The management of Canada's participation

Within the sphere of the international Francophonie, Canada is represented by the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, the Minister for International Development and La Francophonie, Christian Paradis, and the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister for La Francophonie, Ambassador Philippe Beaulne.

Day-to-day responsibility for managing Canada's participation in La Francophonie has been assigned to the Commonwealth and La 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 the budget resources that Canada devotes to the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) and to Francophonie institutions.

The Commonwealth and La 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 agencies of La Francophonie. In addition to acting as the special liaison with the IOF, the Counsellor for Francophonie Affairs represents Canada on the Permanent Council's various commissions (policy, economic, aid and programming, administrative and financial) and various working groups, including the ad hoc groups charged with preparing for the ministerial conferences and the Summits.

DFATD’s Partners in La Francophonie

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

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 who share common objectives or a specific professional purpose. Their many and 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 (French only), which now encompasses 67 international civil-society organizations, and possesses proven expertise in one of the four mandates assigned to La Francophonie. These organizations have an advisory role to the institutions of La Francophonie.