Université de l'Ontario français
|Established||9 April 2018|
|President||Denis Berthiaume and Édith Dumont (interim)|
The Université de l’Ontario français (abbreviated as UOF; lit. 'University of French Ontario')[note 1] is a French-language public university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The university plans to situate its campus in the East Bayfront neighbourhood of downtown Toronto, near the Toronto waterfront.
The university was incorporated by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in April 2018, although it did not offer its first academic program until September 2019. The institution plans to accept its first cohort of full-time students in 2021.
Efforts to establish a Francophone university in central and southwestern Ontario emerged during the 2010s, with several Franco-Ontarian groups, including the Francophone Assembly of Ontario, releasing a report that recommended the creation of a Francophone university within that region on 3 October 2014. A private member's bill to establish a Francophone university was later introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on 26 May 2015. However, the bill failed to pass as the legislature was prorogued. While the legislature was prorogued, a report released from the French Post-Secondary Education Advisory Committee in Central and Southwestern Ontario noted that post-secondary Francophone services were insufficient in central and southwestern Ontario, and recommended establishing a Francophone university within Greater Toronto to help rectify the issue.
The private member's bill was reintroduced on 21 September 2016, after the legislature reconvened. On 22 September, a planning committee was created to help establish the institution, and included the former federal Commissioner of Official Languages; members from other Toronto-based universities including Ryerson University and the University of Toronto; the president of the provincial French-language public broadcaster TFO; and members from other Ontario-based Francophone organizations. The legislation to establish the institution, the Université de l’Ontario français Act, 2017 was passed in 14 December 2017, and formally went into effect on 9 April 2018. Normand Labrie was named as the institution's interim president on 4 July 2018; and served the position until August 2020, when André Roy took his position as the university's first formal president. In February 2021, Roy resigned for personal reasons in February with two vice-presidents, Denis Berthiaume and Édith Dumont, assuming the position as the interim presidents of the university. Members of the university's board of governors were appointed on 31 December 2018.
However, following the 2018 Ontario general election, the newly formed Progressive Conservative government had announced plans to cancel funding for the establishment of the institution. The issue of funding became a major political issue for the new government among the province's Franco-Ontarian residents. Franco-Ontarian Member of Provincial Parliament Amanda Simard crossed the floor from the Progressive Conservatives, eventually joining the Liberal party, citing the decision as part of the reason for her move. However, in September 2019, the governments of Ontario and Canada announced they had signed a memorandum of understanding, which would see both governments provide C$126 million to fund the institution over the following eight years.
The university offered its first academic program in September 2019, a higher education pedagogy program for student teachers at Collège La Cité. The university's first graduate certificates were issued for those who completed the program. The institution plans to accept its first cohort of full-time students in fall 2021.
On 24 January 2021, it was announced the school had only received 19 applicants, much lower than the expected 200 applicants. Nevertheless, the institution intends to start the fall semester even with the lower enrollment.
The Université de l'Ontario français is situated in downtown Toronto, near the shoreline of Lake Ontario. The university plans to situate its campus at 9 Lower Jarvis Street, a high-rise in the East Bayfront neighbourhood of downtown Toronto. The university plans to lease 4,654 square metres (50,100 sq ft) of space within the building, with plans to open the campus to the public by June 2021.
The governance of the university is conducted through the board of governors and the university senate, both of which were established in the Université de l'Ontario français Act, 2017. The board of governors is responsible for governing and managing the university. The board's members includes the university's administration, faculty, student body, and members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council for Ontario. The senate is responsible for the university's academic and education policy, including standards for admission and qualifications for degrees, diplomas, and certificates issued by the university.
The university's president and vice-chancellor serves as the university's chief executive officer, with Denis Berthiaume and Édith Dumont, assuming the positions as the interim presidents of the university since February 2021. André Roy was the last person to be formally named as university president, serving from August 2020 to February 2021. The board of governors is also empowered to appoint a chancellor, who acts as the ceremonial head of the institution. However, the university has not yet appointed a person to the position.
The official instructional language of the university is French. The university is the province's first public university where French is the sole official language of the institution.[note 2]
- The institution's name is sometimes translated as the University of French Ontario by English-language publications. However, Université de l’Ontario français is the formal name of the university, and is used in both English and French provincial legislation.
- There are several Ontario-based universities where French is an official instructional language. However, these universities operate as bilingual English and French institutions, where both languages are used for university operations. In addition to these institutions, there exists several affiliated institutions in Ontario that operate as either French language- or bilingual institutions.
- "Université de l'Ontario français Act, 2017". www.ontario.ca. Queen's Printer for Ontario. 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- "Université de l'Ontario français: Changes to the Executive Leadership's office".
- Levesque, Anne (22 January 2020). "Ontario's new French commissioner's vision a chilling vision for province's minorities". The Toronto Star. Torstar Corporation. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "MPP Mitzie Hunter Has Committed To More Bilingualism In Ontario With Her Policy For Franco-Ontarians". www.mitziehunter.ca. Mitzie Hunter. 17 January 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
- "Historique". uontario.ca (in French). Universite de l'Ontario français. 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- Université de l’Ontario français Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 34, Sched. 43 (English); Loi de 2017 sur l’Université de l’Ontario français, L.O. 2017, c. 34, ann. 43 (français).
- "Ford and Trudeau governments team up to establish new Francophone university". Nation Valley News. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- "Normand Labrie Appointed Interim President". www.newswire.ca. CNW Group Ltd. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "Direction". uontario.ca (in French). Université de l'Ontario français. 2019. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
- "André Roy to become the first president of the Université de l'Ontario français". concordia.ca. Concordia University. 15 April 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
- "Université De L'ontario Français First Board Of Governors". www.oas.gov.on.ca. Queen's Printer for Ontario. 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- Morello, Vincenzo (3 February 2020). "Ontario set to open first French university in 2021". Radio Canada International. Radio Canada. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- Nicolle, Rozenn; Ratel, Marie-Hélène (20 June 2019). "L'Université de l'Ontario français annonce un premier programme pour l'automne 2019". ICI Toronto (in French). Radio Canada. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
- "Ontario's French university receives only 19 applications from province's students". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 January 2021. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
- "Le campus de l'Université de l'Ontario français sera sur les berges du lac Ontario". ICI Toronto (in French). Radio Canada. 25 February 2020.
- "Collèges et universités de langue française". www.ontario.ca (in French). Queen's Printer for Ontario. 27 January 2020. Retrieved 15 February 2020.