Government of Canada announces access to justice support to help train Manitoba law students in both official languages

News release

June 5, 2019 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Department of Justice Canada

Canadians expect to be able to access justice in the official language of their choice. This is why the Government of Canada is working to enhance the capacity of Canadian institutions to offer legal education in French and English across the country. 

Today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced the Government of Canada is supporting the development of a common law certificate in French at the University of Manitoba. The Department of Justice Canada is providing $768,372 in funding over four years (2018/19 to 2021/22) through its Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund. With this funding, the University of Manitoba will also conduct activities related to the assessment and certification of the language proficiency of students, and undertake activities to improve the capacity of justice stakeholders in Manitoba to offer services in both official languages.

Robson Hall, the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba, is one of the oldest law schools in Western Canada. By offering this common law certificate in French, it will increase the capacity of those working in the justice system to offer legal services and information in both official languages, and allow people to pursue a legal education in the official language of their choice. The program’s objective is to enable bilingual students and those with advanced French to enhance their written and oral French-language proficiency and their knowledge of French common law legal terminology, as well as to acquire skills in advocacy and negotiation. Students will also be exposed to substantive areas of law for which there is an acute need for French-language services, including criminal law and family law.


“Our Government is actively working to improve access to justice in both official languages across the country. By increasing the capacity of institutions like Robson Hall to offer legal training in French, it ensures that more graduates in Manitoba will be able to provide legal services in their clients' official language of choice. I am proud to support this initiative, which helps support the vitality of the Franco-Manitoban community and the development of our legal professionals.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“I am proud that our Government is investing in this initiative at Robson Hall to help improve access to justice in both official languages for Manitoba communities. Training law students in French will support a stronger Franco-Manitoban community as well as a legal community that is more accessible.”

Terry Duguid, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg

“I am very excited that Justice Canada has agreed to fund our Program.  Being able to offer French-language legal education is a great development for us to train our students to practice law in both official languages.  This is critical to improving access to justice for Manitobans. I am heartened with the dedication of Dr. Turnbull and Dr. Heckman to this important project.  We have worked very hard to make it happen and are most appreciative of Justice Canada’s commitment to improving access to justice in both official languages.”

Dr. Jonathan Black-Branch, Dean
Robson Hall Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba

Quick facts

  • The Department of Justice Canada’s Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund provides funding to non-profit organizations, learning institutions and provincial and territorial partners to meet the needs of French and English speaking minority communities across the country.

  • The total amount of funding available through the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support fund is $46 M from fiscal years 2018-19 to 2022-2023.

  • According to the 2016 Census, 46,055 (3.7%) Manitobans identified French as their Mother tongue.

  • The 2016 Census also states that 108,455 Manitobans (8.6%) were bilingual and that over 24,000 Manitoba students were enrolled in French immersion programs.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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