Historic Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of the Official Languages Act Concludes
“Fifty years ago, we committed, as a country, to invest in our official languages. Today, it’s important to review the Official Languages Act to ensure it continues to respond to the needs of Canadians and strengthen linguistic communities across the country. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the consultations. Your input will be critical to this modernization process.”
—The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie
“I am proud that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrines official language rights in the Constitution. This is one of the reasons why I decided to settle in Montreal and teach at a law school that trains future jurists to work in both French and English. I believe in what we as a country have accomplished in promoting our official languages, but I know that there is much work ahead. Our government will continue working with French-speaking and English-speaking communities across the country to protect our official languages now and into the future.”
—The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Canada’s two official languages are at the core of our history and identity. Today’s symposium highlights the important role the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat plays by reinforcing the use of both official languages within the public service and with the public we serve. The Government of Canada remains committed to ensuring that all federal services are delivered to Canadians in the official language of their choice and is nearing completion of a regulatory review that would allow us to protect, maintain and even expand Canadians’ access to federal service in English and French.”
—The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
The Official Languages Act, which came into force in 1969, confirmed to Canadians their right to receive federal government services in the language of their choice. It recognized English and French as the country’s two official languages. It has helped to better protect the rights of people living in official-language minority communities, and to promote the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.
In June 2018, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, the Government of Canada announced its intention to modernize the act.
In March and April 2019, as part of the process of modernizing the Official Languages Act, the Government of Canada held a series of forums and roundtables on the following topics:
- Federal institutions that embody official languages
- Promoting culture and bilingualism
- Official languages and Canada in the digital age
- Official languages and Canada’s place in the world
This exercise complemented the consultations and reviews already conducted in the areas of the administration of justice, the language of government communication, the language of work of federal public servants, the role of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the promotion of official languages, and debates and parliamentary proceedings.
For more information (media only), please contact:
Office of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie
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