Electoral Priorities

Electoral priorities

On the eve of the first provincial election since the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a host of issues facing the people of Manitoba – including the French-speaking community. Not only has the pandemic transformed the lives of Manitobans, it has also weakened the economy, raised significant new challenges and exposed some previously invisible vulnerabilities. For the Francophonie, the pandemic stressed the importance of access to services in French for all French-speaking people, including those whose only official language spoken and understood is French.

In this electoral context, the Société de la francophonie manitobaine (SFM) – the official spokesperson for Manitoba’s Francophonie in all its diversity – is launching with its partners a canvassing campaign to present the priorities of the Francophonie and to obtain the support of candidates for these priorities.

A document outlining our priorities and our recommendations on these priorities has been sent to each major political party, together with a questionnaire designed to elicit their views on each issue. We publish their responses on our website as we receive them.

Browse the menu below to read our priorities and recommendations, or click on the following link to view the full PDF version of the document.

The SFM and its community partners want the priorities of Manitoba’s Francophone community to be clearly expressed and taken into account in the next election. Click on the button below to find out how you can get involved!



It goes without saying that French education is the primary vehicle for ensuring the vitality and survival of Manitoba’s French-speaking minority. The Francophonie is very proud of the institutions it has built up over the centuries, but the early childhood system is currently in crisis. Among other things, the system is suffering from a lack of funding and lengthy processes to access new operating grants from the province. While many initiatives are underway at the community level to address the unique and specific needs of the French-language system compared to the English-language system, more needs to be done to strengthen the sector and meet the challenges facing the system.

Here are the five main recommendations:

1. That the Bureau de l’éducation française (BEF), which is of vital importance to students in French-language schools and Immersion schools, be strengthened.

2. That the Department of Education and Early Childhood Learning (EECL) continue to promote a holistic, whole-of-government approach to French-language education by working more closely along a continuum that encompasses all French-language education services, from early childhood to post-secondary and continuing education.

3. That access to French-language education be adequately funded so that all parents, whether entitled or not, can choose to send their children to a French-language school or an immersion school, as the case may be.

4. That EECL further streamline the processes involved in awarding early childhood grants and open up more spaces in French-language childcare centres, which would not only increase their capacity to accommodate French-speaking youth, but also free up spaces occupied by Francophones in English-language childcare centres.

5. That the provincial government financially support the Université de Saint-Boniface’s development plan so that it can recruit, welcome and train an increased number of local and international French-speaking students, for the benefit of the entire province and to offset shortages in the education sector.


Health has become a critical issue for all Manitobans in recent years. While quality primary health care and mental health services are essential to the well-being of all Manitobans, this is also true for French-speaking people who need to obtain these services in their first official language spoken and understood.

Here are the four health recommendations:

1. That the provincial government recognize the importance of French-language services to the well-being of French-speaking Manitobans and take concrete steps to continue improving access to French-language health services.

2. That the Department of Health support the work begun by Santé en français and Shared Health to ensure that a Francophone lens continues to be applied as part of the transformation of the health system, including primary and mental health care.

3. That the French-language service option be restored to the Info Santé telephone line, to ensure that French-speaking people have fast, guaranteed and equitable access to services in their official language.

4. That the provincial government take steps to address the shortage of francophone and bilingual health care professionals, both by strengthening the capacity of the Université de Saint-Boniface to train and recruit candidates for its programs, and by undertaking a recruitment campaign of its own in French-speaking countries, similar to the positive efforts of the Department of Labour and Immigration in the Philippines.


If French education is used to help fill the labour shortage, immigration is a second main source of talent that can help alleviate this crisis. Welcoming French-speaking newcomers not only enriches our communities culturally, economically and socially, it also strengthens the demographic weight of the French-speaking community, which is experiencing an alarming decline across Canada, including Manitoba.

Here are the four main recommendations:

1. That the Department of Labour and Immigration re-establish the Francophone immigration target at 15%, in an effort to stabilize and strengthen the demographic weight of Manitoba’s Francophone community.

2. That the Advisory Council on Economic Immigration and Settlement work closely with Francophone organizations specializing in the reception and settlement of newcomers to promote the advantages of Francophone immigration for the province and for Manitoba’s Francophonie, and to facilitate the implementation of the priority measures proposed in the White Paper in a concerted, results-based action plan.

3. That the Department of Labour and Immigration promote Manitoba’s Francophone communities and immigrant recruitment strategies in order to increase the number of Francophone immigrant individuals and families who settle and integrate into Manitoba’s Francophone communities, with the active participation of the communities themselves.

4. That the Departments of Post-Secondary Education and Training, and Labour and Immigration continue to work together to improve and accelerate the process of prior learning recognition and skills upgrading for French-speaking immigrants, in collaboration with unions, professional associations and post-secondary institutions offering French-language programs.

Arts, culture, sport and tourism

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to recede, revitalizing Manitoba’s economy remains a key challenge, especially in times of inflationary uncertainty. The arts, culture and tourism are key to Manitoba’s vitality, both economically and socially. Indeed, in a context of interprovincial and international competition for labour, it is quality of life that determines where the most qualified people will go to live and work. That’s why Manitoba must focus on artistic and cultural vitality as a vector for economic recovery.

Here are a few recommendations for the Francophone arts, culture, sport and tourism sector:

1. That the provincial government fully support Travel Manitoba’s Francophone tourism strategy in order to focus more on the historical and contemporary reality of Francophones and the discovery of Métis culture and heritage.

2. That the Province of Manitoba support the project to build a new Atrium de la francophonie at the CCFM in order to provide an exceptional showcase for the artistic, cultural and tourism vitality of Manitoba’s Francophonie, while creating a popular gathering place in a modern facility worthy of Manitoba’s official language minority.

3. That the Department of Sport, Culture and Heritage increase its annual funding to the CCFM so that it can, for the benefit of the community, fulfill its dual mandate as set out in the CCFM Act, and ensure its financial sustainability by enabling it to generate new sources of revenue and build up a reserve.

Francophone Affairs

The SFM is pleased with the services it has received from the Francophone Affairs Secretariat (FAS) in recent years. The Secretariat acts as a key interlocutor for the SFM and Manitoba’s Francophonie as a whole, as well as an indispensable ally in advancing the community’s interests.

It is essential that there is a close relationship between the FAS and the minister responsible for Francophone Affairs. The FAS’s mandate is horizontal and concerns the whole of government. Maintaining a close relationship between the FAS and the Minister is necessary for them to fulfill their responsibilities under The Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act.

Here are the recommendations put forward for this issue:

1. That the French Language Services Policy be replaced by a new regulation stemming from the Supporting the Development of Manitoba’s Francophonie Act that better clarifies the roles, responsibilities and processes for improving French-language services.

2. That the Francophone Affairs Secretariat be required to develop and implement a corporate, multi-year strategic plan for French-language services to ensure a consistent, government-wide approach in this area, while working with the Clerk’s Office to raise the priority of this issue among all Manitoba public servants.

Municipal Services

The sixth priority for Manitoba’s Francophonie in the run-up to the provincial election is French-language municipal services. The SFM would like to highlight the excellent work done by the Association des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba (AMBM) in recent years to develop the first maturity model for the delivery of municipal services in both official languages.

Here are the recommendations put forward with a view to the provincial elections:

1. That the provincial government support the maturity model for the delivery of municipal services in both official languages developed by the AMBM, which reiterates the importance of services in French. In addition, that the idea of modernizing Part 9 of the City of Winnipeg Charter be supported, in close collaboration with the City of Winnipeg and the French-speaking community that will receive these services.

2. That Part 9 of the City of Winnipeg Charter ensure an equal right of access to all French-speaking people, regardless of their area of residence, and introduce mechanisms to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Charter, as well as the implementation of positive measures to encourage the expansion of French-language services beyond the minimum obligations.

3. That the Province of Manitoba work with the City of Winnipeg and municipalities to secure federal funding to support the delivery of French-language municipal services.