An Act to Review
The Official Languages Act is a legislative framework under which a multitude of initiatives, programs and activities are deployed in a variety of sectors, including the economy, education, immigration, justice, health and translation. The Government of Canada has decided to modernize the Act to ensure that it continues to serve Canadians in a changing environment.
There are several reasons for this decision. You will find some of them below:
- Although Canadians speak over 200 different languages, English and French are spoken by 98% of the population. Canada’s official languages are the languages of our shared citizenship, of national public discourse and of federal institutions. Both English and French are international languages. It is important to ensure that they remain catalysts that bring Canada’s population together.
- The Internet and social media have completely changed Canadians’ communications with each other and with the outside world, as well as their access to cultural and information products and to consumer goods, services and knowledge.
- New technologies will continue to impact the work environment in federal institutions given that government is continually becoming more open and the public is accessing a growing number of documents and services.
- The Government’s action areas in official languages have become considerably more diverse, which results in closer collaboration with players from community groups, the business and education sectors and other levels of government.
- Two million Canadians belong to official language minority communities. Even though these populations are dynamic and continue to grow, some trends are worrying, including the decrease in the percentage of Francophones outside Quebec and the slow growth in the bilingualism rate of English-speaking Canadians outside Quebec. English-speaking communities in Quebec also have their own challenges. The particularities and diversity of all of these communities’ needs create challenges in terms of the capacity of local community development associations to act.
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