Dawson is developing a new French Language Policy to adhere to Law 14
In order to adhere to new requirements under the Quebec Charter of the French Language enacted in 2022, Dawson College is in the process of revising its French Language Policy originally adopted in 2003. The Ministry of Higher Education has given all CEGEPs in Quebec until June 1, 2023 to submit their new policy for review.
All CEGEPs in Quebec are now designated as either anglophone or francophone institutions under the Charter, with each group having distinct obligations. Dawson College is designated an anglophone institution, and as such, must include the following elements in its French Language Policy:
- An admissions policy that prioritizes certificate holders (those who are eligible for English-language education who have obtained a certificate of eligibility) if the number of applicants exceeds the number of places in a given program. For context, for admissions to Fall 2023, approximately 5,000 of 13,000 applicants to Dawson College were certificate holders. In addition, according to the Charter all certificate holders in Quebec must be able to have a place in an anglophone CEGEP.
- The policy must address the mastery of French required at the end of studies. This includes the requirement for all non-certificate holders to pass the French Exit Exam and for all certificate holders to pass a minimum of five courses in or of French. All students must also have command of the appropriate French terminology relevant to their program of studies.
- The College must commit to communicating in French with the Quebec government as well as any Quebec-based corporations or organization. The College can list exceptions to this rule.
- The College must list the services the College can offer in French to both students and staff. There is no obligation or requirement to offer services in French but rather a need to inform the community what types of services could be accessed in French.
- The College must translate into French all policies, regulations and institutional documents that are submitted to the Ministry for approval.
In addition, all CEGEPs in Quebec must have a complaint mechanism under their French Language Policy as well as a consultation mechanism for the policy’s development and any subsequent revisions. At Dawson College, a Standing Committee on the French Language Policy has been formed to serve as this consultation mechanism, with all major unions and interest groups within the College represented. The members of the committee are:
- Megan Ainscow (Communications)
- Carmela Gumelli (Dean of Academic Systems)
- Dianne Hawryluck (Association of Dawson Professionals)
- Anca Elena Oprisi (Human Resources)
- Anne-Marie Papillon (Dawson Support Staff Union)
- Benjamin Savard (Dawson Student Union)
- Alan Stewart (Academic Dean’s Office)
- Jonathon Sumner (Association des cadres des collèges du Québec)
- Mohammad Parsa Sajadian (Dawson Student Union)
- Emilie Richer (Dawson Teachers’ Union)
In addition, the Senate’s Admissions Advisory Committee, which includes representatives from major groups across the college, has been reactivated. This committee will be making recommendations about the prioritization of certificate holders for admissions.
Once the policy is drafted, likely by the end of April, the Standing Committee on the French Language Policy will share the draft policy with the Dawson Community and invite feedback before submitting the policy to the Senate and the Board of Governors for approval. It is important to note that there are many aspects of the policy that are required by law and where the College has limited flexibility to define a local policy. Areas with more flexibility include defining our own admissions policy with respect to certificate holders as well as defining both the consultation and complaint mechanisms.
Anyone in the community who may wish to provide feedback at this stage is welcome to contact Megan Ainscow, Chair of the Standing Committee on the French Language Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.