Parliament adopts the Official Languages Act in July with all-party support. The new law asserts equal status, rights, and privileges for French and English as languages of Parliament and the Government of Canada. A few months later, in January 1970, the federal government follows up with an agreement to provide partial funding for minority- and second-language education across the country.
The Official-Languages Monitor Program (OLMP) was established in 1973, to promote Canada’s two official languages and the cultures they convey, by encouraging Canadian young people to make their language and culture known to students in a region other than their own. Under the program, educational institutions throughout the country receive the services of language assistants.
The Official-Languages Monitor Program branches out, with the creation of a program to assign francophone language assistants to minority French-speaking areas. The language assistants work with students at schools or institutions outside of Quebec where French is the language of instruction.
In 2004, a marketing firm was contracted to develop a rejuvenating strategy for the official-languages programs that would help them to reach a larger public. As part of that strategy, the program underwent a name change: OLMP was reborn as Odyssey.
In 2008, the Odyssey full-time language-assistant program marked its 35th anniversary. The Honourable Kelly Lamrock, Minister of Education for New Brunswick and Chair of CMEC, stated to a gathering of some 215 language assistants attending a pan-Canadian training session in Quebec City: “I am pleased to be here with so many young people from all parts of Canada to celebrate the anniversary of this program, which has given so many Canadians an enriching cultural and linguistic experience over the years.” Over 250,000 young Canadians have taken part in the official-languages programs since their inception.