Support to official-language minority communities
(Implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act, Part VII, Enhancement of English and French).
Under the Official Languages Act, the federal government sees to it that Canadians are addressed in both English and French, that English- and French-speaking Canadians are hired within its administration, and that Canadians are able to work in their language, in accordance with the terms of the Act.
The government, under the leadership of the Department of Canadian Heritage, also supports the development of official-language minority communities and works to promote linguistic duality.
Who makes up official-language minority communities?
They generally consist of Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec. These communities are often represented by national and regional organizations, such as the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne, the Quebec Community Groups Network and the Fédération culturelle canadienne-française, just to a few. They are also dynamic and represented across the country in key areas such as health, economic development, immigration and communications.
What must federal institutions do? Understand their duties… and take action! They must do this at various levels, including within senior management, branches, policies and programs.
How can they achieve this?
Under the Official Languages Accountability and Coordination Framework and the Guide for Federal Institutions, federal institutions are required to, among other things:
- make employees aware of the needs of official language minority communities, and of the requirements for promoting linguistic duality;
- determine whether the federal institution’s policies and programs impact on the development of official-language minority communities and the promotion of linguistic duality, from the initial development of policies through to their implementation, including the devolution of services;
- consult affected publics as required, especially representatives of official-language minority communities, particularly in connection with the development or implementation of policies and programs;
- be able to describe the federal institution’s actions, and to demonstrate that it has taken into consideration the needs of these communities or the requirements of the promotion of linguistic duality.
When is the right time to act?
When, for instance, planning a policy, creating a program, conducting a study or doing research.
Where can I turn for assistance?
To the Interdepartmental Coordination Directorate, Canadian Heritage, at 819-994-3577. There are also many tools available online.
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