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Introduction

This document presents the results of research conducted in fall 2008 and winter 2009 in the Francophone community of Calgary, Alberta. Conducted by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, this research is the third phase of a multi-year action-research project aimed at better understanding the practical aspects of assessing community vitality. The first phase was carried out in 2006 with three Francophone communities in urban settings, and the second in 2007 with three English-speaking communities in Quebec.

This report consists of four sections. Section 1 describes the context of the study and the methodology used. Section 2 sets out a brief profile of the Calgary area Francophone community. Section 3 gives an overview of the various best practices in the community. Section 4 presents logic models and indicators produced and validated by the task force and retained by the research team. It also provides information sources that can be used to verify these indicators. Finally, Section 5 presents the conclusion of the report. Following the conclusion are a list of documents consulted (Appendix A) and a list of task force members (Appendix B).

1. Methodology

In carrying out the mandate provided by the Office of the Commissioner, the research team followed a step-by-step methodology similar to that used in previous phases. This methodology was designed to ensure optimal participation of the communities selected, in an effort to focus on the opinions and aspirations of the communities concerned while helping to strengthen their capacities for planning and for evaluating community vitality. The methodology has also been refined based on lessons learned in the previous two phases.

In cooperation with the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta (ACFA), leaders of the Alberta Francophone community (the steering committee) were first selected and consulted to support the consultants' work and to establish the general directions of the study. The steering committee determined the community to be studied, priority sectors and other research criteria. It was agreed that the study would look at Calgary's Francophone community and that the priority sectors would be the following: governance, visibility and diversity, communication and government services.

With the help of the steering committee, a task force was set up, consisting of 20 community leaders and key stakeholders from various organizations, service agencies and regional priority sectors. This group held an initial meeting on January 10, 2009, during which it established the community's expectations in the four priority sectors. These results took the form of logic models. During the second meeting on February 28, 2009, the task force reviewed and refined the logic models, and then chose indicators to measure the achievement of anticipated results and discussed sources of data to use in this community evaluation. Best practices that were recognized by the community were also presented.

This report was developed based on this work and on the collection and analysis of other pertinent documents and information on the Calgary Francophone community.

2. Profile of the Calgary Francophone community

2.1. Population

2.1.1. HistoryFootnote 1

La Vérendrye is said to have explored the north and south branches of the Saskatchewan River in the 1740s. He was followed by other explorers, coureurs de bois, and the fur traders from the Hudson Bay and North West companies. In the mid-19th century, missionary priests established the first French Catholic parishes, including Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix, founded in 1875—the same year that Fort Brisebois was founded at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers by the North West Mounted Police, now the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The small village that developed at this site became Rouleauville in 1886, named after the Rouleau brothers (one, a judge; the other, a doctor), who showed their allegiance to the Francophone community by establishing a Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste. French-speaking nuns from the orders Companions of Jesus (teachers) and Grey Nuns (nurses) founded the first schools and hospitals in southern Alberta. However, the rapid development of Calgary as an economic centre of Alberta led to the arrival of large numbers of non-French-speaking migrants and immigrants, causing the town to gradually lose its Francophone identity. Despite all this, in 1963 Francophone parishioners built the Sainte-Famille church in the Mission district, the old site of Rouleauville, thereby ensuring a continued Francophone presence in this area.

Over the past 100 years, other waves of Francophone migration to Alberta have followed the province's economic fortunes. These include the arrival of the French in Calgary in the 1950s to work in oil company head offices, the arrival of professors for Calgary's new university and for community and technical colleges, and the arrival of public servants in the 1970s to fill designated bilingual positions following the implementation of the Official Languages Act. There was also the recruitment of French-speaking teachers for French immersion schools and for local French-language schools, and of employees and contractors serving this growing French-speaking population.

2.1.2. Demographics

According to the 2006 Census conducted by Statistics Canada, the number of people in Calgary with FrenchFootnote 2 as first official language spokenFootnote 3 has reached 16,235.Footnote 4

2.1.3. Language

Examining the population according to different linguistic variables provides insight on the composition of the Francophone community, its linguistic vitality and its language use in both private and public spaces.

According to the 2006 Census, 4,805 people in Calgary reported French as the language spoken most often at home, 990 reported speaking both English and French and 395 reported speaking French and another non-official language, or even English, French, and a non-official language.Footnote 5

Regarding the use of French in the workplace, 1,535 people reported that French was the language they use most often at work, 1,075 people reported using both French and English, and 90 people reported using French, English and a non-official language, for a total of 2,700 individuals using French in the workplace. Women account for three-quarters of the people who reported using French the most often at work.Footnote 6

Of the total population of the Calgary census metropolitan area, 84,675 people (7.9%) reported knowing French or both French and English. The vast majority of Calgary Francophones speak both official languages. Of the 590 people who spoke only French, 385 reported French as their mother tongue, and 175 reported having a mother tongue that was not an official language.Footnote 7

2.1.4. Age

In 2006, the majority of the Calgary Francophone population with French as a first official language consisted of adults aged 20 to 64 (78.9%). The proportion of youth under the age of 20, which accounts for 10.8% of the Francophone population, is almost identical to that of seniors aged 65 and over, which accounts for 10.3%. An interesting fact: in the Calgary region, there are 2,525 youth aged 5 to 19 who speak French as a first official language (alone or in combination with English).Footnote 8 The two French-language school boards report 1,790 students enrolled in their schools.

2.1.5. Socioeconomic conditions

Calgary has a higher level of education than the average for Alberta as a whole. In fact, only 18.1% of this population does not have a certificate, diploma or degree. The corresponding figure for all Albertans is 23.4%. While the proportion of the population with a high school diploma or equivalent is similar in Calgary and in Alberta as a whole (25.7% and 26.2%, respectively), the proportion of Calgarians with a university certificate, diploma or degree is 24.7%, compared with only 17.5% for the province.Footnote 9

In Calgary, the educational level for the Francophone population (according to first official language spoken) is slightly higher than that of the population as a whole. In 2006, approximately 85.9% of the Francophone population had a certificate, diploma or degree, compared with 81.9% of the whole population aged 15 and over. In addition, 27.7% of Francophones held a university degree, compared with 24.7% of the overall population.Footnote 10

The 2006 Census data shows us that, according to the first official language spoken, Francophones have slightly higher average and median incomes.Footnote 11 A socioeconomic profile of the Calgary area, produced in 2001 for the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité of Canada, also shows that the Francophone population as a whole has average employment, economic activity and unemployment rates.Footnote 12

2.2. Organizational capacity

In the early stages of Alberta's colonization, Catholic churches provided Francophones with opportunities for socializing and community-building. Even still today, many Francophones in the Calgary area, especially seniors, gather at the Sainte-Famille parish church. In the 1970s, the Société franco-canadienne de Calgary was founded and created two important community infrastructures: Villa Jean Toupin (affordable housing for people aged 60 and over) and Parc Beauchemin (a 19-acre park where members of the Société can go camping). A regional ACFA office, created in 1972, coordinates Francophone community development in the region. Since then, Calgary's Francophone population has established many organizations, clubs, service agencies and educational institutions to provide area Francophones and Francophiles with an interesting range of programs and services in French. All these organizations, schools and services are listed in the Répertoire des ressources francophones de Calgary et ses environs,Footnote 13 a directory of French-language resources in Calgary and the surrounding area.

Organizations with provincial and sectoral mandates are primarily based in Edmonton, the capital of Alberta. Given the size of the Francophone community in Calgary and southern Alberta, as well as the high levels of immigration observed, many of these organizations have decided to establish an office in Calgary or to build partnerships with local community organizations to offer programs and services. The following is a list of organizations and entities that play a key role in Calgary's Francophone community.

Social and cultural groups

  • Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta – Régionale de Calgary
  • Société franco-canadienne de Calgary
  • Société du centre scolaire communautaire de Calgary – La Cité des Rocheuses
  • Société de la petite enfance et de la famille du Sud de l'Alberta
  • Centre de Ressources Francothèque
  • Société Pommes de Reinette (daycare)
  • Alliance Française
  • Voix des Rocheuses (choir)
  • Société de théâtre de Calgary
  • Le Club de l'amitié (seniors)
  • Friends of the Rouleau House
  • Chevaliers de Colomb – Sainte-Famille Church
  • Dames de Sainte-Famille
  • Calgary Francophone Scouts
  • Club Inter (networking for businesspeople)
  • Portail de l'immigrant en Alberta
  • Centre d'accueil des nouveaux arrivants francophones
  • Regroupement Afro-calgaréen de jeunes francophones
  • Cameroonian Association of Calgary

Provincial Francophone organizations offering services in Calgary

  • Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta
  • Société francophone des arts visuels de l'Alberta
  • Fédération des conseils scolaires francophones de l'Alberta
  • Fédération des parents francophones de l'Alberta
  • Institut Guy-Lacombe de la famille
  • Regroupement artistique francophone de l'Alberta
  • Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Alberta
  • Centre de développement musical
  • L'UniThéâtre
  • Réseau santé albertain
  • Fondation franco-albertaine
  • Fédération du sport francophone de l'Alberta
  • Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta
  • Francophonie jeunesse de l'Alberta
  • Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta
  • Alliance Jeunesse-Famille de l'Alberta Society

Parish, media, institutions and government services for Francophones

  • Sainte-Famille parish (catholic)
  • Villa Jean Toupin (affordable housing; 60 +)
  • Parc Beauchemin (camping ground of the Société franco-canadienne de Calgary)
  • Le Chinook (local independant newspaper)
  • Le Franco (weekly provincial newspaper of the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta)
  • Connexion Carrière, Bow Valley College
  • Centre français, University of Calgary
  • Francophone Secretariat, Government of Alberta
  • Radio-Canada (television and radio)
  • Lycée Louis-Pasteur, international private school
  • Réseau provincial d'adaptation scolaire

Schools and pre-schools by school board

Conseil scolaire du Sud de l'Alberta
  • École de la Rose sauvage
  • Prématernelle la Capucine
  • École Terre-des-Jeunes
  • École francophone du Nord-Est
  • École de la Source
  • École francophone d'Airdrie
  • École Beausoleil d'Okotoks
  • Prématernelle des Amis Franco-fun
Conseil scolaire catholique et francophone du Sud de l'Alberta
  • École Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys
  • Prématernelle l'Arc-en-ciel
  • École Notre-Dame-de-la-Paix
  • Prématernelle Alouette
  • École Notre-Dame des Vallées (Cochrane)

3. Best practices

This section describes perceived best practices in the Calgary and Alberta Francophone communities. These practices were identified during discussions among the task force participants then between the task force and the research team.

3.1. Regular sociodemographic studies

The leadership of the Calgary Francophone community recognizes the importance of regularly monitoring the composition and self-identification of Francophones living in the metropolitan area. The presence of experienced researchers, be they historians, sociologists or educators, who could work in French at the University of Alberta's campus Saint-Jean in Edmonton or at other Alberta universities, makes it easier to design such studies and to analyze data so as to identify emerging trends. When the task force met, such a study was underway in Calgary, conducted by La Colline Consulting Ltd. and Professor Yvonne Hébert of the University of Calgary Faculty of Education. This study aimed "to reflect on the vitality of the various groups that currently make up Calgary's Francophone community, in order to paint a more accurate picture of the situation facing Francophones (including immigrants) in this city, as an example of urban Francophone communities in Western Canada.[Translation]"Footnote 14

3.2. Cercle de collaboration

In 2008, a task force was created in Calgary, consisting of four provincial service providers, the two French-language school boards, the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Government of Alberta Francophone Secretariat and representatives from half a dozen local community organizations. Considered an innovative and promising practice by many long-time Calgary community stakeholders, this structure could resolve a number of disagreements regarding the roles and mandates of certain community organizations, including the ACFA - Régionale de Calgary. This dialogue, coordination and networking between organizations may become a permanent forum, a decentralized governance structure, composed of organizations that are independent but that want to work together to develop various components of Calgary's Francophone community.

3.3. Francophone ethnocultural community coordination committee

Over the past 10 years, groups from new immigrant communities have formed in Calgary. These new immigrants come mostly from Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. A coordination meeting held in November 2008 led to a decision to create a coordination committee consisting of leaders from these groups.

The objectivesFootnote 15 set by the members of this committee include the following:

  • Exploring potential links between activities conducted by the participating ethnocultural communities;
  • Identifying and developing joint activities to promote the cultural richness of the communities (sports, artistic and cultural activities);
  • Defining ways and means to facilitate the integration of Francophone newcomers.

3.4. School boards as models of sound management

The Calgary region and southern Alberta French-language school boards are recognized for their inclusiveness, representativeness and accountability to the parents that they represent, as well as their political and social credibility.

The best practices recognized by the leaders of the Francophone community include the following:

  • Opening schools in all areas of the city where Francophones live, namely in the northwest, northeast, southeast and southwest, and in certain suburbs (such as Okotoks and Airdrie);
  • Establishing a well accepted electoral mechanism;
  • Providing ongoing training for trustees.

A recent initiative that may lead to a merger of the public and Catholic school boards is underway, and is perceived as one more step to more efficient management of Calgary's school and community infrastructures.

3.5. Internet communication

Since community groups do not have the means to promote their programs, services and activities in mass media (print, radio and television), Calgary Francophones must use new technologies to communicate with each other and with the populations they represent. All organizations have a Web site and, in general, these sites promote other organizations and make them more accessible through hyperlinks. It is hoped that Infolettre—the ACFA - Régionale de Calgary monthly electronic newsletter sent to a growing number of households—will one day reach Calgary's entire Francophone population.

3.6. Community services

In Calgary, the managers of community infrastructures are very open to serving Francophones in their geographical communities. For instance:

  • Preschools and before- and after-school programs are available in neighbourhood and suburban French schools;
  • La Cité des Rocheuses, the Calgary school-community centre, has a family resource centre (Francothèque), intergenerational, artistic and cultural activity programming, and a day care;
  • The University of Calgary's French Centre hosts classes, performances and conferences;
  • The Sainte-Famille church hall hosts meetings of the Club de l'Amitié (for seniors), multicultural concerts and intergenerational activities.

Each of these establishments opens its doors to the entire Francophone community, and not just to members, families, students, etc.

3.7. Regional provincial services office

The 2008 opening of a satellite office for the Government of Alberta's Francophone Secretariat in Calgary, which serves Francophones and Francophiles in Southern Alberta, is a concrete sign recognizing the importance of this Francophone population. As Edmonton is the provincial capital, all organizations and agencies serving Francophones have their headquarters in this city. Direct access to provincial ministries and services is now available through the Calgary office.

3.8. Caron case and policy change

Initiated by a Calgary Francophone and supported by a vast network of Francophones and Francophiles, this court remedy could change the way history is interpreted in Alberta and Saskatchewan and lead to recognition of the constitutional right to use French at the provincial level. The objective of this case, which is currently before the courts, is to prove that the language rights guaranteed to Rupert's Land residents gained constitutional status prior to the territory joining the Canadian confederation, and that these rights are still in force and must therefore be respected. A decisionFootnote 16 in favour of Mr. Caron could confirm that French is an official language in Alberta and Saskatchewan, which became provinces in 1905 with the division of Rupert's Land.

4. Logic models and vitality indicators

This section presents an overview of the expectations and priorities determined by the task force, which constructed and validated these logic models for each of the priority sectors: community governance, visibility and diversity, communication and government services. It sets out the following:

  • The logic model of each sector developed by the task force (including the community's targets for short-, medium- and long-term results);
  • Indicators for the targeted results;
  • Sources of data to be used to evaluate these results.

A logic model is an illustration of the sequence of expected results and efforts made to create or maintain vitality in a given field or sector of a community.

4.1. Community governance

4.1.1. Fields of activity

The community governance logic model produced and validated by the Calgary task force consists of three fields of activity, which then branch out into the planned products and services. The Calgary Francophone community is spread out over a large geographical area and there is no specific French quarter. The community lacks infrastructure and gathering places, and is feeling the impact of a mobile population. The instability of both paid and volunteer human resources in community organizations puts these organizations' sound management and long-term planning at risk.

4.1.1.1. Community coordination

A community organization coordination table is needed, due to the large number of organizations serving the Calgary Francophone and Francophile population and the structure of the representative organization, the ACFA - Régionale de Calgary, which only accepts individual members. The coordination model currently being tested is the Cercle de collaboration, which brings together nearly all community organizations and has already contributed to a greater understanding of the community's potential for action and representation.

4.1.1.2. Human resources renewal

Renewal of the community organizations' human resources is necessary in order to ensure their sustainability by attracting and retaining paid and volunteer personnel. This will become possible through ongoing leadership and accountability training programs for managers as well as through mentoring programs to prepare the next generation. These measures will lead to stronger governance and management skills and abilities within the organizations, and will result in more credible political representation by community leaders.

4.1.1.3. Francophone gathering places

Francophone gathering places are necessary, given their dispersion across the city of Calgary and several surrounding communities. The role of La Cité des Rocheuses is recognized, but its usefulness is limited by the fact that it is located in southwest Calgary and not easily accessible by public transportation. Also, to facilitate coordination among the many community agencies and organizations, it was suggested that a community centre be established. This Francophone space in a central location would be used to welcome newcomers, serve as a single window for existing and future services, and provide office space and a gathering place for all workers in the community sector.

In the medium term, coordinated community governance actions will contribute to a higher satisfaction rate among Calgary Francophones with regard to the cooperation mechanism implemented and the quantity, quality and diversity of activities and services available to area Francophones. Such actions will also contribute to renewed confidence in the abilities of the various organizations' directors to control and manage their resources.

In the long term, the leadership of the Calgary Francophone community will come together under a legitimate and representative community governance mechanism.

Logic model: Community governance sector
Logic model of the Community governance sector. Description follows.
Description – Logic model: Community governance sector
Table 2: Indicators and data sources – Community governance sector
Expected Results Indicators Data Sources
1. Increase in shared understanding of what the community is seeking a) Convergence of community leaders' opinions a) Meeting minutes
b) Convergence of priorities and objectives of Francophone community organizations b) Ibid.
c) Proportion of organizations represented at Cercle de collaboration meetings c) Ibid.
2. Strengthened capacity for governance, management and service delivery a) Sufficient and competent human and financial resources (e.g. number of vacant positions) a) Consulting auditors' notes on financial statements
b) Average age of members of the boards of directors b) Internal surveys
c) Proportion of women and men on the organizations' boards of directors c) Ibid.
d) Diversity of interests and target clients of community organizations, i.e. women, youth, children, scouts, immigrants, seniors d) Organizations' annual reports on activities
3. Credible political representation leading to awareness and engagement of public servants and public decision-makers a) Number of responses to letters requesting meetings and number of requests accepted a) Organizations' annual reports on activities; organizations' compilation
b) Number of meetings with public decision-makers b) Ibid.
c) Number and type of follow-ups and feedback from decision-makers towards the community (e.g. participation in community activities) c) Ibid.
d) Number of invitations to participate in government consultations (municipal, provincial, federal) regarding increase in services d) Activity reports
e) Number of Francophone municipal, provincial and federal elected representatives who can influence the availability of French-language services in Calgary e) Media analysis
4. Stronger ties between community organizations and agencies a) Rate for use of services by non-traditional clients (e.g. non-members), i.e. newcomers participating in ACFA activities, seniors attending a school concert, etc. a) Annual reports
b) Presence and number of structured partnerships established or maintained to provide and improve services b) Ibid.; community organizations' compilation
5. Access to an intake service and office space in a central location a) Number of organizations and employees in the established Francophone space a) Statistical compilation and activity reports
b) Number of visitors to sites b) Ibid.
6. Calgary Francophones satisfied with the cooperation mechanism implemented a) Satisfaction rate of stakeholders and community members a) Internal surveys
b) Average number of volunteer hours in Francophone organizations per French-speaking resident b) Statistical analysis
c) Number and background (diversity) of new volunteers c) Internal surveys
7. Renewed confidence in the abilities of directors to control and manage their resources a) Percentage of elected volunteers who have attended at least one training session on the roles and responsibilities of a board of directors during the past two years a) Surveys and activity reports
b) Number and satisfaction rate of members participating in organizations' annual general meetings b) Meeting minutes; news releases
c) Usage rate and client satisfaction for services offered c) Surveys; studies; program evaluation
d) Ratio of financial resources for operations to funding allocated for programs and services or community development d) Organizations' financial statements
e) Ratio of total working capital to funding from non-governmental sources e) Ibid.
8. Selection of a managing organization for the Cercle de collaboration a) Memorandum of understanding between participating organizations with definition of operations a) Memorandum of understanding
b) Level of commitment of organizations' representatives in support of the Cercle de collaboration management organization b) Meeting minutes; organizations' annual reports; financial statements
9. Increased satisfaction with the quantity, quality and diversity of activities and services available to Calgary-area Francophones a) Participation and satisfaction rates for activities, events and community services a) Field survey
b) Number of services available in French b) Répertoire des ressources francophones de Calgary et ses environs; data from community organizations and government service agencies
c) Converging opinions of key community stakeholders and leaders regarding quantity and quality of services c) Organizations' annual reports

4.2. Visibility and diversity

4.2.1. Fields of activity

The logic model for visibility and diversity consists of three fields of activity to develop and coordinate in order to ensure that Calgary's Francophone community is seen, heard and valued for its diversity and multiple cultural and social expressions. Most residents in the Calgary area are originally from elsewhere in Alberta, from another province or from another country. In Calgary, Francophone newcomers have to integrate into a population that itself consists mostly of migrants or immigrants.Footnote 17 While the real need for intake services for Francophone newcomers is undeniable, it is a personal (or family) choice whether or not to integrate into the Francophone community by participating in the activities and programs of Francophone organizations and schools. This task force therefore focused on fields of activity that promote familiarization with and active participation in the Francophone community as it exists in Calgary.

4.2.1.1. Celebrating diversity

Celebrating the diversity of Francophone and cultural heritage is already well underway in this long-established multicultural Francophone community. Diversity is showcased in schools and sometimes in the arts. However, there are gaps between understanding the lifestyles and aspirations of newcomers and those of the established Calgary Francophone population. Cultural diversity should continue to be represented at community events and festivals. The implementation of intergenerational heritage awareness activities and more volunteer awareness activities, could foster more cooperation between the members of the diverse communities.

4.2.1.2. Reaching Francophones who are less active or not active in the Francophone community

Reaching people who do not actively participate in the community, especially isolated or marginalized individuals, is a priority in this urban municipality. To do this, it would be important to multiply partnerships with agencies from the entire community as well as services to newcomers. A study of these individuals' needs and well-being may reveal the effect of marginalization on minority Francophones and suggest possible courses of action in order to better take their needs into account when planning activities and programs. In the meantime, task force participants recommend the creation of French-language service cooperatives and social enterprises that could help promote the integration of these individuals while increasing the number of services available in French in Calgary.

4.2.1.3. Visibility of the Francophone community

Calgary's Francophone community is practically invisible. The community is difficult to pinpoint because it is not easily identifiable. To improve this situation, efforts could be increased to distribute documentation and symbols of the Francophonie in key locations, such as newcomer intake agencies, and at major events like the Calgary Stampede. This would give the Francophone community greater visibility while increasing the number of positive interactions with the Anglophone majority.

In the medium term, the measures taken in this sector will help contribute to increase the participation of Francophones in events offered by various community organizations, encourage cooperation and coordination between these organizations, increase the number of workplaces where French is used openly and that advertise service in French, increase the visibility and acceptance of symbols of the Francophone community, raise Anglophone awareness of Francophone reality, and improve social and community cohesion.

In the long-term, it is hoped that the Calgary Francophone community will be perceived as inclusive, healthy, dynamic, respectful of differences, respected, visible and influential.

Logic model: Visibility and diversity sector
Logic model of the Visibility and diversity sector. Description follows.
Description – Logic model: Visibility and diversity sector
Table 3: Indicators and data sources – Visibility and diversity sector
Expected Results Indicators Data Sources
1. Greater inclusion of diverse cultural expressions in traditional celebrations a) Number of ongoing and one-time activities promoting cultural diversity a) Data on Francophone organization programming
b) Number of activities celebrating cultural diversity in schools b) School board reports
2. Increased understanding and cooperation between generations and cultural communities a) Implementation of a mentoring program; number of Francophone youth from newcomer families benefiting from program; number of mentors mobilized a) Community organizations' annual reports
b) Number of activities organized to improve mutual intergenerational and intercultural understanding b) French-language media coverage; organizations' reports
3. Increased number of services available in French a) Presence and number of structured partnerships to create and provide French-language support services (e.g. support for people who have lost their independence, bookmobile) a) Activity reports from community organizations and government agencies
b) Funding granted to organizations that offer Francophones orientation services and help for job seekers and new businesses b) Annual activity reports; organizations' financial reports
c) Number of services available in French c) Répertoire des ressources francophones de Calgary et ses environs; data from community organizations and government service agencies
4. Greater consideration of the needs and interests of marginalized Francophones when planning community activities, services and programs a) Level of familiarity with the impact of marginalization on Francophones in minority settings a) Data from a study on the needs and well-being of the Francophone population
b) Number of activities targeting marginalized Francophone populations b) Community organization activity reports
c) Participation rates of newcomers in French-language public events c) Data from Francophone organizations or event promoters
5. Increased visibility of the Francophone community a) Number of times the community has a presence (space, booth) at major events like the Calgary Stampede a) Event documentation; photos; participating organizations' activity reports
b) Amount of French signage in public spaces b) Facility documentation and content of French-language signage
6. Increased number of positive interactions with the majority a) Number of invitations received by organizations to promote the Francophone community at public events in Calgary a) Analysis of correspondence received by community organizations
b) Number of media reports representing the Francophone community in all its diversity b) Positive and negative anecdotes and media clippings concerning the Francophone community
c) Number of partnerships established with Anglophone community organizations c) Organizations' compilation; meeting minutes
7. Increased participation in events for Francophones a) Number of activities and events organized a) Organizations' annual reports
b) Participation by members of the different Francophone cultural communities b) Specific questions in event opinion surveys
c) Number of participants in events intended for Francophones c) Head counts; event opinion surveys or evaluation forms
d) Participant satisfaction d) Opinion surveys or evaluation forms
8. Various Francophone organizations working together a) Number of community activities, programs and services offered jointly by at least two organizations or agencies a) Community organization activity reports; distributed promotional items listing partners
b) Number of partnerships with two or more community organizations (e.g. school activities open to the general public) b) School board activity reports; newsletters
9. Increased number of workplaces advertising service in French a) Number of workplaces with French-speaking personnel or advertising or providing service in French a) Inventory of workplaces where French is used – Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta
10. Greater social and community cohesion a) Number of opportunities for discussion and sharing between the various cultural or sectoral groups a) Organizations' annual reports
b) Newcomers' satisfaction with their inclusion in the host community b) Results of studies on satisfaction and perception
11. Greater Anglophone awareness of Francophone reality a) Converging of perceptions of Anglophone and Francophone leaders of various communities of interest and target groups (ethnocultural, recreational, political, social support and other groups) a) Meeting minutes of leaders and opinion-makers (Francophone and Anglophone)
b) Presence of Francophone community in the media b) Media monitoring
c) Number of Anglophone agencies or groups in which the Francophone community is invited to participate and collaborate (e.g. Federation of Calgary Communities) c) Community organization activity reports
12. Greater acceptance of symbols of the Francophonie a) Use of symbols of the Alberta Francophone community (e.g. Franco-Albertan flag) by merchants, government and community organizations for public awareness a) Spot checks of French service sites; inventory of promotional items with symbols of the Francophonie

4.3. Communication

4.3.1. Fields of activity

The logic model for communication consists of three areas of activity, each of which aims to inform and raise awareness in a different sector of the Francophone and Francophile populations. In Calgary, a city with a population of over a million, only 8% of which report knowledge of French or of both French and English,Footnote 18 the quality of communications both within the Francophone community and with the surrounding community is a key factor that allows the general public to identify the Francophone community, which is not always clearly recognizable.

4.3.1.1. Communication with Francophone residents

Communicating information to the Francophone residents of Calgary poses sizeable challenges, as each community organization can only reach its members and the few Francophones in its social network. Traditional tools are used, such as the Répertoire des ressources francophones de Calgary et ses environs, the Infolettre of the ACFA - Régionale de Calgary and similar newsletters distributed by schools to parents and by other organizations to members. The community would like to implement a joint communications plan that would be adopted by all groups, agencies and schools so as to work together and better inform the Francophone population of the activities and services available.

4.3.1.2. Information technology

Using information technology is certainly the most efficient means of sharing a large quantity of information with an unlimited number of individuals. By equipping itself with the technology and skills necessary to design and maintain a Web site, the ACFA - Régionale de Calgary is positioning itself as the central organization for the dissemination of information on the Francophone community. As mentioned earlier in this report, the majority of community groups and schools have Web sites. They simply have to be linked by hyperlinks to give anyone looking for information on the Calgary Francophone community a clearer image of this community's vitality and complexity. These virtual links will make it easier to identify the areas in which the different community organizations work, leading them to work together more closely.

4.3.1.3. Communication with visitors and newcomers

Communicating information to visitors and newcomers is a priority, as the Calgary Francophone community is not very visible or well known—and therefore not easy to recognize. A campaign promoting the Francophone community by every means available, namely information technology (e.g. links to information about the Francophone community) and signage in public places where the Official Languages Act applies (e.g. train stations, airports, federal service centres), would allow Calgary's Francophone community to project an image of vitality that reflects its vibrant character. This last component reflects elements that were retained and prioritized in the Visibility and Diversity logic model.

By acting in these three fields of activity simultaneously, community organizations should in the medium term see increased participation in activities and an increase in demand for French-language services. These measures should also lead to users' recognition of how the different agencies and groups complement each other, and to increased community cohesiveness for leaders. It is also hoped that Calgary's Francophone community is positively viewed by Canada's other Francophone communities.

In the long term, the French presence in Calgary will be promoted in a coordinated and effective manner and recognized for its quality.

Logic model: Communication sector
Logic model of the Communication sector. Description follows.
Description – Logic model: Communication sector
Table 4: Indicators and data sources – Communication sector
Expected Results Indicators Data Sources
1. The Francophone community is better informed of the activities and services available a) Complementarity of information available on the Internet and in newsletters a) Analysis of content on Web sites
b) Use of communication tool kit (which should be developed with the implementation of the joint communications plan) b) Organizations' activity reports
2. The ACFA is seen as the key organization and central point for the dissemination of information a) Number of inquiries by telephone and in person resulting from the ACFA Web site a) Data compiled by the organization
b) Rate of satisfaction with information available on-line and in ACFA publications b) On-line evaluations
3. Better cooperation and knowledge of the areas of activity of the various organizations a) Presence and number of structured partnerships to create and deliver support services to Francophones a) Active and formal memoranda of understanding
b) Longevity of cooperation agreements b) Reports on agreements between different Francophone groups and between Francophone groups and majority groups
4. Increased visibility of the Francophone community in strategic locations (airport, train stations and government offices) a) Public's perception of French in public spaces in Calgary a) Surveys for members of the public
b) Number of products distributed in public places to promote French-language and Francophone community activities and services b) Inventory of materials distributed
c) Rate of use of French at work and active offer of services in French, especially in places providing services to travellers and newcomers c) Telephone surveys of offer of service in French
d) Number of complaints received by federal institutions in the province regarding the application of the Official Languages Act d) Data published by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
5. Increased participation in activities for Francophones a) Activity participation rate a) Organizations' financial and activity reports
b) Francophones' satisfaction rate b) Activity evaluation form
6. Increased demand for French-language services a) Number and type of service requests a) Studies on needs
b) Service quality satisfaction rate b) Evaluation of services through surveys, grids, interviews, etc.
c) Degree of achievement of objectives set by the community for services available c) Organizations' and agencies' annual reports
7. Recognition by users of how the various agencies and groups complement each other a) Complementarity of information available on the ACFA Web site a) Activity calendar; content analysis
b) Number of organizations whose mandate and programming are available through the ACFA Web site b) Community organizations' compilation
c) Users' perception of available French-language services as being complementary c) Public opinion survey
8. Increased community cohesiveness a) Francophone citizens' views of the benefits of intercultural cooperation and dialogue a) Minutes from leaders' meetings
b) Number of organizations composed of members from different cultural communities b) Telephone survey of organizations' directors
c) Presence and success of partnerships between community organizations c) Activity reports
9. Positive view of the Calgary Francophone community by Canada's other Francophone communities a) Maintained rate of mobility of Francophones towards Calgary (migrants and immigrants) a) Statistics Canada
b) Retention of Francophones in Calgary b) Statistics Canada and statistics from French-language school boards
c) Number of discussions and partnerships between Calgary Francophone organizations and those from other provinces and territories c) Community organizations' compilation

4.4. Government services

4.4.1. Fields of activity

The logic model for government services includes four fields of activity, in which the community considers it crucial to invest in order to ensure that the different levels of government maintain and develop services.

4.4.1.1. Government awareness

The ongoing dialogue between the community and governments is an important step in raising the awareness of decision-makers who, once aware of the needs and aspirations of the Francophone community, are more likely to recommend improvements to laws and policies favouring the implementation of French-language services.

4.4.1.2. Court remedies

Court remedies could completely change the political climate in Calgary. One example is the Caron case, described in the section on best practices. If the final ruling is in favour of Alberta and Saskatchewan Francophones, the constitutional nature of the French language in Alberta would be recognized, which may promote greater awareness among government representatives and result in more services being offered in French.

4.4.1.3. Service delivery

In Calgary, services to the public in French are currently limited to a few federal agencies and to educational organizations or institutions that provide services on behalf of the federal government (e.g. employment service centres, immigrant settlement centres). Through increased political commitment, more services could be offered, either in a single-window context or through units dedicated to serving Francophones.

4.4.1.4. Promotion and use of services

Promotion and use of services are key factors in supporting an increase in the number of service points. Because so few services are available, Francophones are not accustomed to receiving services in French and have therefore lost the reflex of requesting these services in French. To counter this phenomenon, information campaigns should be held on services available in French in Calgary.

Ongoing efforts in these fields of activity may promote, in the medium term, the implementation of a provincial French-language services policy, an increase in the availability of service to the public in French in several sectors and recognition by the Anglophone majority of the legitimacy of linguistic duality in Canada.

In the long term, all these achievements will enable the Francophone community in Calgary and in Alberta as a whole to receive equivalent and adapted services in French from municipal, provincial and federal governments. These services will be available in sectors that are deemed essential to community vitality and development.

Logic model: Government services sector
Logic model of the Government services sector. Description follows.
Description – Logic model: Government services sector
Table 5: Indicators and data sources – Government services sector
Expected Results Indicators Data Sources
1. Greater awareness among municipal and provincial politicians a) Coordinated awareness and information plan targeting members of the Legislative Assembly, councillors, etc. a) Working papers
b) Number of invitations to participate in Francophone community events accepted by politicians b) Internal and official documentation; community organizations' compilation
c) Frequency of politicians' participation in Francophone community activities c) Public departments' and agencies' annual reports; community organizations' compilation
2. French-language units providing essential municipal, provincial and federal services a) Percentage of federal, provincial and municipal bodies offering services in French a) Advertisements and entries in the Répertoire des ressources francophones de Calgary et ses environs
3. Increased promotion of French-language services a) Number of information sessions for people who could benefit from French-language services a) Data from community organizations and government service agencies
b) Number of modes of access to French-language services b) Reports from government departments and agencies
c) Proportion of French-language services maintained and number of new French-language services available c) Data from community organizations and government service agencies
4. Awareness among Francophones and the majority of the option to request services in French a) Rate at which demand and number of users of French-language services increase a) Demand study; operational plans; reports (health, justice, economics); provincial statistics
5. Provincial French-language services policy a) Number of federal and provincial departments and agencies providing services in French a) Official documentation from government departments and agencies
b) Percentage of municipal and provincial government employees able to provide services in French b) Government data (e.g. from the Government of Alberta Francophone Secretariat)
6. Increased number of services in French: justice; economics; health; services for seniors, families, immigrants and tourists; French-language itinerant court of justice for all of Alberta; etc. a) Number of services implemented a) Reports from government departments and service agencies
b) Number of information activities offered to the public b) Ibid.
c) Rate of client satisfaction with services offered c) Service quality evaluation grids
7. Recognition by the majority of the legitimacy of linguistic duality in Canada a) Public's perception of the importance of the presence of French in government services a) Survey of the general population
b) Population's knowledge and perceptions of the relevance of French-language services b) Public opinion survey
c) Changing vitality factors or evolution of Francophone community vitality c) Needs analysis conducted by community organizations

Conclusion

The Calgary Francophone community is currently going through a period of strong growth. Established in the 19th century in response to the economic needs of its first inhabitants, Calgary continues to attract individuals and families who are seeking a better financial situation. Francophones living in Calgary have accepted to live as a linguistic minority and adapted to this reality. That said, Francophones hold onto their linguistic and cultural heritage and maintain a dynamic Francophone space. This Francophone community has all characteristics of a thriving community. The number of Francophones is increasing, and there are integration services for newcomers in this urban Francophone community, French-language employment opportunities, and community programs and infrastructures for Francophones seeking training or entertainment in French.

However, this dynamism hides sizeable challenges. During the meetings held for this study, the participants spoke of issues and challenges related to Francophones' dispersion over a large geographical area; the lack of human, material and financial resources; the lack of viable gathering places; and the lack of recognition in municipal and provincial politics, which makes it hard for the Calgary Francophone population to identify as a "community." Its community leaders and key stakeholders recognize the need for greater cohesiveness in order to improve the effectiveness of community governance. They accept the diversity of needs and preferences within their community, but are hesitant when faced with the enormous amount of work that must be done to adequately serve the community. They all aspire to greater social and political legitimacy.

Thanks to this study, 20 key leaders and stakeholders from the Calgary Francophone community have more deeply reflected on key factors affecting the vitality, or the perception of vitality, of their community. They developed realistic logic models that are likely to result in community action plans. Inspired by the final outcomes identified in each field of activity, Calgary Francophones will be able to forge a future that lives up to the aspirations of their predecessors.

Based on the work and tools developed by the community, it is now important for government and community decision-makers at all levels to work together and recognize that organizations, institutions, groups and networks that actively and effectively support French-language programs and services are the actors and leaders that create, maintain and renew Francophone community spaces in Alberta. It is crucial for government and community decision-makers to coordinate their efforts in planning, implementating and evaluating results, in order to collectively ensure the vitality, continuity and viability of the Alberta Francophone community.

Appendix A - Bibliography and documents consulted

Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta (ACFA). Répertoire des ressources francophones de Calgary et ses environs 2009, Calgary, ACFA, 2009, on-line version consulted June 1, 2009.

Corbeil, Jean-Pierre, Claude Grenier and Sylvie Lafrenière. Results of the Survey on the Vitality of the Official-Language Minorities, Ottawa, Statistics Canada, 2006, 172 p.

Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA). Francophone Community Profile of Alberta, Ottawa, FCFA, 2004, 16 p., on-line version consulted June 1, 2009.

Johnson, Marc L. and Paule Doucet. A Sharper View, Evaluating the Vitality of Official Language Minority Communities, Ottawa, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, 2006, 102 p., on-line version consulted June 1, 2009.

Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité (RDÉE). "British Columbia," Socio-economic Profiles, Ottawa, RDÉE, 2005, on-line version consulted June 1, 2009.

Stamp, Robert. "French and Catholic," Calgary Magazine, May 1980, pp. 68-89.

Statistics Canada. 2006 Community Profiles, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 92-591-XWE, on-line version consulted August 20, 2009.

Appendix B

List of Task force membersFootnote 19

Marcel Beaudoin,* Certified Management Accountant and Consulting Auditor, Marcel Beaudoin Professional Corporation

Florent Bilodeau,* Superintendant, Conseil scolaire catholique et francophone du sud de l'Alberta

Anne-Marie Boucher, Chair, Conseil scolaire du Sud de l'Alberta, and Member, Board of Directors, Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta – Régionale de Calgary

Diane Boutin,* Chair, Conseil scolaire catholique et francophone du Sud de l'Alberta

André Chabot,** Municipal Councillor, City of Calgary

Vladimir Diordiev,* Centre d'accueil des nouveaux arrivants francophones, Calgary

Martine Drouin, Director, La Cité des Rocheuses

Pierre Gendron, Trustee, Conseil scolaire catholique et francophone du Sud de l'Alberta

François Giroux, Government Liaison Officer, Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta

Janet Halls,* Coordinator, WordFest: Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival

Manon Hamel, Community Liaison Officer – Southern Alberta, Francophone Secretariat, Government of Alberta

Yvonne Hébert, Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Calgary

Louise Huard-Peake,* Lawyer, Family Law Office, and President, Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Alberta

Jean-Claude Jassak,* Councillor, Canadian Minority Alberta Council, and member of the Sainte-Famille parish council

Evelyne Kemajou, Program Coordinator, Portail de l'Immigrant en Alberta

Madeleine Ngoma, Coordinator, Connexion Carrière, Bow Valley College

Marie-Thérèse Nickel, Director, Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta – Régionale de Calgary

Christiane Nkolo, Post-Doctoral Researcher, La Colline Consulting Ltd.

Marguerite Sigur,* Société franco-canadienne de Calgary and Sexton, Sainte-Famille parish

Isabelle Vincelette,* Calgary Officer, Conseil de développement économique de l'Alberta

Jocelyne Wandler, Calgary Councillor, Coalition des femmes de l'Alberta, and health portfolio representative

Representatives of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

Deni Lorieau, Commissioner's Representative for Alberta, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut

Martine Boucher, Policy Analyst, Ottawa

The members of the task force participated as individuals and the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of their employers or host organizations.

Agathe Gaulin, an associate with Consortia Development Group, facilitated the task force. She was assisted by Paule Doucet, also an associate with this firm.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Information taken from Robert Stamp, "French and Catholic," Calgary Magazine, May 1980, pp. 68-89.

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Footnote 2

For the past few years, there has been a growing interest in research on definitions of the Francophone population that reflect the diversity and complexity of the Canadian Francophonie. Efforts in this area have been undertaken as much at the university level as at the federal and provincial levels. For example, the Government of Ontario recently introduced a new definition of the province's Francophone population. This new definition includes those whose mother tongue is neither French nor English, but who know French and speak it at home. Further information can be found on the Office of Francophone Affairs Web site.

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Footnote 3

First official language spoken is derived from three variables: knowledge of the two official languages, mother tongue and language spoken at home. Further information is available on the Statistics Canada Web site.

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Footnote 4

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 97-555-XCB2006031.

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Footnote 5

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 97-555-XCB2006028.

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Footnote 6

Statistics Canada, 2006 Community Profiles, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 92-591-XWE, on-line version consulted August 20, 2009.

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Footnote 7

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 97-555-XCB2006015.

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Footnote 8

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 97-555-XCB2006031.

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Footnote 9

Statistics Canada, 2006 Community Profiles, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 92-591-XWE, on-line version consulted August 20, 2009.

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Footnote 10

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 97-555-XCB2006060.

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Footnote 11

Ibid.

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Footnote 12

The detailed socio-economic profile of Calgary Francophones (based on 2001 census data) is available on the Réseau de développement économique et d'employabilité Web site.

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Footnote 13

The 2009 edition of this directory, which lists local and provincial Francophone not-for-profit organizations and associations operating in the Calgary area, as well as parapublic institutions and private companies offering services in French, is published by the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta – Régionale de Calgary (in French only).

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Footnote 14

Taken from the study's working paper: Yvonne Hébert et Richard Wanner. Calgary à la lumière : Étude de la redéfinition d'une francophonie urbaine, a document sponsored by the Cercle de collaboration, under the aegis of the Assemblée canadienne-française de l'Alberta – Régionale de Calgary, Calgary, 2009, 266 p. This study is now available (in French only) on-line on the University of Calgary Faculty of education Web site.

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Footnote 15

Taken from Mamady Camara, Rapport de la Table de concertation des communautés ethnoculturelles francophones de Calgary, La Colline Consulting Ltd., Calgary, Nov. 2008, 39 p.

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Footnote 16

In their discussions of the Caron case, the participants were referring to the decision rendered by the Provincial Court of Alberta on July 2, 2008. The Government of Alberta appealed the case to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. On December 17, 2009, the latter rendered a judgment that hardly met the community's expectations. The decision has been appealed before the Alberta Court of Appeal. While the case continues its course before the courts, the community continues to closely follow related issues. A conference on the Caron case and language rights in Western Canada was in fact held in Regina, Saskatchewan, on February 19 and 20, 2010.

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Footnote 17

Note that the task force chose to use the term “newcomers” rather than “immigrants” and “migrants.”

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Footnote 18

Statistics Canada, 2006 Community Profiles, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 92-591-XWE, on-line version consulted August 20, 2009.

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Footnote 19

An asterisk indicates participants in the January 10, 2009 session only; two asterisks indicates participants in the February 28, 2009 session only.

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