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Press release from the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO)

PROVINCIAL RENEWAL OF BONJOUR WELCOME

The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO), the organisation representing Ontario’s 1.5 million French speakers, is proud to renew its Bonjour Welcome campaign .

The campaign, launched at the provincial level in 2016, has already been well received in all parts of Ontario. It has been successful in forging partnerships with local Ontario French-Canadian associations (ACFO), and other organizations representing the francophone community . Fourteen ambassadors from across the province have already joined the project.

For this new phase of the project, 8 new Francophone associations in 8 new regions, received funding to promote the campaign in their area : Association des communautés francophones de l’Ontario in Toronto (ACFO Toronto), Centre communautaire francophone in Sarnia/Lambton (CCF Sarnia), Centre communautaire francophone in London (CCF London), Centre régional de recherche et d’intervention en développement économique et communautaire in Kapuskasing (CRRIDEC), Cercle de l’amitié in Peel/Mississauga, Club 2000 in Niagara (CERF Niagara), Rayon Franco de Cochrane in Cochrane and the Services for Counselling Hearst Kapuskasing Smooth Rock Falls in Hearst (Kap Counselling).

According to Peter Hominuk, the AFO’s Executive Director, “This is a positive campaign intended to encourage Ontario’s Francophones, visitors, as well as bilingual individuals to ask to be served in French when purchasing goods and services”. He adds that the Bonjour Welcome campaign also includes a component which directly targets the business community, French speakers as well as English speakers: “I invite business people to proudly show that they can serve their clients in both French and English. They will quickly realize that bilingualism is good for business. Serving clients in their language is quality customer service.”

Another new addition to the project’s renewal is a directory of bilingual businesses and organizations . The directory was developed as a result of the networking efforts of Bonjour Welcome’s first ambassadors, and the interest of businesses to take part in this provincial bilingual campaign. Regional ambassadors built the directory and it will continue to develop thanks to the efforts of new ambassadors coming on board, as well as the interest of businesses and organizations who offer services in both of Canada’s official languages.

The Bonjour Welcome campaign, launched as part of Canada 150 programming, is financed by the department of Canadian Heritage and underscores Canada’s two official languages as a national treasure. Bonjour Welcome is pleased to pursue its partnership with the Regroupement des gens d’affaires (RGA), a consortium of Francophone businesses in Ontario. The RGA will help Bonjour Welcome identify prospective bilingual businesses and organizations as well as provide training and support.