The president of Sarnia's French Community Centre is thrilled with the province's decision to begin offering French service at its government offices in Sarnia.
The change will take effect on November 1, 2024.
Tanya Tamilio said about 5,400 Francophones live in Sarnia-Lambton, representing about 4.2 per cent of the population.
"Currently we luck out in some areas where you can randomly find a person who is bilingual, let's say in social services, but they are few and far between," said Tamilio. "So people do end up leaving the area because they don't have services and they may not speak English very well to obtain those services, which is sad."
Tamilio said featured services include things like health card and drivers licence renewals, but funding is also included for provincially run counselling.
"This will create more employment for the Francophone community because they'll be requiring bilingual agents," she said.
"To be able to receive service in the language of your choice is also super good news. Three years we've been waiting for this, and it's exciting," said Tamilio. "If you think about it, we have five French immersion schools so parents out there are wanting their children to learn both official languages of Canada. We also have two Francophone school boards in our region, so there are two elementary and two high schools that are all French-speaking. Of course, we have our own community centre here as well."
Sarnia will become the 27th city in Ontario to offer bilingual service.