Forum on Vulnerable Young Francophones in Minority Communities
6. Results of the sub-group discussions
This report does not include sub-group discussions which enabled participants to better understand each region represented and its agencies. A webography has been prepared. It lists all the websites provided by the federal agencies and institutions. These websites are an excellent source of information on community groups and programs of federal institutions. The webography is shown in Appendix 5.
Each sub-group prepared a summary of the results of their thoughts on collaborative arrangements that could be established and presented their summary at the plenary session.
6.1. Pacific and Territories
The participants from the Pacific and Territories regional sub-group proposed the following collaborative arrangements:
- Get to know one another better. This day provided the first opportunity for groups in the field to meet people from federal institutions. We need to continue these discussions and the sharing, even on an informal basis. This will enable organizations to get to know each other.
- Better communication. Given that Francophones are spread across vast areas, we will need to use information technology to reach all types of people.
- Identify the most promising opportunities for collaborative arrangements and partnerships.
- Better understand the collective needs and work together to find ways to respond to them.
- Recognize best practices nationally to avoid duplication.
- Launch a recognition program for best practices in youth prevention.
The Prairies regional sub-group proposed the following collaborative arrangements:
- Francophone communities on the Prairies are not homogenous. They experience problems specific to their own situations which are sometimes unique. The governments' approaches, including their funding approaches, will need to be more flexible in order to respond to these specific local needs.
- We should plan to organize other local or regional forums such as today's forum to share tools and achieve a better understanding of local realities. We could plan to have other stakeholders participate (schools, provinces, parents associations, for example).
- We need to address the important issue of discrimination faced by Francophone immigrants who try to find housing on the Prairies. We should do some research on the Régie du logement du Québec, which is a model for good practices with respect to fighting discrimination.
- A useful project would be to establish a youth centre to offer them the same services in French as those already available in English. This type of project should be launched in consultation with young people. We should get them involved in developing and implementing the model to encourage them to participate.
- We will need to assess the availability of post-secondary education in French and identify existing adult education programs to ensure continuing education. For example, some refugees do not have ready access to French language education, which leads them to drop out. We also need to promote family literacy for adults. This is a positive experience which enables participants to acquire various skills needed for social inclusion.
- The RCMP has a very strong presence on the Prairies. Police services and parents should strengthen their ties and work together so that parents can better understand the difficulties experienced by young people and the police can develop greater awareness of different cultures. The police often do not understand the realities of young Francophone immigrants, which differ from those of young English-speaking immigrants. We need to educate young people to teach them how to avoid gangs and be resilient.
The Ontario regional sub-group proposed the following collaborative arrangements:
- Perform a literature review and an environmental scan to obtain a more accurate estimate of the number of young Francophones caught up in the legal system. Nobody knows what the current situation is. The literature review will need to identify potential solutions and report on best practices in prevention.
- Disseminate legal information to assist immigrant families. Providing this information will involve more than just translation.
- Organize support for families who have a youth caught up in the legal system. This goes beyond prevention, but is necessary because immigrant families are not familiar with the procedures.
- Organize basic financial support for the start-up phase of projects. Francophone organizations are smaller than their Anglophone counterparts (think of the Toronto YMCA for example) and cannot respond to invitations to submit project proposals without financial support to ensure that the proposals are prepared properly.
- Support cultural skills training for stakeholders, immigrants and institutions.
- Provide communities with training to familiarize them with the departments' justice and prevention programs. These courses would also offer opportunities for sharing best practices.
The Atlantic regional sub-group proposed the following collaborative arrangements:
- Create regional round tables and even local or community round tables. These round tables would enable stakeholders to become familiar with the programs, agree to collaborate and share resources to avoid duplication. Communities could identify specific needs and priorities that reflect their respective realities.
- Provide cultural and linguistic training so that stakeholders have a more thorough understanding of the issues.
- Build up small communities' capabilities and improve their resources so that young people can access programs and treatment in their communities.
- Develop partnerships between agencies, departments and community groups to share information on crime and risk behaviour more efficiently. These types of partnerships would enable studies and environmental scans to be conducted, which would make it easier to obtain funds for Francophone minority communities.
The national round table sub-group proposed the following collaborative arrangements:
- Other federal partners will have to participate in this initiative. We noted the absence of Health Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the education sector through national organizations as well as the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.
- The needs must be documented by conducting studies of young people in minority communities (Canadians, immigrants, racial and ethnocultural minorities, Francophone and other minorities). Subsequently, the studies will be used to establish a strategy based on actual conditions. The implementation of national goals must be based on regional needs.
- Create “mixed prevention squads”, based on what is being done at the operational level (multidisciplinary teams).
- Implement an integrated communications strategy between operational federal institutions, community stakeholders and municipal police chiefs. This would provide recognition for "good initiatives" and improve the image of institutions such as the RCMP and municipal police officers in vulnerable and at risk communities.
- Encourage greater promotion of programs already underway such as the Junior Canadian Ranger and Cadet programs. Integrate this promotion by using the RCMP's existing network at the federal level, and community organizations.
- Develop exchange programs for Francophone social workers or exchanges during student internships.
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