Who is Bill Floch?
Well known to the English-speaking community, Bill Floch arrives in his new role as leader of the Secretariat for Relations with English Speaking Quebecers possessing a wealth of experience and knowledge. Bill began his career in the education field, was for two years the Executive Director of the Townshippers’ Association, and for the last couple of decades has been engaged in various capacities at the Department of Canadian Heritage, primarily as a Policy Researcher and Manager. His work in policy research has given him both a deep and wide knowledge of the English-speaking community of Quebec and he is particularly well-suited to his new portfolio. At the press conference at which his appointment was announced, he was quoted as saying, “I’m very optimistic. There are really positive signs of openings and of support for this concept. It will be a matter figuring out across the sectors and ministries where we can help the most and align with community needs and priorities.” The ESCC is very pleased to be able to welcome Bill to its 37th AGM and we encourage the community to attend on June 13th at Loyola High School to learn more of the new Secretariat.
Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers
At the tail end of 2017, the Quebec government announced the establishment of a new Secretariat for Relations with English-speaking Quebecers and that Bill Floch would be heading up the Secretariat. The announcement, following fast upon that of MNA Kathleen Weil being made Minister for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, was the culmination of a number of years of collaborative work by the Quebec Community Groups Network advocating for just such a governmental instrument for effective representation of the minority language community within the provincial government. By establishing this Secretariat, the Couillard government is in some ways emulating Ontario`s Ministry of Francophone Affairs which has a staff of 20 and a budget of $5.3 million. As described by the Secretariat, its goals are as follows:
- Ensure liaisons with sectoral, regional and provincial groups that represent English‑speaking Quebecers.
- Ensure that the concerns of English-speaking Quebecers are taken into consideration in the development of government policy direction and decisions, and in matters of access to government programmes and their application in conjunction with the concerned ministries and agencies.
- Make available relevant statistics to document issues facing English-speaking Quebecers.
- Interact with the federal government on issues, agreements, programs or policies that may have a direct or indirect impact on English-speaking Quebecers in collaboration with the Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes and other ministries and bodies concerned.
- Advise the government, ministries and bodies on relations with English-speaking Quebecers regarding the provision of services and issues, agreements, programs and policies that may have a direct or indirect impact on the community.
Has your parish or organization been affected by the newly required attestation for application to the Summer Jobs Program? If so, the Archdiocese of Montreal wants to know!
In an effort to gain information about the effect of this requirement upon the organizations and parishes within the Archdiocese of Montreal, our colleagues have produced a short survey. The information gathered from this survey will help the Archdiocese as it communicates about this issue with the CCCB, government representatives and the press and also as it decides on its next steps in response to this issue. If your parish or organization has received funding from the CSJ program or if your group has considered applying but has opted not to apply because of the attestation requirement, please take a few minutes to complete the following survey: http://bit.ly/2FcmI4N
The pews in the churches of Montreal are going to be increasingly populated by newcomers to Canada. That was one of the conclusions of Reginald Bibby’s fascinating lecture given last November at Loyola High School. In a lively and engaging style Bibby, the most well-known sociologist of religion in Canada, began by giving a short synopsis of the history of Catholics in Canada and then proceeded to paint a picture of the future. That future has everything to do with immigration. Why is this? One part of the answer has to do with how Canada is growing. In 2016, population growth in Canada was 30% natural increase and 70% immigration. By 2036, 100% of population growth will be down to immigration. The second part of the equation has to do with a difference in religious commitment between those born in Canada and those born outside of Canada. On average, immigrants tend to be more religiously committed than the population that was born in Canada.
Basing his lecture off his most recent books, Canada’s Catholics (2016) and Resilient Gods (2017), Bibby noted that historically Catholics have had an ability to create communities for immigrant populations. “The dominant policy seems to have been to allow Catholics to establish new parishes where they could initially live out life in the language and culture of their homeland. Churches thereby retained Catholics in the course of providing them with communities that offered immigrants social, emotional and spiritual support in their new country.” –p.122, Canada’s Catholics.
The Catholic Church in Canada has, on the whole, done a great job in creating healthy and nurturing environments for newcomers to adapt and integrate to their new homeland. Looking forward, churches will need to keep a number of questions in mind. Here are five questions which Bibby suggests leaders need to ask:
- How can the Church help newcomers adjust to Canada?
- How can parishes provide welcoming environments?
- To what extent will new parishes be created?
- What can be done to ensure that the high levels of commitment and involvement that are characteristic of many immigrants continue?
- What can be done by way of superb family ministry to ensure that enthusiasm for the faith continues to characterize the second generation of newcomers?
Important questions, for sure!
On November 30th, the ESCC and the Office for English Pastoral Services are co-hosting a public lecture by the well-known Canadian sociologist, Dr. Reginald Bibby. Dr. Bibby holds the Board of Governors Research Chair in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lethbridge and the author of numerous books which examine trends in Canadian society. He has spent his academic career monitoring, speaking and writing about these trends, particularly regarding youth and religion. In 2016, he co-authored with Angus Reid the book Canada’s Catholics. The title of Dr. Bibby’s November 30th talk is, Being Pro-Religious, Low Religious, and No Religious in Montreal: A Mirror of Canada & the World and will draw on material from his most recent book, Resilient Gods, which is the fifth in his “Gods” series which has tracked developments in religious practice and belief in Canada.
This is a free, public lecture and will take place at Loyola High School, 2477 West Broadway, Montreal. There will be a wine & cheese reception to follow. Please R.S.V.P at email@example.com or (514) 937-2301 ext. 252
According to 2016 Census, the number of one-person households has surpassed that of all other types of living arrangements. The English-speaking seniors of Quebec face greater challenges than the majority-language population as their ability to gain services in their official language is not always guaranteed and the out-migration of friends and family means a narrower circle of support during times of ill-health or crisis. This, in turn, leads to a higher degree of isolation amongst an already vulnerable senior population. In collaboration with the Father Dowd Foundation, the ESCC will be hosting a workshop on Friday, November 24th which will showcase the pilot project of Senior’s Action Quebec entitled GPS (Getting to Programs and Services). In the afternoon, the Council will host Elder Law specialist, Ann Soden. Seniors will be invited to attend to listen to Ann and to ask their own questions regarding legal issues that apply specifically to them.
This workshop will take place at the New Hope Senior Citizen’s Centre in NDG. Would you like more information? Give us a call or drop us a line at the Council offices’.
Along with other faith communities, the Archdiocese of Montreal responded with alacrity to the needs of Syrian refugees in 2015. Under the coordination of Alessandra Santopadre, Assistant to the Director of the Office of Cultural and Ritual Communities, some 15 parishes became sponsors for refugee families and some 200 individual cases were handled. Now, in response to the wave of asylum seekers who are crossing the border from the United States, a new initiative, Le Pont, is being launched. One of the immediate requirements for asylum seekers is accommodation. The Parish of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in the Mercier borough of Montreal has offered their vacant rectory as a temporary shelter. The building has twelve rooms and priority will be given to pregnant women and single mothers. But help is needed!
Here is a list of necessary items:
Mattress and box springs “bassinette” size (5)
Single beds adults (or bunk beds) (15)
Safety barriers for bunk beds (10)
Small tables, chests of drawers, bedside tables (15-20)
Bedding set, blankets, towels: (40-50 SINGLE sets) (1 per person, plus spare)
Televisions, DVD player (2)
Radio, CD player (1)
Office, office chairs (1-2)
Office equipment: computer, printer, telephone, stationery
Round table, chairs (6) chairs
For the common living area: Games, books for all ages, DVDs, etc.
Patio set: outdoor chairs and tables, BBQ
Household equipment, mops, pails, brooms, etc preferably new, cleaning products
Non-perishable food items
Toiletries Shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products.
Please go to the Facebook page for more information:
On March 15, 2017, the Quebec Community Groups Network will be hosting a one-day conference on community engagement and the successful integration of newcomers. This pre-forum to the National Metropolis Conference aims to bring together representatives from various sectors and various regions to discuss how newcomers (immigrants, refugees and migrants) integrate into Quebec society through Quebec’s English-speaking communities and institutions, including faith-based organizations. The conference, sponsored by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), will wrap up with a roundtable of community organizations, service providers, and government representatives that aims to uncover innovative ways our communities can – with the support of municipal, provincial, and federal government institutions – foster the vitality of English-speaking communities in Quebec through the successful integration of newcomers – that is immigrants, refugees and migrants from the rest of Canada. Would you like more information? Go to the website for info and to register for this conference.
The subject of end-of-life-issues, specifically those of assisted-suicide and euthanasia, have dominated Canadian headlines over the past few years. On June 5, 2014, the Quebec legislature passed its law on medical-aid-in-dying, Bill-52.
Social isolation has been recognized as an emerging problem for senior citizens throughout the country. In 2013, the National Seniors Council targeted the reduction of social isolation among seniors as a top priority.
First awarded as the Bishop Crowley Award in 1983 and then, upon the death of Bishop Crowley, the Bishop Crowley Memorial Award, this honor, sponsored by the ESCC, is conferred upon a person, group, or organization which has gone above and beyond in serving the English Catholic community.