Whitby, October 4th, 2013 – At the beginning of this school year, the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud (CSDCCS) is adding its voice to those of all francophone organizations in Durham Region that are in favour of the area receiving a designation under the French Language Services Act. The CSDCCS is reiterating its position, while the Regional Municipality of Durham will receive a report that recommends it reject the request from Durham’s francophone community and not to support the designation.
The CSDCCS has four schools within the large Durham Region. For many years now, these schools have experienced a continuous growth in enrolment. This year more than 1,625 students are attending CSDCCS schools in the area, an increase of more than 4% in relation to the previous year.
For more than 50 years, these schools have been the gathering places of Durham’s francophone community. The CSDCCS school community grew commensurately with the waves of immigration and newcomers to the region. For many francophones who grew up in the area, French Catholic School is the true heart of the community. This is the case of the first French school in Oshawa: École élémentaire catholique Corpus-Christi, which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this month. More than 2,000 young francophones went to this school since its opening in 1963!
The CSDCCS and its schools in Durham are working diligently with several francophone organizations in the region to provide students and their families with quality services in French. This is the case, for example, with the ACFO of Durham-Peterborough and the COFRD, which offer a range of services and cultural activities. The CSDCCS is working very closely with the francophone branch of Catholic Family Services at the support, prevention and awareness level. The Conseil is also assisting Health Unit #4 plan health services that meet the needs of francophones.
« All francophone communities should have access to quality services in French, according to the president of the CSDCCS, Nathalie Dufour-Séguin. Durham Region is one of the regions that should be placed under the French Language Services Act. This designation would contribute immensely to the growth of this community. »
« The existing report of the Regional Municipality of Durham does not reflect the strong francophone presence in the Durham Region », claims Olga Lambert, School Councillor for the region. « Our elected officials must take into account the important financial, cultural and social contribution that francophone citizens have made for over 50 years. »
« The CSDCCS schools in Durham Region are models of both reception and integration », states Réjean Sirois, Director of Education. « The growing number of students shows that more and more parents from Durham, and from the whole CSDCCS territory, want their children to benefit from a quality French education and shape their identity as francophones with a view to becoming citizens of the world. »
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