History of ACFOMI
One of the pioneers in the establishment of a regional ACFO in the Kingston area was Mr. Denis Brisebois. He knew the local francophone community intimately and his faith in its potential led him to the Association of French-Canadians of Ontario (ACFO) in 1973, the tercentenary of the foundation of Cataraqui/Kingston.
From the beginning of his involvement, he noticed the devastating effect of assimilation and hoped to curb it any way he could. As a result, an organization of defense of the rights and claims of the francophone community gained legitimacy in Kingston. This organization helped prompt the provincial ACFO to consent to the implementation of a regional ACFO for Southern Ontario, Kingston included, in 1976.
Denis Brisebois has long since left the ranks of regional ACFO, but thanks to the support and diligence of the established regional ACFO towards different local initiatives and community development, he was able to help lay the strong foundation necessary for the growth of the French-Canadian community in Kingston. We cannot let the regional ACFO's many victories, from its humble beginnings in 1973 through to today, ever be forgotten:
In 1974, the regional ACFO lobbied for a French language school in Kingston which was obtained through contributions from both individuals and organizations.
In 1979, the regional ACFO gave its full support to a French language daycare project which would eventually grow into «La Garderie Éducative de Kingston».
In 1981, ACFO collaborated with a plethora of community members to secure a local French language radio show, which finally came to fruition on January 31st, 1982.
From 1978 to 1982, ACFO gave its full support to the development of the Frontenac Social and Cultural Centre.
The years 1985 to 1987 saw ACFO collaborate with other francophone organizations to offer the Franco-Soleil Summer Camp Program to children aged 5 to 12 years.
In 1990, ACFO came to the defense of local francophones in the battle against municipal unilingualism in Kingston, Trenton and Belleville. As a result, none of these cities was declared unilingual.
In 1991, the regional ACFO requested and received a subsidy to kick start a literacy program by giving the necessary help to establish the Board of Directors. As a result, the "Centre d'alphabétisation - La Route du Savoir" was born.
In 1999, a feasibility study and a Pilot Project were conducted to establish the ground of employment services targeting the French speaking population. Since then, the French Employment Resource Centre is serving both official linguistic communities in their preferred language of service, French or English.
In 2006, the Government of Ontario announced that Kingston becomes the 25th Designated Region under the Ontario French Language Services Act.
In 2008, ACFO Mille-Îles has become a Designated Organization in respect to its bilingual employment programs offered by Services d’employabilité ACFOMI Employment Services on behalf of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
In May 1st 2009, the public can start accessing French Language Services when dealing with Ontario government offices located in Kingston or Agencies offering programs funded by the provincial government.
Other notable accomplishments include the foundation of the Community School Centre in the 1990's and the creation of French schools throughout the area, particularly in Merrickville, Brockville, Trenton and Kingston.
This list of accomplishments is only a partial one. These achievements have had, and continue to have, positive effects on the whole French-speaking community and on individuals wishing to express themselves in their own language. ACFO Thousand Islands, as it exists today, is charged with defending the interests and French service claims of the local community.