Constitutional Conference, Committee of Ministers on Official Languages, Meeting No. 3 Progress Report

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Document No. 270
August 14, 1970


Meeting No. 3
May 25, 1970


Committee of Ministers on Official Languages


The Committee of Ministers on Official Languages met on
May 25th, 1970.

The Committee considered proposals for a federal-provincial
programme of cooperation with respect to bilingualism in the field of
education. These proposals had been developed following bilateral
consultations between the federal government and individual provincial
governments. These consultations had proceeded in accordance with
the conclusion of the Constitutional Conference in December 1969 that
there should be bilateral consultations concerning the policy of the
Government of Canada following upon the recommendations in Volume II
of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism.

The Ministers agreed that the governments would want to meet
the following objectives:

– to ensure, in so far as it is feasible, that all
Canadians have the opportunity to educate their
children in the official language of their choice;

– to ensure, in so far as it is feasible, that school
children in Canada are given the opportunity to
learn, as a second language, the other official
language of Canada.

It was recognized that governments have already taken significant
steps toward the achievement of these goals. At the same time, the
Ministers supported the idea of federal financial assistance to
facilitate further progress. It was understood that any action to
be taken in providing financial assistance would not infringe the
field of provincial jurisdiction in matters of education.

The Committee examined formulas which might be used
for the distribution of the funds earmarked for the programme,
and adopted the concept of full-time students or the equivalent for
both minority- and second-language instruction.

The members of the Committee agreed that, for purposes
of this programme, any student in elementary or primary school
who receives 75% or more of his instruction in the minority language
would be considered a full-time student. A student who receives
60% or more of his instruction in secondary and post-secondary
institutions (other than universities) in the minority language would
be equivalent to a full-time student. The percentages for each
level would apply to all students in a province. A student receing
less than the relevant percentages of his instruction in the minority
language would be considered as a fraction of a full-time student. 1
One the basis of this formula, the Federal Government would pay each
province, for each full-time student equivalent, an amount equal to
9% of that province’s average instruction cost per student. Furthermore,
to help cover the additional administrative costs that minority
language instruction would entail for the province, the Federal
Government would pay an amount equal to 1 1/2% of that province’s
average instruction cost per student. This sum would be calculated
on the total number of students of the official-language minority,
whether such students are already studying in their mother tongue
or not. The formula also provides that the Federal Government would
pay to each province, for second-language instruction, an amount
equal to 5% of that province’s average instruction cost per student;
the number of students would be determined according to the “full-
time student” formula explained above.

It was agreed in principle, subject to further consulta-
tion on the detailed application of the programme, that such federal
grants should apply to the following level of instructions:

– officially recognized and provincially supported
teaching at the elementary and secondary levels;

– provincially recognized technical instruction
at the secondary levels;

– credit courses for adults at the primary and
secondary levels;

– correspondence courses recognized by Departments
of Education;

– officially recognized specialized courses for
the blind and the deaf;

– post-secondary education (other than university)
diploma students (CEGEP, community colleges and
technical institutes).

It was agreed, further, to recommend to governments that this
formula should be adopted for a trial period of 18 months, after which
it would be re-examined to assess its adequacy in the light of

It was recognized that all the provinces would not be
entering the programme at the same starting point that funds would
be needed to assist certain provinces to “catch up” with others.
Consequently the Federal Government also declared its willingness to
consider assisting special “catch-up” projects to the extent that these
projects could be financed from the funds allocated for this programme.

The Committee agreed that there should be further
discussions between the federal and provincial governments to work
out the details of implementing the programme and applying the
formula accepted by the various governments. Such consultations
would also be concerned with developing the agreement in principle
to use the services of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics for the
collection of the information required for the smooth operation of
the programme. One province suggested that these consultations could
consider the collection of the required information in the manner used
for the 1967 federal-provincial agreements on the financing of post-
secondary education.

Subject to any direction from the Constitutional
COnference, the Committee of Ministers would plan to meet again
before the end of 1970, to review progress in the implementation
of the new programme, to consider other recommendations of the
Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and to
consider constitutional aspects of official languages.

1 Therefore a student receiving 40% of his instruction in the
minority language, is considered the equivalent of 4/10 of a
full-time student.

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