Radio-Canada Executive Vice-President Sylvain Lafrance will receive the insignia of Knight of the Legion of Honour on Friday, July 6. Daniel Jouanneau, the French Ambassador to Canada, will award the insignia to Mr. Lafrance on behalf of the President of the French Republic at a ceremony in Ottawa.
The Legion of Honour, the highest of the French Republic’s national orders, is being conferred on Sylvain Lafrance in recognition of his outstanding efforts within the public service to develop and project French language and culture, and of his commitment to issues of diversity, cultural coexistence and protecting identities.
Sylvain Lafrance has spent almost thirty years with Canada’s public broadcaster and was appointed Vice-President of Radio de Radio-Canada in 1998. Under his vice-presidency, Radio de Radio-Canada launched Espace musique, the only nationwide French-language radio network devoted to musical diversity and the development of emerging talent. Also, Radio de Radio-Canada achieved some of its highest ratings ever: both Première Chaîne and Espace musique more than doubled their respective listenership since 1998.
Since October 2002, Sylvain Lafrance has also chaired the board of the arts and entertainment specialty channel ARTV, of which Radio-Canada is the principal shareholder. And, in fall 2005, CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors gave Sylvain Lafrance the mandate of integrating Radio-Canada’s Radio, Television and Web services to create one of the world’s largest French-language public broadcasting groups and the only one of its kind in North America.
On the international scene, Sylvain Lafrance chaired Les Radios francophones publiques from 2002 to 2004. He is also Vice-President of the Conseil international des radios-télévisions d’expression française (CIRTEF), an association of French-language media organizations in the North and South.
With his passion for public broadcasting, Sylvain Lafrance has spent most of his career with Radio-Canada. He has developed an original and consistent vision of the public broadcaster’s role, which he expounds in all Canadian and international forums. With his commitment to the international Francophonie and as an ardent promoter of cultural diversity, he is convinced that the media, and particularly public broadcasters, have a crucial role to play as instruments of culture and democracy with an eye to promoting cultural coexistence and protecting identities.
Created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honour of the French Republic is only rarely bestowed on foreigners. Through this distinction, the French government recognizes not only outstanding professional achievement but also individuals' personal commitment to public service.
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television, the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services, CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.
Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and aspiring immigrants to Canada.