History of The Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ)
Founded originally under the name of CU-RE (English Community Resource Centre) in 1981 and then renamed Outaouais Alliance in 1983, the Regional Association of West Quebecers (RAWQ) has built its reputation on providing programs and services to the English-speaking community of West Quebec since 1981.
Major Achievements in the past
Health and Social Services
- English Network for Resources in Community Health (ENRICH): Facilitated the founding of this organization whose mandate is to promote, advocate, and develop improved health and social services for English-speaking families in the Outaouais.
- Outaouais Health and Social Services Network (OHSSN): Facilitated its founding and continues to support this organization whose objective is to bring community and public service partners together to establish links with all concerned stakeholders in the health, community, and education sectors.
- Second Language Skills for Nurses: Administers the Nurses Retention Program to provide enhanced French-language skills to nursing students at Heritage College to better prepare them to work in the Quebec health care system.
- Rochon Commission: In the mid-1980's presented the views of the English-speaking community to the Rochon Commission which brought about a reorganization of health and social services in Quebec.
- Access Plans: Since the 1980's worked to ensure development and maintenance of Access Plans for English Health and Social Services in the Outaouais.
- Health Boards: Continually encourages English-speaking people to stand for election to Outaouais health institution boards and provided new Board members with information on the needs of the English-speaking community.
- Youth Health: Participated in the Aware, Prepared and Linked program, intervening with youth at risk of developing social and drug abuse problems.
- English Advisory Committee: Found and nominated bilingual Anglophones to this committee at the Regional Health Board.
Access to Bilingual Public Services
- In 1996 mobilized West Quebec to demand English signage in accordance with Bill 86. Presented a brief at the National Assembly consultation on Bill 40 - an act to reinstitute the "language police".
- Provides advice and support to local rights committees and enlisted services of lawyers to represent Outaouais businesses in legal proceedings initiated by the Office québécois de la langue française.
- Provided business with information regarding bilingual signs and what can be done to better accommodate English-speaking West Quebecers.
- Provided a brief to the Estates-General on the Situation and Future of the French Language in Quebec in 2000.
- Publicly supported the City of Ottawa bilingual services policy and bilingual signs in Ottawa.
- Publicly supported keeping the Montfort Hospital open to maintain French-language health services in Ottawa.
- Initiated and maintains a New Residents Program aimed at orienting new comers to the Outaouais region and providing them with information on how to access services in English.
- Published Community and Business Services Directories providing information on how and where to access a wide variety of services in English.
Community Economic Development
- In the late 1980's and 1990's supported the successful reconstruction of the Wakefield Covered Bridge, a major tourist attraction in the Gatineau Valley.
- In 1992 supported the establishment of the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train, a popular tourist attraction in the Gatineau Valley.
- In 1998 was a founding member of the Community Table which supports employability and community economic development in the English-speaking community of Quebec through regional Community Economic Development and Employability Committees (CEDECs). Facilitated the creation of the Outaouais CEDEC.
- In 2000 supported the establishment of the Pontiac Wagon Train which is a recreational, five-day, pioneer-style horse and wagon trek across the Pontiac region.
- Supported the Regional Economic Summit.
- Participated in the Blair Commission examination of the lack of English-speaking representation in the Quebec Public Service.
- Held community information meetings for Small and Medium Business Enterprises in conjunction with Canada Economic Development and SADC.
Education and Youth
- Founded and funded the Heritage Autonomy Committee that successfully lead the effort of Heritage College being granted autonomous status as an English language CEGEP in 1988 and the construction of its own building in 1994.
- Successfully lobbied the Quebec Ministry of Education to build a gymnasium on the Heritage College Campus in 2003.
- In the mid 1990's undertook a feasibility study on effect of linguistic school boards in the Outaouais.
- Beginning in 2005 played a lead role (through the Quebec Community Groups Network - QCGN) in the establishment of a province-wide youth initiative within the English-speaking community in 2008. This included a youth needs assessment study conducted in 2008 in the Outaouais.
- Sponsored two young people to attend 'Forum for Young Canadians'.
- Sponsored students to Camp Francofun to improve their capabilities in French.
- Actively encourages young people to become involved in the Association, its Board and partner organizations.
- Regularly employs Co-Op and other youth students in the RAWQ office.
Arts and Culture
- During the 1980's and 1990's organized and hosted the successful annual ‘Wrights of Spring' performing arts showcase.
- Organized a 'Cultural Fair' performing arts showcase in 2002 for which the Association was awarded as 'Cultural Event Producer' of the Year by the City of Gatineau.
- Has provided support to the Aylmer Community Theatre Company since its inception.
- Provides support to the Pontiac Artists Studio Tour.
- Regularly publishes listings of cultural events of interest to the English-speaking community.
- Hosted annual Community Awards Banquet to honour outstanding leaders, achievers and volunteers in the English-speaking community of West Quebec.
- Supported the Kitigan Zibi Reserve request to the Canadian Government and the Museum of Civilization for the return of ancient bones.
- Since 2003 has hosted an annual West Quebecers Golf Tournament in support of the New Residents Program and other community causes such as local schools.
- Has encouraged partnership through Board member participation on Boards of other Associations, as well as regional and provincial groups, to share ideas and support for the English-speaking Community and to become aware of successes and concerns within the English-speaking community not only locally, but also province-wide.