In focus


In 1968, the provincial government of John P. Robarts opens the door to creating French-language public secondary schools in Ontario. This is a great victory for Franco-Ontarians, who see their enrolment rates, lower than the provincial average, increase rapidly thereafter. In 1977, a group of young people found the Fédération des élèves du secondaire franco-ontarien (FESFO) to bring together the students attending these new schools. The organization that will later become the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne quickly emerges as the spokesperson for youth, both within the community and with policy-makers.

Since its establishment, FESFO plays a leading social, cultural and identity-affirming role among its thousands of members. From its headquarters in Ottawa, it offers community workshops throughout the province and organizes tours for artists, musicians and theatrical productions. Following the lead of its predecessor, the Association de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne, FESFO offers a leadership camp every year at Lake Couchiching, near Georgian Bay. Many French-speaking spokespersons and political representatives from Ottawa have participated in the camp over the years. For Franco-Ontarian youth, FESFO remains a privileged place of identity formation and an exceptional springboard for action.