Sylvie Hosick at her desk in the Official Languages office just days before she transitioned to her new role with the CFHA | Sylvie Hosick à son bureau aux Langues officielles quelques jours avant sa transition vers son nouveau rôle à l’ALFC. (Photo : Emily Nakeff)

For 15 years, Sylvie Hosick has been the Official Languages Coordinator for Base Borden – the longest she’s ever spent in one role. Why? Her answer is simple.

“Because I love it here, and because when I wake up in the morning I want to come to work. And that’s important to me. I have to be happy where I am.”

Her advice?

“Don’t stay on the sidelines. Get right in there. Get involved. Don’t be afraid. Try different things. And listen. Always pay attention to what’s going on around because you could be hearing something that you can contribute towards.”

That’s just what she did, implement the Official Languages Program initially introduced by the Official Languages Champion. Some of the things that stand out to her most include the Official Languages Strategic Plan that has been the driving force behind the team’s work, establishing the Official Languages Champion position, tackling 10 years of backlog to translate English training material so members can access training in their language of choice, and generally raising awareness among members of their linguistic rights and obligations. With a focus on building a sense of belonging for Francophone members, she had the most fun with events like introducing French movie nights, engaging with French schools, hosting annual information fairs and concerts, and organizing celebrations for Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Linguistic Duality Day, Franco-Ontarian Day and International Francophonie Day. 

Change didn’t happen overnight, but the experience was rewarding.

“We have a lot of work to do still, but it’s nice that it’s not a dead issue,” Hosick said. “It’s a continuous effort to constantly educate people and change the culture and make effective change.”

Find Your Passion

Whatever your work is, it’s important to find passion in the big picture of what you’re helping to achieve.

“I think my passion comes from being through that experience myself, and I don’t know what my parents would have done without the support system they had,” said Hosick, a Montreal native who moved to Winnipeg as a pre-teen and was thrown into an English school before she could speak a word of it.

While she was working for Tech Services, at the time, vacancies in housing allowed her to work and live on the Base. She quickly got involved with the community where she raised her two children and served two years on the Base Borden Community Council (BBCC). 

“That’s the way I am. If I’m going to do something, I want to learn about it, grow with it, and contribute towards it to say that I’ve been there, done that,” said Hosick. “I feel that it’s the least I can do. If I want to make change, then I need to be involved and be part of that change. I’m not going to sit back and complain about stuff and do nothing about it.”

With a decade and a half of growth and progress to show for it, Hosick was finally ready to hand the reins over to someone else. Before retiring, she was ready for one more challenge. 

Don’t be Afraid to Try New Things

Sylvie is continuing her 32-year-long career with the Government of Canada in her new role with the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA) as Manager, Housing Services Centre – Borden, which she started at the close of 2021. Even though she’s changing organizations, she won’t be far from the team she’s come to think of as family. 

“I’m still just as passionate with Official Languages. When I go to CFHA, I’m taking that passion with me over there as well,” said Hosick, who knows her skills and experience will continue to help Francophone families feel supported and welcome.

After 15 years, she has a lot to be proud of. 

“I’m proud to say we did a lot of work for our minority community,” said Hosick. “Official Languages really is my baby.” 

Parting Words

With a heavy heart, she leaves her team in good hands and with some words of encouragement.

“Every day you make a change is a positive step in the right direction. So don’t give up. Keep going, work together, keep lines open for communication, and don’t be afraid to try stuff that’s never been tried before. We’ve done it for the past 15 years, so keep going.”

By: Emily Nakeff, Editor

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