JACFA Alert: Special General Assembly to Discuss Bill 96

Dear Colleagues,

We are calling a general assembly for 5:30 p.m., Monday April 11, on Zoom, to respond to emergent developments related to Bill 96 of the Quebec government.

As you may be aware, the Quebec National Assembly is currently debating Bill 96, an act to amend the French Language Act. The original version of the bill contained elements that would affect English-Language Cegeps, including caps on enrollments and the imposition of a French language exit exam for some students. These details were presented at the May 19, 2021, general assembly. (Read GA minutes)

As the bill has made its way through the various stages of legislative debate, a very worrisome amendment has been added to the bill, namely the obligation of English-language Cegep DEC students to take three of their program courses in French (not including their English, French as Second Language, and Phys Ed courses). Given the rules at this point in its legislative process and the various political parties’ positions, these amendments are very likely to be passed into law. Although not specified in the bill, the new rules could take effect as early as Fall 2023.

Needless to say, the introduction of such requirements would create serious difficulties for many of our students and difficulties for our teachers and departments. Both the Federation of Cegeps and FNEEQ, our union federation, have attempted to lobby against these measures, with very little engagement from the government in response. Despite requests from both FNEEQ and the president of CSN, Caroline Senneville, the minister responsible for the bill, Simon Jolin-Barrette, has steadfastly refused to meet our union representatives. At the FNEEQ Regroupement Cegep meeting last week, FNEEQ adopted a position that unequivocally opposes the 3-French-course requirement. (read FNEEQ adopted position)

In light of the current situation, the Executive is calling a special general assembly to discuss our plan to oppose the bill and provide our members with an opportunity to ask questions. The meeting will take place on Zoom, 5:30 p.m., Monday, April 11. In the coming days, before the GA, we will be providing more relevant background information on the matter. We hope you will be able to make this important meeting. This is an issue that will have grave implications for student success and the working conditions of teachers in all sectors.

In solidarity,

The  JACFA Executive