Youth 4 Youth Québec, a non-profit organization “committed to addressing the issues facing English-speaking youth” is calling on the Legault government to “consult with more members of the English-speaking community, and youth in particular,” during upcoming hearings on Bill 96, the proposed expanded language law.
The youth group points out that of 50 groups and individuals being part of this fall’s consultations, only the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN); the Consortium of English-language CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities of Québec, and the Townshippers’ Association represent the English-speaking community.
“While these organizations represent key sectors of the English-speaking community and have important expertise, they do not possess a youth-led Board of Directors,” says a statement from Y4Y Québec. “Of the groups and individuals invited, only the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) is youth-led. According to the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN)’s 2018 data, over 40% of Quebecers speak English, and 20.5% of this group consist of English-speaking youth.”
Y4Y Québec argues that “legislation as impactful on young English-speaking Quebecers’ CEGEP and workplace considerations demands their perspectives be heard.
“Y4Y Québec therefore urges the government to ensure adequate representation of English-speaking youth in their public consultations as this age demographic will live longest with the effects of the legislation. Quebec’s youth, particularly its student population, will experience the brunt of the changes contained in the proposed legislation.”
“Much like the English-speaking community itself, the province’s youth population is incredibly diverse,” stated Youth 4 Youth Québec President Madeleine Lawler. “Not only do the younger generations have a variety of concerns and questions about Bill 96, they also have valuable insight on the kinds of policies that will be effective in promoting and retaining French-language skill acquisition amongst non-native French speakers.”