Francophonie Day Celebration Held at Local School

By Ron Fanfair

Ron Fanfair


Toronto Police Services Board

For the first time in 13 years, the French Community Consultative Committee’s (FCCC) annual International Francophonie Day celebration on March 20 was held outside police headquarters.

The event took place at Frere-Andre Catholic High School and Ecole Secondaire Toronto Ouest that are housed in the same building at 330 Lansdowne Avenue in 11 Division.

Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue thanked the schools for inviting Toronto Police into its space for the celebration.

“Schools are an important part of the community, if not the most important,” she said. “The mosaic that is Toronto is represented indubitably in its schools.”

In engaging the Grade 10 to 12 students, Service members exposed them to the various operations within the Service.

“We are hoping to inspire you to explore the possibility of becoming a police officer, Special Constable, Auxiliary Officer etc. so that one day you may represent your French-speaking community with your language skills,” added Pogue.

Observed annually since 1988, International Francophonie Day celebrates the French language and diversity in French-speaking countries, including Canada.

The FCCC is one of the original six consultative committees and its membership reflects the diversity of the French culture.

Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) Interim Chair Lisa Kostakis said the French community’s great richness, variety and complexity mirror those of French-speaking people around the world.

Woman speaks at podium
Toronto Police Services Board Lia Kostakis speaks at the Francophone Day celebration Photo: Ronald Fanfair

“It is both inspiring and heartening to come together to celebrate the vitality of our French language, our rich culture and our proud character,” she said. “The Board and the Service are committed to ensuring that our organization truly reflects and fully incorporates all of the groups that make up our wonderfully diverse community in all that we do.”

In its foundational Declaration of Principles, the TPSB recognizes the historic role that Francophones have played in the development of Ontario and pledges, among other things, to provide appropriate services that are sensitive to the ethnic-cultural makeup of the Francophoine community.”

The FCCC works with the French community to recruit French-speaking officers, helps translates documents for the Employment Records Management Unit and aids the Service with the use of social media.

“These activities ensure the community is kept informed and engaged and foster an essential positive and ongoing partnership between the police and the French community,” added Kostakis. “We deeply appreciate your help in ensuring that our commitment to inclusive delivery of services and employment practices includes Toronto’s French-speaking community.

“You have also played a vital role in outreach initiatives involving youth. It is so important that we continue to work with young people in our communities, facilitating a steady stream of discourse and an ongoing commitment to building and fortifying our ever-important partnerships.”

Marc Arseneau, the Frere-Andre Catholic High School Director, openly welcomed the Service to the school.

“As a Franco Ontarian born and raised in Toronto, I see the importance of the language and community as well as the partnership with Toronto Police,” he pointed out. “It is good to have such a positive event as this one where students can interact with police officers.”

Guitar player
French musician Marc Ouellette plays his guitar Photo: Ronald Fanfair

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