Francophone affairs sees digital growth: report

(Herald file photo)

The provincial government’s Francophone Affairs branch translated thousands of words and expanded services for French-speakers in Saskatchewan during the 2017-18 year, the department’s annual report said.

The report was released Friday. It looked at the various services the branch provides, such as liaising between the government and the Francophone community managing French-language services, providing translation services and supporting the provincial secretary.

French services are available through Saskatchewan.ca/bonjour, by calling 1-888-645-0850 or by emailing bonour@gov.sk.ca. Information is also available on the Services en Français en Saskatchewan Facebook page. French language services are available in the Prince Albert agriculture services office as well as agricultural regional services, labour market services, the regional prosecution office and child and family services.

The French language web pages saw a 25 per cent increase in the number of online percentages, while the Facebook page saw an 18 per cent increase in the number of follows during the 2017-18 reporting year.

The majority of information requests were for immigration, followed by employment advanced education and services provided by Francophone Affairs.

With dozens of translation requests, the branch focuses on larger documents and web pages that “facilitate more active and direct communication with French-speaking citizens,” the annual report said.

Larger documents translated during the 2017-18 reporting year included the Hunters’ and Trappers’ Guide, the Canada 150 legacy Board Game, the crop insurance guide and the guide to employment standards. In total, 501,985 words were translated and revised. The Justice department leads the way with 68,809 translation requests, 14 per cent of the provincial total. Justice, education, health and advanced education combined for 29 per cent of all translation requests.

The annual report also highlighted efforts by Francophone Affairs to improve services for French-speaking residents and to encourage increased Francophone immigration outside of Quebec.

According to an online and in-person survey conducted in November 2017, 80 per cent of French-speakers are aware of the online and phone information services. Of those who used the services, 75 per cent found what they were looking for. Only about half of the residents surveyed were aware of the Facebook page.

The survey also identified five priority areas for the development of new services: health, immigration, employment, advanced education and K-12 education.

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