The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and La Francophonie

Within the Government of Canada, the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development, is also responsible for La Francophonie.

Day-to-day responsibility for managing Canada's participation in La Francophonie has been assigned to the Democracy, Commonwealth and Francophonie Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). The Division coordinates all aspects of participation in La Francophonie at the departmental and interdepartmental levels. The Division also manages the bulk of budget resources that Canada devotes to the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) and to Francophonie institutions.

The Democracy, Commonwealth and Francophonie Division works in close cooperation with the Canadian Prime Minister's Personal representative for La Francophonie (sherpa) to prepare for and follow up on Summits and ministerial conferences. The sherpa sits on the Permanent Council of La Francophonie, which facilitates, coordinates and referees political, economic and cooperative activities undertaken by La Francophonie's institutions.

Canada's presence in La Francophonie is also supported by a small team in Paris, led by the Counsellor (Francophonie Affairs). This Counsellor manages Canada's relations with the various Paris-based organs of La Francophonie. In addition to acting as the special liaison with the OIF, the Counsellor for Francophonie Affairs represents Canada on the Permanent Council's commissions (the policy commission, the economic commission, the cooperation and programming commission, the administrative and financial commission) and various working groups, including the ad hoc groups charged with preparing for the ministerial conferences and the Summits.

With cooperation within La Francophonie having become increasingly specialized and multidisciplinary, DFATD consults regularly with other federal departments on issues of the day. In addition to Canadian Heritage, which play an essential role in La Francophonie, other departments are involved, such as Industry Canada (information technologies), Justice Canada (democracy, legal cooperation), Environment Canada (sustainable development and environmental protection) and Public Works and Government Services Canada (the French language).

DFATD also maintains ties with several Canadian civil-society organizations that are active in La Francophonie. Most of these non‑governmental organizations (NGOs) belong to NGO networks within La Francophonie, based on common objectives or a specific professional purpose. Their many various programs and activities give La Francophonie a multifaceted nature that allows its activities to go far beyond the framework of government. Some Canadian organizations also belong to the Network of Non‑governmental Organizations of La Francophonie, which now encompasses 67 international civil-society organizations, and possesses proven expertise in one of the four mandates assigned to La Francophonie. These organizations enjoy the status of advisors to the institutions of La Francophonie.