What do you know about the Official Languages Act?
The Official Languages Act (OLA), passed in 1969, is a Federal law which is enforced at the federal level and one other province i.e. New Brunswick. The province of Quebec has passed several anti-English laws (Bills 22, 178 & 101) that effectively make French their only official language. The provinces of Nova Scotia passed the French Language Services Act (2004) as did the province of Ontario (1986), and the province of Prince Edward Island (2013). Limited service in French is offered in each municipality in each of these provinces in varying degrees.
What's wrong with that?
Elevating a minority language to equal status with the majority language is creating an over-emphasis on the minority language, especially when that minority language is concentrated only in the Eastern provinces of Canada, namely, QC & NB. Further using that minority language as the criteria for employment at the federal level and increasingly at the provincial level is creating a work-force which over-represents the French-speakers. French-speakers are the ones most likely to be bilingual as they grow up speaking the language. Non-French speakers do not grow up speaking French and learning it at school does not make them fluent, especially as the educated French is very different from the colloquial French.
The 2011 Census showed that "self-assessed" bilingual Canadians make up 17.5% of Canada's population, the figure of those who can pass the language test is only about 12%. The Treasury Board (2014) showed that 31.9 % of the total Federal Public Service are Francophones in a country that is made up of only 21.3% mother-tongue French-speakers (2011 census). This over-representation of French-speakers in our public service concerns us greatly.
The limited supply of bilingual Canadians & the over-emphasis on a minority language as a criteria for employment has resulted in a lowering of academic & professional standards in our governments. Many high-level positions are filled by people with just secondary school certificates or equivalent.
As French is spoken widely only in Eastern Canada, this has led to Western Canadians being left out of the picture. The division and disunity brought about will eventually destroy Canada.
This is why you should be concerned.
20 November 2016
We had a very successful Christmas Afternoon last week - a slate of very interesting speakers was convened very efficiently by Beth Trudeau. All the speakers have been videoed & are available at our web-site: www.languagefairness.ca (box #6)
Since the re-vamping of our web-site, our visitors have increased 3-fold (currently sits at 42,750). So, please pay us a visit & if you have suggestions as to how to improve it, feel free to send us your suggestions.
To keep you updated on the language front, I've attached two articles on the Federal Government's Review of the Official Languages policy. Whether this is an attempt to increase the number of offices that are designated "bilingual" (the current number is 11,500), only time will tell. There are 250 offices that have been designated to lose their bilingual status if the rules & regulations are followed (if memory serves me right, these rules were set up by the previous Conservative govt. in the attempt to bring some measure of common sense to the extent by which bilingualism should trump merit in the hiring of public servants. I am open to be corrected on this.) The caveat of "where numbers warrant" was left totally undefined in the OLA & left to be interpreted by anyone in power.
It would be most interesting to find out where these 250 offices are located & we plan to find out.
Bob H. sent me the following message which is interesting:
"Many have complained the rules are out of date. Minority language groups have argued they are too narrow and don’t take into account the demographic realities. In some cases, a French- or English-speaking minority group in a community might have been growing but the rest of the population has grown faster."
The point in bold likely is the reason why the 250 offices are going to lose their bilingual status because this would mean that even though the minority group may have grown in numbers, as a percentage of the total they have dropped below the current threshold.
I bet that, if you had access to the numbers for these 250 offices, the vast majority would be in English dominated areas and that it is the French minority that is complaining - not the other way.
I'm prepared to bet that Bob is correct.
I've also attached below the two articles, a notice circulated by LIB. MP Andrew Leslie that he holding a consultation on November 24th (for details see below). If you are interested to attend, please do & send us your comments.
English or French? Federal government to review rules on when and where services are offered in both languages
Published on: November 17, 2016 | Last Updated: November 17, 2016 7:10 PM EST
President of the Treasury Board Scott Brison. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Liberal government has launched a review to update the 25-year-old rules for public servants providing front-counter services in English and French.
Treasury Board president Scott Brison and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly on Thursday announced a review of the regulations of the Official Languages Act, which govern communications and services offered in government offices to Canadians in English and French.
The review is aimed at coming up with a better calculation to determine the demand for minority language services, to explore new ways to use technology to provide those services, and to improve bilingual services for transportation.
“Francophone and anglophone minority communities across the country have been asking for these regulations to be improved in order to better reflect their realities,” Brison said in a statement.
“We must account for changing demographics, new technologies and lessons learned in the 25 years since these regulations were adopted to be able to serve Canadians better, and in the language of their choice.”
These regulations, which have not been updated since 1991, determine where services are provided and are considered key to helping French and English minorities thrive in their communities. Consultations will include MPs, senators, the public and minority language groups.
Meanwhile, the government is also imposing a moratorium on the 250 bilingual offices, which under current rules and regulations, were about to lose their bilingual status. They will continue to provide services in both languages until new regulations are in place.
The Official Languages Act lays out the rules for government institutions. Its regulations specify the circumstances or mandate of a federal offices that justifies providing bilingual services.
They also have a formula, based on census data, to calculate the size of official language communities and to determine whether there is enough demand to warrant bilingual services. That formula will now take into account 2011 census data.
Many have complained the rules are out of date. Minority language groups have argued they are too narrow and don’t take into account the demographic realities. In some cases, a French- or English-speaking minority group in a community might have been growing but the rest of the population has grown faster.
Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser raised that very concern in his last report, urging Treasury Board to assess the effectiveness of the policies and directives underpinning the rules for communications and services to the public.
Also, technology has had an impact. Many of the services now provided by the government are online, and the very definition and role of front-counter services for departments and agencies have changed.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave Brison marching orders in his mandate letter to work with Joly to “ensure that all federal services are delivered in full compliance with the Official Languages Act.”
The review, which begins in the fall, will roll out in three phases. It will begin with public consultations and drafting of new regulations to be ready for Treasury Board and cabinet approval in summer 2018 and parliamentary approval by spring 2019.
Subject: Government kicks off official languages review | CTV News
Published Thursday, November 17, 2016 2:38PM EST
OTTAWA -- The federal government is announcing a review of Canada's official languages rules that could retain bilingualism in 250 offices set to transition to unilingual service.
The Official Languages Act was adopted in 1991, and hasn't been reviewed since. The regulations that go with the law established the circumstances when an office must provide bilingual service. That includes criteria, based on the most recent census, to determine whether there is a significant demand for service in both French and English.
There are 11,500 federal offices that now offer services in French and in English. If current rules stay in place, up to 250 of these offices across 25 federal departments and Crown corporations could go from bilingual to unilingual. The bulk of these are in New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.
Alberta not obligated to pass laws in English and French: SCC Liberal committee chair eyes making City of Ottawa officially bilingual Air Canada needs 'attitude' change on bilingualism: languages commissioner
The government has placed a moratorium on these institutions going unilingual until the review is complete.
The review will take into account demographic and census changes and could also lead to more offices and institutions offering services in both official languages if they have significant bilingual populations - though the government hasn't set out yet what "significant" means. That will be addressed in the new rules, officials said Thursday.
The review process is underway, with the government planning to meet key stakeholders in early 2017, with a bill before Parliament in the fall of 2018. The government aims to have the new rules adopted in 2019, and implemented in 2020-2021.
With files from Omar Sachedina
The Government of Canada is conducting country-wide consultations on Canada's two official languages as it works toward developing a new federal action plan.
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, is holding a series of roundtables that are bringing Canadians together to share how they interact with, and are affected by, Canada's official languages. The roundtables include stakeholders from minority-language communities and those who work in the field of second-language learning, as well as public-, private-, and not for-profit-sector organizations that engage with and serve the broader population.
I encourage everyone, including those who have already participated in a roundtable, to add to the consultations by completing a digital online questionnaire available at canada.ca/official-languages-consultation.
I also invite you to attend an informal meeting on issues, priorities and vision for the future, based on some suggested questions. Your views will enrich the cross Canada consultations underway and will provide a valuable regional perspective.
The meeting will take place on November 24, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. at the Shenkman Arts Centre, Music Room in Orléans. Please confirm your attendance by clicking here, writing to Andrew.Leslie@parl.gc.ca or by calling 613-834-1800.
Thank you for your consideration.
Liberal Member of Parliament for Orléans
Hello Kim. This consultation was far from what anyone would expect if they read the invitation from Andrew Leslie. There were about 30 people in the room, mostly 40 and over, mostly white and all francophone except for 3 of us. I expected that the discussion would be in both languages. The MP Andrew Leslie opened the session and spoke almost entirely in French. Then he opened the session by allowing the microphone to be passed through the crowd for comments that would be recorded and sent to Melanie Joly the Heritage Minister.
After the first attendee spoke, I asked if I could get a brief summary in English. Mr. Leslie said "no" because it would take too long if every comment had to be translated. The rest of the evening was basically complaint after complaint about the lack of bilingualism or french services in Canada. The lady behind me complained about the poor facilities in the school her grandkids attend in - wait for it - British Columbia. Another man complained that when the national anthem was played in Winnipeg or Edmonton it was only in "English". It went on like this for an hour and a half.
I felt like I'd wasted my time but I'm glad I went because now I can see what we're up against close up. I have to run but I'd be glad to do a verbal review at the next CLF meeting.
All the best Kim. Keep up the good fight.
07 November 2016
Recently, a tender was issued for Investigative Services by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). Apparently there are so many complaints the OCOL claims to require assistance in going after those government departments that still have English visibility. But, are they telling the truth?
Based on the Analysis of Complaints section of the 2014/2015 report from the Office of Official Languages, there were only 550 complaints total for the year.
According to Stats Canada, in 2016 there are 164 staff total working in the six (6) OCOL offices with salaries and benefits totaling over $18 MILLION annually. Based on 550 complaints, that means each staff handles 3.35 cases PER YEAR.
Now they want to set up another source to do what OCOL are receiving over 18 MILLION dollars to do already to handle a mere 550 complaints? The government would be much wiser and LESS DISCRIMINATORY if they used that same 18 MILLION dollars to instead invest in automatic translators, such as those shown.
At a cost of $200 per device, the government could hand out 90,000 translation devices to government workers and the need to hire based on language instead of merit, would disappear forever. The ability for any person of any language to assist another person of a different language would be possible. We DO have the technology.
There would also be less government workers on stress leave as many suffer such ailments because of the language testing and the continual threat of losing their jobs, and that will result in more savings for taxpayers. We know this because Canadians for Language Fairness DO listen to Anglophone complaints, unlike the Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser who refuses to hear complaints from the majority.
The savings to taxpayers by going the technology route instead of the same old discriminatory, unaccountable route are huge in a time when so many are having to choose between heating, eating and paying their hydro bill.
Canadians for Language Fairness
Candice Malcolm's article high-lights the fact that Canada has been deliberately converted into a multi-cultural society by the Liberals, from way back in P.E. Trudeau's days. The 1982 Constitution which superseded the BNA Act of 1867 brought in the idea that all cultures are equal and all cultural values are equal. That of course does not include the French language & culture as that is deemed too important & has to be protected and preserved from being assimilated. As Justin Trudeau said:
Canada belongs to Quebec!! By keeping the Liberals in power, this is what will eventually happen.
Trudeau says Canada has no ‘core identity’
First posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 09:23 PM EDT | Updated: Wednesday, September 14, 2016 09:33 PM EDT
Governor General David Johnston, left to right, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Canadian Heritage Melanie Joly and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau dance during the noon hour entertainment during Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Friday, July 1, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Who would have thought Canadian values could be so controversial?
Plenty of ink has been spilt in the past few weeks over the suddenly taboo topic of promoting Canadian values.
The consensus from Canada’s elites has been to condemn the very idea of listing our values, let alone asking newcomers to respect and adhere to them.
But a far more controversial idea about Canadian values and identity was recently proposed by our very own prime minister. And the media barely batted an eyelash.
Late last year, Justin Trudeau told the New York Times that Canada is becoming a new kind of country, not defined by our history or European national origins, but by a “pan-cultural heritage”.
“There is no core identity, no mainstream in Canada,” Trudeau said, concluding that he sees Canada as “the first post-national state.”
Even the New York Times called the suggestion “radical.”
Despite Trudeau’s bizarre musings, Canada has a proud history and strong traditions.
Canada has never been a homogeneous society — defined by a single race or ethnicity — but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a distinct culture and identity.
Our identity is rooted in our history, and it’s impossible to divorce the two.
Canada’s democratic values and traditions date back over 800 years, to the signing of the Magna Carta by our political ancestors.
That document helped enshrine our natural rights and freedoms, and limited the government’s ability to impose its powers.
Canada, perhaps more than any other Western country, is a living manifestation of that great document.
We live in the greatest country in the world. My biased opinion aside, the Reputation Institute ranked Canada as the most admired country in the world.
Our peaceful, free, fair and just society is the envy of the world. That is why so many people around the world want to come to Canada. They want to adopt our values.
But Trudeau takes this all for granted.
He doesn’t think there is anything special about Canadian history or traditions.
Instead, he suggests Canada is nothing but an intellectual construct and a hodgepodge of various people, from various backgrounds, who just happen to live side by side in the territory known as Canada.
Trudeau seems embarrassed, even ashamed of our Western culture and values.
Far from standing up for Canada and promoting our core principles at home and abroad, Trudeau frequently apologizes for Canada.
That’s why he feels no shame in speaking at a segregated mosque, where women and girls are forbidden from entering through the front door, or sitting in the main hall.
He can call himself a “feminist” while also tolerating the subjugation and segregation of women, when it suits his political interests.
That is also why, while in China, Trudeau told the one-party authoritarian state that Canada, too, is imperfect when it comes to human rights.
Trudeau blurred the distinction between Canada’s peaceful, free society and that of a communist dictatorship.
He equated Canada — a democratic country that always strives for peace, justice, liberty and equality — to a closed regime with a sordid history.
Trudeau is wrong when it comes to our values and our identity. And his ideas are far more controversial than the proposed vetting of newcomers.
Candice Malcolm is the author of Losing True North: Justin Trudeau’s Assault on Canadian Citizenship. Readers are invited to attend her Toronto book signing event, at 5:30, Friday, Sept 16. Please register at: www.LosingTrueNorth.ca
October 15, 2016
We hear the constant refrain from the French activists that the minority French are not treated fairly enough. This message will show you how much it costs Ontarians to comply to their constant demands. It is quite incredible how much money is given to the FLSA Commissioner's Office to cater to the demands of the approximately 4% French speakers in Ontario.
The power of the French Language Services Commissioner has grown since the office was set up in 2007. In 2013, the FLS Act was amended to make the Commissioner an independent officer of the Legislature, just like Graham Fraser (the Federal Language Commissioner is an independent Officer of Parliament who reports directly to Parliament). So, Francois Boileau, Ontario's French Language Services Commissioner, started to report directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 2014, when the amendment to FLS Act came into force. (Prior to that, he reported to Madeleine Meilleur, who was the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services).
The French Language Services Commissioner has a mandate to conduct independent investigations under the French Language Services Act, either in response to complaints or on his own initiative, to prepare reports on his investigations, and to monitor the progress made by government agencies in the delivery of French-language services in Ontario.
The French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. He advises parliamentarians and makes recommendations to them with respect to the application of the Act.
The Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years and may be reappointed for one further term of five years. François Boileau is currently pursuing his third mandate as the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario .
Since acquiring more power in 2014, Francois Boileau has used his power to encourage French-speakers to make all sorts of unreasonable demands, even where the "numbers do not warrant" those demands. The recreational departments of the City of Ottawa are reporting that 40% of the French programs are being cancelled due to lack of participation.
Does it surprise you to know that French-speakers earn more on average than English-speakers & that the 4% French-speakers in Ontario have more than their share of advantages:
Table 4.6.2 Average and median income for male and female by first official language spoken, Ontario, 2006 In light of the historical context described above, it is clear that the median income of the two language groups is age-related, with older Francophones having a lower median income than their Anglophone counterparts. The statistics shown in charts 4.6.3-a and 4.6.3-b reflect the fact that among persons aged 65 and over, the median income of Anglophones is higher than that of Francophones, for both men and women. By contrast, among 25 to 44-year-olds, the median income of French-speaking women and men alike is approximately $5,600 higher than that of Anglophones.12
It should finally be noted that like median income, the average income of members of the two main language groups varies according to the age of the individual (results not shown here). While the results on the population as a whole showed no disparity in average income, it may be seen that especially for men, Francophones aged 46 to 64 years and those aged 65 or over have lower incomes than their Anglophone counterparts, on the order of $4,000 and $6,000 respectively, even controlling for education level, region of residence, industrial sector and immigrant status. Among 25 to 44-year-olds, it is instead the average income of Francophones that is more than $2,000 higher than that of Anglophones.
We are preparing a comprehensive report on the cost of French-language education which will be circulated in another message.
For now, we would like to concentrate on the French Language Commissioner. Read the following article where Francois Boileau insists that French-speakers are at a disadvantage:
Ontario’s French language watchdog urges province to protect vulnerable francophones
By Matthew Pearson, OTTAWA CITIZEN June 6, 2013
OTTAWA — Ontario’s French Language Services Commissioner says the province needs to do more to protect its most vulnerable francophones.
François Boileau’s office received nearly 350 complaints last year, but what concerned him even more was the lack of feedback related to key government ministries, including citizenship and immigration, children and youth services, and community and social services.
Boileau said francophones in Ontario are in the same position as many other minorities: They constantly have to assert themselves and claim their place in society. Otherwise, he said, they lose ground.
But not all francophones can be full-time activists, and many hesitate to assert their right to be served in French because they feel intimidated or worry such a request could bring about negative repercussions, he says.
“These are people that will never make a complaint because they are already in a vulnerable state of mind, so they’re not confronting the administration,” he said.
In his annual report released this week — his sixth since being named commissioner in 2007 — Boileau calls on the province to develop an action plan to ensure “disadvantaged populations” have access to French-language services.
Our politicians (both federal & provincial) dare not say anything to point to the above fallacy. Can anyone explain why? While we watch from the sideline, the French elite (academics & politicians) get more & more money to pay for surveys that produce unbelievable results. The latest Nanos poll says that 83% of Anglophones support Official Bilingualism for Ottawa. As most people in Ottawa speak English, I'm surprised that that percentage is not higher. Why did Nanos not use the criteria "Mother-tongue" which would have given a more accurate answer. I guess that wouldn't have given them the answer they wanted.
Another very misleading part of the survey says that there will be NO extra cost involved - does anyone actually believe that?
Look at the tables below - the cost of running the FLSC's office was:
So do we believe the French groups when they say - the change will be symbolic only - it will not cost any more money to make the City of Ottawa "Officially Bilingual"? The City Council has wisely decided not to cave to the pressure - why would they give up their power to make decisions on this issue & give it to the courts?
Presenting the new members of the OFLSC team
20 September 2016
The time has come to introduce the OFLSC team. I left you somewhat in suspense in my last posting, since I think it’s important to introduce the new members of our staff.
As some members of the community and many of our partners know, the Commissioner’s Office has doubled its workforce in the last year. We now have new spaces for this wonderful team, and I can assure you they are eagerly awaiting your inquiries and complaints!
Our existing team – myself, Executive Director Jean-Gilles Pelletier, and investigations staff Mohamed Ghaleb, Jocelyne Samson, Marta Dolecki and Yves-Gérard Méhou-Loko, and also Anne Nguyen, Business Services Coordinator – has been expanded with the addition of an investigator, communications specialists, an analyst and a legal adviser.
The new investigator joining the other four members of the investigations team is Elisabeth Arcila. A native of Colombia, Elisabeth studied law and worked in labour law and arbitration in her country of origin. She immigrated to Canada a number of years ago and completed a B.A. in international studies at the Université de Montréal and a certificate in public administration. Her employment experience includes more than five years of labour relations work for the Government of Quebec, the Commission des partenaires du marché du travail and the Ministère de la Famille.
With a full complement of five investigators, we are ready to receive your complaints! You will undoubtedly have the opportunity to meet the team during our tours of the community and government bodies.
In communications, we have a whole new team! Two individuals who both have very relevant backgrounds. They will be here to field all the inquiries and questions you may have for us.
For the rest of this report, link to:
19 November 2016
Surprise Christmas Present:
01 December 2016
We are very fortunate to have a very active supporter who is an excellent researcher who knows how to access the French media. It gives us the ability to keep an eye on what the small group of activist Francophones are doing & we get a lot of very useful information that we don't have the resources to obtain otherwise. In the following link:
Councilors were contacted by #ONfr to rule on the question: "We would like your answer" yes "or" no "to the question: Would you support official bilingualism in the City of Ottawa if the approach does not impose additional costs and does not cause job losses? "The elected were free to respond by email or by phone.
That question refers to the greatest threat to increased bilingualism, especially if the policy is entrenched in law & can be enforced by the courts. The cost of bilingualization will obviously increase as everything is duplicated so common sense will tell us why it is being resisted by councillors who are worried about the cost of ALL services to be provided by the city. The links following will show us how the cost of bilingual service has doubled since the passing of by-law 2001-170:
The next important point is that, no matter what they say, it will cause job losses to the majority unilingual English-speakers as more positions will be required to be bilingual. Which of the citizens living in Ottawa would be so naive as to believe that lie?
The link referred to also gave in great detail how each councillor responded to the question asked. We will be sending out a message to thank the Mayor & the councillors who have said, "NO" or who are not happy to say "YES". I hope all our readers will contact their own councillors & encourage your own councillor to say "NO". Politicians are only concerned about voters in their constituencies so if you don't show them that you care, don't be surprised if they don't. For the sake of ALL Canadian English-speakers, from any race & any part of the world, PLEASE contact your councillor at the link below:
BTW, an item just forwarded by a reader says that several recreational French/bilingual programs, paid for & set up by the City at the insistence of the French pressure groups, will be cancelled. Reason? Insufficient response!!!
The article is available in French here:
OTTAWA - Half of French activities offered by the City of Ottawa must be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"Where numbers warrant" will be met by boosting the numbers artificially. You'll note that the English-speakers in Quebec will still have to live under the French-language zealots who want the French language dominant in Quebec.
Folks, Bill S-205 died on order table when Harper govt fell. It was tabled again as Bill S-209 in December 2015 when Trudeau came to power. It aims to amend Part IV (Service to the Public) of the OLA, changing the definition of "francophone" a la Ontario FLSA.
Issues related to implementing the Official Languages Act
Commissioner lends his support to Bill S-205
In April 2015, the Commissioner of Official Languages presented his position in support of Bill S-205, which aimed to update Part IV of the Official Languages Act. In his briefFootnote 11 to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, the Commissioner gave three reasons why Part IV needs to be updated.
First, he noted that the criteria set out in section 32(2) of the Act to assess potential demand for services in the minority language are not inclusive, because they do not take into account all of the people who use the minority language in the public or private sphere. For example, the current criteria as they are applied exclude people whose first official language spoken is not the language of the minority but who:
speak the minority language at home (as can be the case for francophiles, anglophiles and newcomers);
speak the minority language in the workplace; or
receive their education in the minority language.
Second, he pointed out that significant demand is defined in relation to the proportion of the minority population (i.e., the 5% rule). However, the chief factor to be considered in determining significant demand in a region served by federal offices should be the presence of an official language community that shows signs of vitality. (It means presence of even one French school, according to their previous discussions - E.B.).
Third, he stressed that Bill S-205 is important because it codifies the principle of substantive equality by explicitly imposing on federal institutions the duty to provide service of equal quality in both official languages and to consult with the English and French linguistic minority population concerning the quality of those communications and services.
The Bill died on the order table after the federal election was called in August 2015 and was tabled again in December 2015 as Bill S-209. The Commissioner reiterated that this bill makes an undoubtedly significant contribution to fulfilling the purpose of Part IV of the Act and helps official language communities to strengthen their identity, to develop and to thrive.
Analysis needed of the impact of the Official Languages Regulations on the vitality of official language communities
In 2013, the Société franco-manitobaine made public a complaint that had been filed with the Office of the Commissioner concerning the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.Footnote 12 The complaint alleged that the method used to determine the first official language spoken in order to establish what constitutes significant demand does not take into account large segments of the population that speak the minority language and would want or be likely to use it in federal offices.
The objective of the investigation was to determine the nature of the obligations incumbent upon the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat under Part VII of the Act in the context of the Official Languages Regulations Re-Application Exercise. The exercise seeks to review and update federal institutions’ language obligations every 10 years using census data: in this case, data from the 2011 Census.
In the spring of 2015, the Commissioner released his final investigation report to the parties involved. The Commissioner concluded that the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat had to identify the impact of the results of the re-application exercise on the vitality of official language communities that would no longer be receiving bilingual services because of changes in the linguistic designation of some federal offices. The Commissioner also concluded that the institution should present options to the President of the Treasury Board to mitigate the negative impact of these results.
Because the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat had stated that it did not intend to conduct an analysis on the impact of the results, the Commissioner concluded that it had not met its obligations under Part VII of the Act and that the complaint was founded.
The Commissioner therefore recommended that the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat undertake a thorough review of the impact of the Official Languages Regulations on the development and vitality of the official language communities affected by the results of the re-application exercise. He also recommended that the findings of the analysis be shared with the President of the Treasury Board, along with opinions and advice on solutions to be considered in order to mitigate any potential negative impact of the Regulations.
A follow-up is under way to determine whether the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat will be taking the appropriate steps to implement the Commissioner’s recommendations.
Société franco-manitobaine takes case to court
In February 2015, the Société franco-manitobaine applied for a court remedy in Federal Court under Part X of the Act. The Société petitioned the Federal Court to find that parts of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations are inconsistent with section 20 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (and with several provisions of the Act) and to order the government to amend the Regulations. The Société maintained that:
the Regulations contain an unduly restrictive definition of the word “Francophone,” i.e., they do not make allowances for the recent expansion of the Francophone space to include mixed families, newcomers, people who are bilingual and people who are able to converse in French;
the use of formal numerical thresholds is inconsistent with the objectives of the Act; and
the Regulations were adopted without consulting the French-speaking minority, and they have not undergone any significant review or consultation since they came into force in 1992.
The objective of Senator Maria Chaput’s Bill S-209 was to correct the very shortcomings cited by the Société franco-manitobaine in its court remedy. The Commissioner strongly urges the government to update Part IV of the Act and to review the criteria for defining significant demand.
The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:
that Parliament make Bill S-209 a priority so that the parliamentary committees examining it are able to conduct a diligent review; and
that, by March 31, 2017, the Treasury Board undertake an evaluation, in consultation with official language communities, of the effectiveness and efficiency of its policies and directives for implementing Part IV of the Official Languages Act.
More than 40 years ago, the Government of Ontario recognized the need to provide French-language services to the province's Francophone community. The right to French-language services contained in the French Language Services Act came into effect on November 19, 1989. It gives all citizens who request French-language services the right to be served in French:
* in any head office of a provincial government ministry or agency;
* in most provincial ministry and agency offices that serve or are located in the 25 designated regions.
Today, about 80% of Ontario's Francophone population has access to these services.
The following is a chronology which highlights some of the major advances in French language services in Ontario. You can sort the achievements by year and by sector for easier reference.
Adoption of a Regulation on the provision of French language services by third parties on behalf of government agencies.
32 new public service agencies were designated under the FLSA since 2003, which brings the total number of designated agencies to 222. These agencies provide health services and support services for children, youth and women who are victims of violence.
The total funding for French-language boards for the 2010-11 school year was $1.24 billion, the largest investment in French Language education in the history of the province.
Ontario puts in place a French language policy framework for postsecondary education and training. The goal is to help provide Ontarians with more opportunities to study and train in French.
Substantial additional investments in infrastructure in the primary, secondary and postsecondary francophone educational sectors:
$248.9 million worth of construction was undertaken under the French Capital Transitional Funding component of the Grant for New Pupil Places in the primary and secondary school systems.
$84.8 million was invested in the postsecondary sector as well as in training for Francophones.
Adoption of the Franco-Ontarian Day Act. The Province of Ontario officially recognizes September 25th of each year as Franco-Ontarian Day as well as the contribution of the Francophone community of Ontario to the social, economic and political life of the Province and the communitys importance in Ontarios society.
Adoption of a new directive for Communications in French by the Ontario Government. Ministries and classified agencies are required to consider and incorporate the Franco-Ontarian communitys specific needs when developing and implementing communications strategies and tactics.
Creation of 266 new child-care spaces in French language schools.
Official launch of TFO in Manitoba.
The Ministry of Tourism and Culture launches two three-year pilot programs to address the needs of Francophone visual artists, arts organizations and collectives in Ontario.
Adoption of the Francophone Community Engagement Regulation under the Local Health Integration Networks Act. Establishment of 6 French language health planning entities (1 in Northern Ontario, 1 in Eastern Ontario and 4 in Southern Ontario) in order to provide advice and input on French language health services in their communities.
Inauguration of the new Montfort hospital.
SERVICES FOR WOMEN WHO ARE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
Announcement of a $5.2 M investment for the construction of Torontos first Francophone womens shelter.
Opening of a 10-bed womens Francophone Shelter in Timmins.
Adoption of a new more inclusive definition of Francophone (DIF): 50,000 more Francophones identified, bringing the total Franco-Ontarian population to over 580,000.
Addition of a Youth Francophonie Award as part of the Ontario Francophonie Awards.
Release by the OFA on its website of a new General Statistical Profile of Ontarios Francophone Community in December 2009.
NewAmnagement LinguistiquePolicy whose goal is to help the provinces French language educational institutions and settings optimize the transmission of the French language and culture among young people, to help them reach their full potential in school and society, and to breathe new life into the francophone community.
As part of the provinces Accent on Youth Strategy, launch of a new initiative developed by the OFA in partnership with theAssociation franaise desmunicipalits de lOntario(AFMO) which aims to encourage young Francophones to learn more about municipal affairs.
The firsttats gnraux de la francophonie de Sudburywere held in November 2008. Bringing all sectors of the Sudbury community together in a planning exercise, this event made it possible to lay a foundation for setting priorities for the regions economic, cultural, community, social, and artistic development.
Each of these milestones has enabled Francophones to face the future with optimism and to focus their efforts on training the next generation of Francophone leaders. With its community partners and with private companies that have roots in the community, OFA launched itsAccent on Youth Strategyin 2008 to encourage young Francophones to socialize, work, and live in French.
TFO becomes an independent and self-governing organization with its own budgets, its own board of directors and its own offices.
Another milestone in the recognition of the French fact in Ontario was reached in 2008, with the introduction of French license plates for personal vehicles.
Creation of the Office of French Language Services Commissioner. Reporting to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, but independent of the OFA, the Commissioner is responsible for handling complaints relating to the FLSA, conducting investigations to ensure compliance with the FLSA and submitting special reports as well as an annual report to the Minister that is tabled in the Legislative Assembly.
Development of a French services accountability framework to be integrated in the annual planning process of each ministry.
Investments in the education sector are now making it possible to expand York University,Universit de Hearst, andLa Cit collgiale, and to expand French-language postsecondary program offerings in Ontario.
The year 2006 marked the 20th anniversary of theFrench Language Services Act. To celebrate this milestone in the history of French Ontario, the Government of Ontario created the Ontario Francophonie Awards as a way to honour Francophones and Francophiles who have made a valuable contribution to the vitality and well-being of Ontarios Francophone community. The OFA also created a travelling exhibition on the history of French Ontario, entitledLa francophonie ontarienne : dhier aujourdhui.
Francophones in eastern Ontario rallied around the project to create monuments to Ontarios Francophonie. On September 25, 2006, the 31st anniversary of the Franco-Ontarian flag, the first of six monuments in Ottawa was unveiled. It is a giant Franco-Ontarian flag symbolizing the history and contribution of the regions Franco-Ontarian community. This initiative has since spread to other Ontario communities, including Casselman, Rockland, and Sudbury.
Designation of Kingston under theFrench Language Services Act.
Signing of the Ontario-Quebec Cooperation Protocol on Francophone Affairs.
The growing number of French-language schools gives rights holders increased access to French-language education across the province.
Launch of thePolitique damnagement linguistique de lOntario, a language planning policy to promote the French language and culture, improve student achievement, and help keep young Franco-Ontarians in French-language schools.
Creation of an advisory committee on French-language postsecondary education.
Establishment of a permanent Elementary and Secondary French-Language Education Task-Force.
Establishment of an improvement program for French-language, rural, Northern, and First Nations libraries.
Implementation of the first phase of theStrategic Plan for the Development of French Language Services in Ontarios Justice Sector, in partnershipwith the francophone stakeholders, which aimsto improve, modernize and expand access toFrench Language Services in the justice sector.
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Support for French-language school boards to plan for the provision of child care services under the Best Start Plan.
Unprecedented commitment of $125 million to expand Montfort Hospital co-funded with the federal government.
Establishment of a Francophone working group on health care reform, headed by the CEO of Montfort Hospital.
Inclusion in the preamble of Bill 36 on local health system integration of recognition that the requirements of theFrench Language Services Actmust be respected. The Bill also requires that the Francophone community be consulted both in the development of a provincial health system plan through the establishment of a French-language health services advisory council, and at the regional level by local health integration networks.
Creation of a website,Centre darchives des rglements municipaux, whichprovides the English and French versions of municipal by-laws.
Signing of the Canada-Ontario Agreement on French-Language Services providing $1.4 million per year over four years to increase the capability of the Government of Ontario to deliver French-language services and support the development and vitality of the Francophone community of Ontario.
Designation of five new agencies under theFrench Language Services Act. Since 1988, 201 agencies have been designated to provide services in French.
Commitment of $140 million to contribute to the development of French-language schools.
Signing of the Provincial-Federal Funding Agreement for French-Language Education and French-as-a-Second-Language Instruction, providing $301 million over four years for minority and second-language instruction at the elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels, as well as an additional $30 million to recognize that Ontario has the largest minority French-language community in the country.
Establishment of a permanent Elementary and Secondary French-Language Education Task Force to advise the Minister of Education on unique Francophone matters such as promoting French culture, reducing assimilation and helping to retain Francophone students.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRADE
Distribution of a Resource Guide for immigrant entrepreneurs to all the Canadian Embassies and high commissions abroad.
Adoption of anAct to amend the City of Ottawa Act, 1999, recognizing the bilingual character of the City of Ottawa. The amendment requires the City of Ottawa to adopt a policy respecting the use of the English and French languages in all or specified parts of the administration of the city and in the citys provision of all or specific municipal services.
Provision of $700,000 over four years to translate municipal by-laws and other key documents into French, cost-shared with the federal government.
Commitment of targeted funding to promote access to postsecondary education for Francophones as part of the $6.2 billion to be invested in response to the Rae Report.
Creation of an advisory committee on French-language postsecondary education charged with advising the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities on improving access to French-language postsecondary programs.
SERVICES FOR WOMEN WHO ARE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
Creation of a help line for Francophone women who are victims of violence: 1 877 FEMAIDE (1 877 336-2433). Francophone women across the province can access this dedicated toll-free line anytime.
Creation of a Provincial Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs. The committees mandate is to advise the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs on how to best meet the needs of the Francophone community.
Participation of Ontario at the Xth Summit of the Francophonie in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Designation of the City of Brampton and the municipality of Callander under theFrench Language Services Act. After an implementation period of two years, provincial government offices located in Brampton will offer their services in French. Because there are no offices of the provincial government located in the municipality of Callander, French-language services will be available at government offices in the City of North Bay.
Funding of $30 M allocated to the provinces 12 French-language district school boards as a first step in the implementation of the French-Language Education Strategy.
To help strengthen French-language education in Ontario, the Government launches thePolitique damnagement linguistique 2004. This plan is designed to help promote French language and culture, improve student achievement and self-esteem and help keep young Franco-Ontarians in French-language schools.
SERVICES FOR WOMEN WHO ARE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
The Government adopts a Domestic Violence Action Plan. One of the objectives of this Plan is to improve access to French-language violence prevention programs and services in accordance with theFrench Language Services Act.
The Centre Victoria pour femmes and the Timmins and Area Women in Crisis announce the creation of a new Francophone Sexual Assault Centre.
Holding of tats gnraux sur le dveloppement des services en franais en matire de violence contre les femmes (conference on the development of French-language services in the area of violence against women). The purpose of the conference was to discuss issues related to French-language violence prevention programs and services, to discuss best practices and explore models for improved service delivery.
Investment of $1.9 million to support sexual assault centres across the province offering French-language services or serving Francophone communities.
Creation of a French Language Institute for Professional Development through which professionals in the justice system can increase their French-language abilities.
Creation of a Francophone Advisory Committee by the Seniors Secretariat in order to develop, implement and evaluate a series of information tours for Francophone senior citizens across Ontario.
CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
A federal-provincial-community committee is set up to discuss Francophone immigration.
HEALTH AND LONG TERM CARE
Announcement of a $7.4 M increase to the base funding of Montfort Hospital and a grant of $20.8 M for 2003-2004.
Citizens can request licence plates with the design of the Franco-Ontarian flag.
Eleven new transfer payment agencies are designated under theFrench Language Services Actas providers of French-language services. Since 1988, 196 agencies have been designated as providers of services in French. Of these, 66 have been designated since 1995.
Official groundbreaking ceremony atLcole secondaire de formation professionnelle et techniquein Ottawa.
Official opening ofCollge Boralcampus in Toronto, in the Fall 2002.
Signature of a memorandum of understanding between Legal Aid Ontario and theCentre mdico-social communautaire de Torontofor the 2003 opening of the first Francophone Legal Aid Clinic in Toronto.
Five-year memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the French-Language Health Services Network of Eastern Ontario.
SERVICES TO WOMEN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
Announcement of funding for Francophone pilot projects in the area of violence prevention.
Games of La Francophonie 2001, Ottawa-Hull: the Ontario Government participates in the planning of the Games and hosts a pavilion that welcomes many visitors. Some 3,000 athletes and artists from 52 countries compete in these games, 85 of these competitors being from Ontario. In all, Ontario wins 3 medals in the Cultural competitions and 16 medals in the Sports division (8 of which are gold).
The Franco-Ontarian flag becomes an official emblem of the province.
Additional financing to improve legal aid services in French in Ontario.
TheCourts of Justice Actis amended to improve access to justice and simplify the administrative procedures to request a bilingual trial.
The Government of Ontario launches the Early Years Challenge Fund. In order to meet the needs of Francophone families, a special envelope 5% of the total Fund is set aside for projects within the Francophone community. Following consultations with Francophone stakeholders, a separate process is put in place to evaluate and recommend projects by Francophone groups.
Organization of the 4th Games of La Francophonie to be held in Ottawa-Hull in 2001.
128 long-term care beds allocated to Montfort Hospital, as part of the governments commitment to create 20,000 new long-term care beds in the province by 2004.
$4 million to train specialists to identify young Francophones who need special education services.
Five year agreement with the Federal government for the funding of French-language colleges, including some funding for theCollge dAlfred.
Funding toLa Cit collgialefor the development of a bilingual training centre for call services in the high technology industry.
Funding toLe Collge Boralfor the Centre for Excellence in Forestry of Northern Ontario.
The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership (OTMP) develops a tourism marketing strategy specifically for the Francophone community of Ontario and provides tourism information in French to Francophone consumers.
The Ontario Government attends the 8th Francophone Summit in Moncton where the Ontario Pavilion showcases Ontario products and services.
The Ontario Legal Aid, established under theLegal Aid Services Act, must provide services in French.
Renewal of theCanada-Ontario Agreement on the Promotion of Official Languages.
Five year Federal/Provincial Agreement for the financing of French-language school boards.
TheProvincial Offences Acttransfers responsibilities for the administration and prosecution of offences to the municipal level. The Act is accompanied by a memorandum of understanding whereby municipalities in designated areas agree to maintain the provision of services in French.
After 3 years of implementation, Francophones in the City of London officially have the right to receive provincial government services in French as stipulated under theFrench Language Services Act.
Creation of 12 French-language school boards (4 public and 8 separate) with funding equivalent to that of English-language school boards.
SERVICES TO WOMEN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
The OFA, together with the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services and the Ontario Womens Directorate, implement an action plan to increase services to help Francophone women victims of violence.
Opening of two French-language colleges:Collge BoralandCollge des Grands Lacs, and a permanent campus site forLa Cit collgiale.
Multi-use school facilities are established in Kingston and Brampton.
Designation of a new area under theFrench Language Services Act. The City of London becomes the 23rd designated area to provide provincial government services in French. These services come into effect on July 1,1997.
Under the Act, another eight agencies are designated to provide some or all of their services to the public in French, bringing the total number of designated agencies to 130.
Provincial Francophone organizations now number 76 in comparison with 31 in 1986.
Amendments to theCredit Unions and Caisses Populaires Actenables the caisses populaires to offer a wider array of financial services and support to their Francophone clients. They can offer preferred shares to members, an important source of revenue to help them expand.
Financing to set up caisses populaires in under-serviced areas.
Amendments to theCooperatives Corporations Actprovides cooperatives with:
easier self-financing and ability to structure themselves as groups of partners rather than members; and improved access to support programs for small businesses.
First multi-use school facility set up in Longlac. (Fall 1994)
Capital funding for the construction of eight new French-language schools.
Dissolution of theConseil scolaire de langue franaise dOttawa-Carletonand creation of two autonomous French-language boards as of July 1, 1994: theConseil des coles publiques dOttawa-Carletonand theConseil des coles catholiques de langue franaise de la rgion dOttawa-Carleton.
Establishment of an annual Trillium Award to recognize Francophone authors and French-language literature.
A new community radio station for the Cornwall-Alexandria area goes on air.
COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
There are now 52 Francophone daycare centres. In 1986, there were 3.
Establishment of a Francophone medical social services centre in Hamilton-Wentworth.
Designation of 24 agencies under theFrench Language Services Act(July 1993). (New total: 122)
Renewal of the Canada-Ontario Agreement on the Promotion of Official Languages.
Announcement of the creation of two new French-language colleges, one in Northern Ontario (Collge Boral) and one in Central/Southwestern Ontario (Collge des Grands Lacs).
Creation of a fund for Francophone cultural centres with the help of the Office of Francophone Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation.
The firstSalon du livre de Toronto, a French-language book fair, financed to a large extent by the government, is held in October 1993. It is the first event of that nature in Ontario.
The community radio station for Kapuskasing goes on air with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation.
TheUnion des cultivateurs franco-ontariensis recognized as the official union to represent the provinces Francophone farmers.
TheCoalition franco-ontarienne pour le logementis recognized as the official representative for Francophones on housing issues.
Designation of the first two legal clinics under theFrench Language Services Act; one in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, the other in Prescott-Russell.
PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Establishment of theAssociation des personnes sourdes franco-ontariennes.
Designation of 12 agencies under theFrench Language Services Act(Summer 1992). (New total: 98)
Creation of a French-language school board in Prescott-Russell (January 1992).
CULTURE AND COMMUNICATIONS
Establishment of the Ministers Advisory Committee on a Cultural Policy for Francophones of Ontario as a result of recommendations contained in the report, RSVP!: Cls en mains/RSVP!: Keys to the Future, by the Working Group for a Cultural Policy for Francophones of Ontario. The interministerial committee (Culture and Communications, Office of Francophone Affairs) submits its final report in November 1992.
Establishment of two French-language community health centres, one in Sudbury and the other in Cornwall-Alexandria. A bilingual community health centre is also underway in Longlac.
Designation of 15 agencies under theFrench Language Services Act(Fall 1991). (New total: 86)
CULTURE AND COMMUNICATIONS
Creation of a grants program for the development of French-language community radio.
SERVICES TO WOMEN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
The Office of Francophone Affairs receives an allocation in order to develop a strategic plan for the provision of violence prevention services in French. Emphasis is placed on public education initiatives and on the development of direct services for Francophone women victims of sexual assault.
The Revised Statutes of Ontario are published in French.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Creation of a program for victims of sexual assault to improve French-language services for Francophone women.
Partir dun bon pas pour un avenir meilleur/Better Beginnings, Better Futures: a provincial project on services for children in difficulty includes a French-language pilot project in Cornwall-Alexandria.
Re-establishment of the Council on Franco-Ontarian Education (CEFO) to advise the Minister of Colleges and Universities and the Minister of Education on all subjects concerning French-language education programs at the elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels.
Creation of the Advisory Committee on Francophone Affairs (ACFA) to advise the Minister of Colleges and Universities on the issue of French-language postsecondary studies (July 1991).
Provisional report of the Select Committee in Ontario on Confederation, which recommends the maintenance of French-language services.
Designation of 24 agencies under theFrench Language Services Act(December 1990). (New total:71)
Setting up of the French-Language Education Governance Advisory Group (Cousineau Commission) responsible for recommending criteria for the governance of French-language education in Ontario.
Opening of Ontarios first French-language college of applied arts and technology,La Cit collgiale(Ottawa, September 1990).
Bourdeau Commissions report recommending the establishment of French-language colleges in Northern and Central/Southern Ontario.
Beginning of the installation of bilingual signage on provincial highways.
Amendments to article 136 of the Courts of Justice Act provide for other forms of hearings such as pre-trial and pre-motion conferences, as well as the filing of documents in French in certain regions.
On November 19, 1989, theFrench Language Services Actcomes into effect.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Creation of the firstCentre mdico-social communautaire(Toronto) that brings health and social services under one roof.
Designation of the first 47 agencies under theFrench Language Services Act. The first designated agency is the Hospital Notre-Dame in Hearst.
Canada-Ontario Agreement on the Promotion of Official Languages: Cooperation Agreement between the two governments to improve access to French-language services in provincial ministries.
Setting up of first French-language school boards in Toronto and Ottawa.
Creation of French-language community literacy centres.
HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Creation of the French-language daycare network,Rseau francophone de services de garde.
Dissolution of the Council on Franco-Ontarian Affairs and creation of the Ontario French-Language Services Commission.
Development and presentation of each ministrys implementation plans for French-language services for review by the Ontario French-Language Services Commission and the Office of Francophone Affairs.
Establishment of a linguistic evaluation centre by the Human Resources Secretariat.
Establishment and enhancement of the offices of the French-language services coordinators in ministries and certain crown corporations.
CULTURE AND COMMUNICATIONS
TVOntariosLa Chanebegins broadcasting. (January 1987)
Adoption of theFrench Language Services Act. This Act consolidates existing policies and recognizes the right of Francophones to receive government services in French in the 23 designated areas of the province.
Establishment of a simultaneous interpretation service in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
Enactment of legislation on school governance giving Francophones full and exclusive governance of their French-language schools and instructional units.
The Office of the Government Coordinator of French-Language Services becomes the Office of Francophone Affairs.
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