Message from the Minister

English and French are Canada’s two official languages. They are at the heart of who we are as Canadians. The Official Languages Act is a powerful symbol of diversity and inclusion in our society, regardless of our mother tongue. Across the country, people can testify to the rich history of official languages and be proud of their linguistic heritage.

In 1969, Canada adopted an Official Languages Act to solidify the dream of a country based on the peaceful coexistence of two major linguistic communities, English and French, living together and building a country respectful of its diversity.

The two official languages enshrined in the Act support a model of coexistence that is the envy of many countries. By declaring the equal status of English and French in its institutions, Canada was paving the way for its citizens to work together towards a shared future within a bilingual framework. It is within this framework that Canadians also support cultural diversity. A source of social harmony, bilingualism is an advantage at the international level and a valuable economic asset linked to our ability to do business in both of Canada’s official languages throughout the world.

The time has come to modernize the Act in order to ensure that it remains aligned with the aspirations of Canadians. Our objective is clear: we are modernizing the Official Languages Act in order to strengthen it.

Our vision for this modernization is that of an Act that promotes our country’s official languages, reflects the vitality of official-language minority communities and better supports these communities in the face of daily demographic challenges. It is also the vision of an Act that is better understood and implemented for the benefit of all Canadians.

Our two official languages represent an important economic, social and cultural asset. As a country, we have the responsibility to build on it. And as Minister of Official Languages, I have a mandate to successfully carry out this modernization in order to ensure that it remains a valuable asset for future generations.

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

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