SUDBURY -- A historic funding agreement between the governments of Ontario and Canada to support the Université de l'Ontario français was signed Jan. 22.

MPPs Caroline Mulroney and Ross Romano

The learning institution will be the first French-language institution governed by and for Ontario Francophones.

It will cost an estimated $126 million over eight years, with Ottawa covering 50 per cent of the cost of $63 million over five years. The Ontario government will match this amount.

"We are excited to be able to move forward with full implementation of the Université de l'Ontario français," said Ontario Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano. "Our government has always been committed to the university and to supporting access to the education and training needed for rewarding careers and meeting labour market demands for Ontario's Francophone students."

A memorandum of understanding formally committing to work together to establish the Université de l'Ontario français was signed in September 2019.

The agreement will address the educational needs of more than 620,000 Francophones in the province.

"The Université de l'Ontario français is an important and long-awaited-for project, critical to future generations of Franco-Ontarians," said Ontario Minster of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney. "The new university is a great example of our government's commitment to strengthening the Francophone community, investing in its future and ensuring the community's continued contribution to Ontario's prosperity."

Located in Toronto, the university will open for its first cohort of students in September 2021.