Thorough review produces more inclusive official languages regulations
July 10, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Canada’s two official languages are at the heart of our national identity and the Government of Canada is committed to protecting and promoting this linguistic duality.
The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, announced that finalized amendments to the Official Languages Regulations were published today in the Canada Gazette, Part II. These amendments will provide enhanced access for Canadians to federal services in both official languages.
The amendments are the result of extensive consultations with key stakeholders, including official language minority organizations, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, parliamentarians and the general public, to better reflect community needs and respond to demographic and technological changes. The regulations had not been comprehensively reviewed since they were created in 1991.
The regulations define some key provisions of the Official Languages Act that determine which federal offices must provide services in English, French, or in both official languages.
The amended regulations:
- adopt a new, more inclusive calculation method to better reflect the demographic diversity of official language minority communities
- incorporate a qualitative approach that ensures bilingual services are based on the vitality of official language minority communities
- increase bilingual services for the travelling public
- reflect the availability of new technologies to improve service delivery in both official languages
“Three years of consultations, collaboration and comments have resulted in the finalization of these amended regulations to better serve Canadians in the official language of their choice. We have listened and worked hard to better reflect today’s technological and demographic realities, especially for official language minority communities.”
- The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
“Support for official language minority communities and promotion of our two official languages show Canada’s true commitment to diversity and accommodation of minority rights. The new regulations expand bilingual service coverage for Canadians and their families, and reflect extensive feedback from across the country.”
- Greg Fergus, Parliamentary Secretary to The Honourable Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
The regulatory amendments will result in some 700 newly bilingual offices, increasing the percentage of bilingual federal points of service from 34% to more than 40%.
The changes will increase bilingual services in a variety of federal institutions that play important roles for linguistic minority communities. For example:
- Over 145,000 Canadians living outside of major urban centres will have access to a Service Canada office in the official language of their choice for the first time, providing them with a wide range of government services and benefits
- Over 60,000 more people will have access to the public safety and security services of the RCMP in the official language of their choice
The bilingual designation of offices will be protected, even if the proportion of the local official language minority population (5% threshold) has declined.
Office of the President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
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