74th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada


The ministers of education, gathered in Halifax for a meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), have urged the federal government to restore the funding for the Official-Languages in Education (OLE) Program.

Despite the insistence of the provinces and territories and calls from major nongovernmental organizations not to reduce funding for the program, Ottawa has proceeded with cuts. Minister of Canadian Heritage, Sheila Copps, announced in March that the program would be reduced by $228 million over the next five years, compared to the previous five-year period.

"A great deal of progress has been achieved over the past twenty-five years in official-language education," said the Honourable Roger Grimes, vice-Chair of CMEC. Mr. Grimes chaired the ministers' meeting. "Failure to increase the funding will put that progress in jeopardy."

The ministers had met with the Honourable Paul Martin, federal Minister of Finance, in March of this year. At that time, Mr. Martin had agreed to review the level of funding for the OLE Program. However, no reply has been forthcoming from him, as yet.

"The Chair of CMEC, the Honourable Paul Ramsey of British Columbia, will seek a meeting with Mr. Martin and Ms. Copps in the near future to discuss the seriousness of this situation for the youth of Canada," said Mr. Grimes. "We met today with the federal Minister of Human Resources Development and we asked him to transmit our message to his cabinet colleagues."

CMEC is an intergovernmental body made up of the ministers responsible for elementary- secondary and advanced education from the provinces and the territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern.



Lara Inglis, CMEC
416-964-2551, ext. 256
E-mail: lara@cmec.ca