About the Official Languages Regulations

The Official Languages Regulations are used to determine when there is a significant demand, and when the nature of the federal office justifies the use of both official languages. Not all offices are required to provide services in both official languages.

The regulations apply to:

  • all federal institutions;
  • certain privatized organizations, such as Air Canada.

Canadians interact with federal institutions when they:

  • cross the border (Canada Border Services Agency)
  • go to a post office (Canada Post)
  • file their tax return (Canada Revenue Agency)
  • go to a Service Canada centre to :
    • apply for employment insurance benefits (Employment and Social Development Canada)
    • apply for a passport
    • obtain a social insurance number (Employment and Social Development Canada)
  • visit a national park (Parks Canada) or a national museum
  • take VIA Rail, Air Canada, or Marine Atlantic ferries

Definitions

  • Official languages: Canada’s official languages are English and French
  • Minority communities: English or French linguistic minority populations, such as Anglophones in Quebec and Francophones elsewhere in Canada
  • Federal institutions: These institutions consist of those that are part of the core public administration, as well as Crown corporations, privatized organizations, separate agencies and other federal public institutions.
  • Federal office: a place where a federal institution provides services or information to the public, such as:
    • a post office
    • a port of entry
    • an information counter
    • a toll-free service phone number
    • a train, boat or plane route
    • a commemorative plaque
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