote the vitality of Francophone minority communities.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is also contributing $3,000 to this project.

This project is made possible through support from the Development of Official-Language Communities Program and the Community Spaces Fund, which provides funding to official-language minority communities to create spaces where community members can take part in a variety of activities.

In addition to funding this important project, the Government of Canada is providing Les Essentielles with $93,000 for its 2023–2024 programming under the Cooperation with the Community Sector component of the Development of Official-Language Communities Program.


“This space is important as it will allow Francophone women to come together, exchange ideas, obtain services and forge strong ties within their community. It’s a major step forward in our commitment to advance gender equality and ensure the vitality of Franco-Yukoners in official-language minority communities.”

—The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages

“This project is a unique opportunity to partner with the Government of Canada and Les Essentielles, which has been providing valuable community-based services to French-speaking Yukoners for almost 30 years. Our government is proud to support the vitality of our growing Yukon Francophone community and thanks to strong initiatives like this, ensuring that it thrives for generations to come.”

—The Honourable John Streicker, Yukon Minister responsible for the French Language Services Directorate

“Les Essentielles is one of several gender equity-seeking organizations in our territory, and the only one serving French-speaking women as their primary audience. I want to congratulate them on securing the funding to purchase their own commercial space, which will create organizational stability and bolster community infrastructure. We look forward to working with organizations in the gender-equity sector on innovative ideas and projects to improve community supports and infrastructure for women, girls and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. Creating a more equitable society where everyone feels represented and supported is the goal we are all striving for.”

—The Honourable Jeanie McLean, Yukon Minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate

“This funding for the acquisition of our office building not only gives us stability, but also allows us to generate rental income to support our projects and develop the adjacent vacant lot to meet the growing needs of Yukon’s Francophone community. This crucial step reinforces our mission to build a feminist, equitable and inclusive society, where Franco-Yukoner women can reach their full potential in a safe and healthy environment.”

—Maryne Dumaine, Chair, Les Essentielles

Quick facts

  • Les Essentielles, founded in 1995, is a non-profit organization whose mandate is to provide services to women from Yukon’s French-speaking minority community. It represents and supports these women in their development and involvement in the Franco-Yukoner community. The organization offers artistic and cultural activities, exhibitions, respite services for families, and workshops to raise awareness about violence.

  • The Action Plan for Official Languages 2023–2028, launched on April 26, 2023, provides for an additional $47 million over five years to support the construction, renovation and development of educational and community spaces serving official-language minority communities. This funding is in addition to the $14.8 million per year provided in the previous Action Plan and the $80 million announced in Budget 2021 for community education infrastructure in these communities. Some of these investments are part of the Community Spaces Fund.

  • The Community Spaces Fund provides non-profit organizations in minority language communities with the space they need to offer social and cultural activities and services in their language. These gathering places encourage dialogue and support development at the individual and community level. Creating these spaces strengthens the capacity of these organizations and supports community revitalization.

  • On June 20, 2023, Bill C-13, the Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages, received Royal Assent. Among other things, the Act aims to address the decline of French in Canada and to clarify and strengthen the promotion of official languages, while supporting official-language minority communities.

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For more information (media only), please contact:

Marianne Blondin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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