Government of Canada Launches Action Plan to Enhance Bilingual Capacity of Canada’s Superior Courts
September 25, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, is proud to announce the Government’s Action Plan for Enhancing the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Courts. This multi-faceted approach will ensure that people dealing with Canada’s court system have improved access to justice in both of Canada’s official languages.
The seven-point action plan includes strategies for enhanced tools to verify and assess the bilingual capacity of judicial applicants, examine language training for current members of the judiciary, and confirmation of the Minister’s commitment to collaborative consultations with Chief Justices with respect to the bilingual capacity needs of their courts. The Government is also committed to consulting with provinces and territories on relevant bilingualism initiatives,
These measures build on the reforms to the superior courts appointment process introduced in October 2016, which were aimed at reinforcing public confidence through openness, increased transparency and accountability, and by promoting diversity and gender balance on the bench. Among the reforms was a requirement for greater detail regarding applicants’ self-identified bilingual capacity, the possibility of language assessments, and a new reporting requirement. The Action Plan announced today builds on those changes and takes important new steps in the areas of information gathering, training, and collaboration for and among many stakeholders. The Minister is pleased that this approach also addresses many of the recommendations made by the Commissioner of Official Languages in his 2013 report.
“All Canadians are entitled to have fair and equitable access to the justice system, which should be able to respond to their needs in the official language of their choice. The measures contained in the Action Plan will allow our Government to take stock of where we are in terms of providing equal access to the superior courts in both official languages, and, where we find gaps, taking concrete steps to fill them.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
In 2013, the Commissioner of Official Languages published Access to Justice in Both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary. The Action Plan addresses several of the study’s recommendations.
The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs has had a Judges Language Training program since 1978.
Training in both official languages is offered to all federally and provincially appointed judges.
At this time, approximately 400 judges are registered as participants in the program.
For more information, media may contact:
Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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