The Language Institute of the University of Regina was created by both the federal and provincial governments in 1988 as a result of the Supreme Court of Canada's verdict in the Father André Mercure case. The Court agreed with Father Mercure that Saskatchewan was officially bilingual, but it allowed that the province could pass a new law making English the official language, which was done in March 1988. Fearing that the law voted by the Saskatchewan government would undermine the Meech Lake Accord, the Mulroney government offered more than $50 million to the Fransaskois, about $17.5 million of which was used for a new building and an academic program to serve the educational needs of the French community, as well as give others the opportunity to perfect their knowledge of French and to learn foreign languages.
The Language Institute changed over the years because of a drastic decline in funds provided by the federal government. Various strategies were adopted by the University to keep the Institute afloat, such as transferring the English as a Second Language program and Saskatchewan Centre for International Languages to the Institute. In 2002 the University opted, for economic and internal organizational reasons, to eliminate the Language Institute, transfer ESL programming to the Centre for Continuing Education and International Languages to the Faculty of Arts, and replace the Language Institute with a more modest version, l'Institut Français.