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Photo: Canadian Encyclopedia

University expected to welcome first cohort of students in September 2021

The provincial and federal governments announced Wednesday that they reached an agreement to jointly fund a French-language university in Toronto.

Both levels of government will invest a total of $126 million toward the project over a period of eight years. The federal government will invest $63 million over five years which will be matched by the provincial government. 

The announcement follows the September 2019 memorandum of understanding which saw both levels of government agree on the need for a francophone university in Toronto.

“The Université de l’Ontario français is an important and long awaited-for project, critical to future generations of Franco-Ontarians,” said Ontario Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney in a press release. 

The Ford government had previously announced plans to scrap the project in November 2018. At the time, Ford said the project was an irresponsible promise made by the former Liberal government days before the 2018 election. The former Liberal government had promised and began planning for a francophone university to open in Toronto all the way back in 2017.

“We are delighted to achieve this historic milestone and to welcome, as planned, the first cohorts in the fall 2021,” said Dyane Adam, chair of the board of governors for Université de l’Ontario français, in the press release.

It is still unclear where the university will be located in Toronto. The original project planned on sharing offices and classrooms with College Boreal’s Toronto campus but nothing has been confirmed as of now.  

Francophones delighted 

Many influential French-Canadian figures and organizations took to Twitter on Wednesday to show their enthusiasm for the project. 

“We celebrate the signature of the Canada-Ontario agreement with @universiteON! @uOttawa will continue to work with you and thanks Melanie Joly, Caroline Mulroney and Ross Romano for continuing to develop post-secondary education in French!” tweeted University of Ottawa president Jacques Frémont.

“This is a historic day for Franco-Ontarians,” tweeted federal Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly. ”A project that unites Francophones from all parts of our country and an unprecedented measure that will give thousands of Canadians the opportunity to pursue their education in French in Ontario.”

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