Two years ago, Marie-France Lalonde -- in the capacity of parliamentary assistant to the-then Francophone minister -- attended the Service’s French Community Consultative Committee (FCCC) annual International Francophonie Day celebration at HQ.
She was back at the seventh annual celebration on March 20, this time as Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs and Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services.
Lalonde thanked Toronto police officers for instilling a culture of inclusion and respect while on the job.
“We understand the great challenges that you face, every day, in the line of duty and we are extremely thankful for your commitment to cultural diversity and the promotion of French language services within the ranks,” she said.
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.
“The Toronto Police Services Board and the Service are committed to ensuring that our organization fully reflects and fully incorporates all of the groups that make up our wonderful diverse community in all that we do,” said Board member Ken Jeffers. “As a concrete demonstration of this commitment, our Board supports this event with a financial contribution.”
He acknowledged the FCCC for the significant work it does in a number of areas, including the provision of translation services and working with the community to address domestic violence issues.
“We deeply appreciate your help in ensuring that our commitment to an inclusive delivery of services and employment practices includes Toronto’s French-speaking community,” Jeffers added.
Chief Mark Saunders also thanked the FCCC for its extended efforts to build and strengthen bridges between the Service and the French community.
“Without you, we would not be successful,” he said.
Saunders spoke about the Service’s modernization plan as it seeks to ensure that the organization is keeping pace with changing needs and expectations
“Within that modernization, we are trying to make every effort to be transparent, engaging, inclusive and collaborative with all of Toronto’s diverse communities,” said the Chief. “Our goal will include our continued commitment to meet the complex needs of a large city. We will get there by our renewed approval in relating to the public.”
York University’s Glendon College principal Donald Ipperciel was the keynote speaker, noting the French language is flourishing across the world and includes a diverse number of distinct communities from Morocco to Mauritius to Canada.
The Service employs nearly 650 French-speaking members.