Canada and the ECML
Canada has permanent observer status at the Council of Europe since 1996. However, for the past thirty years, Canada and its educational institutions have followed closely the work of the Council of Europe in the area of modern languages. Researchers, educators and Canadian experts have participated on a regular basis in various projects and activities of the Council of Europe in the area of language teaching and learning. Conversely, European researchers have been invited on many occasions to participate in conferences, symposiums and workshops organised in Canada.
With the creation of the European Centre for Modern Languages in 1995, cooperation initiatives between Canada and Europe in the area of languages have increased considerably. In fact, it is in this context that, on January 22, 2008, the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) and the University of Ottawa, represented by the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI), signed a Memorandum on Cooperation and Liaison, with the following objectives:
- increase contacts between the ECML and Canadian language experts, with the long-term aim of creating favourable conditions for full Canadian membership of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the ECML;
- designate OLBI as a Canadian partner of the ECML in a two-way role:
- disseminate the ECML’s work in Canada as a "Contact Point" for the ECML;
- propose Canadian experts to take part in the ECML projects and activities.
The Memorandum on Cooperation and Liaison was renewed with modifications on March 25, 2012 for a four year period, in line with the duration of the ECML 4th Medium Term Programme “Learning through Languages” (2012-2015).
Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute
The Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI), an integral part of the University of Ottawa, was officially launched on July 1st, 2007 to pursue the key role played until now by the Second Language Institute (SLI) at the University of Ottawa. For more than 40 years, the SLI had been a cornerstone in the promotion of second languages at the University, enjoying an enviable reputation on both the teaching and research fronts.
OLBI strengthens and promotes education and research in the fields of teaching, evaluation and language-policy design. It strives to stand as a national and international authority in the field of bilingualism and official languages. For more information on OLBI, please consult our website at www.olbi.uottawa.ca.
As per the Memorandum of Cooperation and Liaison with the ECML, OLBI acts as the Contact Point to disseminate the ECML’s work in Canada, and also as the National Coordinator to propose Canadian experts to take part in the ECML projects and activities. In this context, in 2008, within the ECML 3rd Medium Term Programme entitled “Empowering Language Professionals” (2008-2011), the following projects related to priority areas of research in Canada were selected and Canadian experts were involved in these projects as team member or resource person:
- Encouraging the culture of evaluation among professionals (ECEP): Alister Cumming, Modern Language Centre, University of Toronto, resource person.
- The European Language portfolio in whole-school use (ELP-WSU): Marnie Beaudoin, Edmonton Public School Board, resource person.
- Developing online teaching skills (DOTS): Aline Germain-Rutherford, Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa, team member.
- Content-based teaching + plurilingual/cultural awareness (ConBaT+): Peter MacIntyre, Department of Psychology, Cape Breton University, resource person.
- Minority languages, collateral languages and bi-/plurilingual education (EBP-ICI): Diane Dagenais, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, resource person.
- Language association and collaborative support (LACS): Nicole Thibault, Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT), resource person.
In 2012, within the 4th Medium Term Programme « Learning through Languages – Promoting inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural education », an Advisory Committee of researchers and directors of Institute/Centres was struck to review all of the projects approved by the ECML, select the projects that appear most relevant to the Canadian context, and identify Canadian researchers which could contribute to the projects selected. The Advisory Committee selected the following projects and identified the Canadian experts who accepted to partocipate as team member or resource person :
- Diversity in majority language (MALEDIVE): Patricia Lamarre, Département de didactique, Faculté des sciences de l'éducation, Université de Montréal.
- Language descriptors for migrant and minority learners' success in compulsory education (Language descriptors): Paula Kristmanson, Second Language Research Institute of Canada, University of New Brunswick.
- Literacies through Content and Language Integrated Learning: effective learning across subjects and languages (CLIL 2.0): Roy Lyster, Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE), McGill University.
- Languages in corporate quality (LINCQ): Enrica Piccardo, Centre for Educational Research on Languages and Literacies, OISE, University of Toronto.
- Collaborative Community Approach to Migrant Education (Community): Melody Kostiuk, Institute for Innovation in Second Language Education, Edmonton Public School Board.
- Empowering language networks (LACS): Wendy Carr, Department of Language & Literacy Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia.
- Plurilingual and intercultural competences: descriptors and teaching materials (CARAP): Danièle Moore, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University.