The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner launches a new investigation
The Francophone media, including newspapers, television, radio and the Internet, contribute to the vitality and continued growth of the Franco-Ontarian community. Through these media, Francophone members of the public have access to information that is relevant to them in their own language.
In the spring of 2011, I released A Study of Ontario’s French-Language Community Radio Stations: Key Components of the Vitality of Francophone Communities. One of the things I described in that study was the lack of government support in this area since 1995. That year, the only provincial government program to assist community radio stations in the province was cancelled, and it has not been replaced since then.
In 2010, the government adopted a new Communications in French Directive with mandatory requirements for ministries and government agencies, together with guidelines that are also mandatory and that deal with such topics as advertising campaigns.
The Office of the Commissioner has received complaints recently concerning Government of Ontario advertising placements in the Francophone media (both traditional and digital) in the province. My office has therefore decided to initiate an investigation into the issue, essentially to determine whether the Communications in French Directive is sufficiently explicit concerning the requirements relating to advertising and, if so, whether they are being followed by government agencies.
In conducting this investigation, the Office will do an analysis of policies and processes to ensure that ministries and government agencies are complying with the statutory requirements and agreements in place, in developing, disseminating and distributing government advertisements. We hope that this will enable us to determine whether the specific needs of the Francophone community are being taken into account in the preparation of advertising, and that ministries and government agencies are developing targeted approaches that are effective in reaching Francophone populations, as set out in the Communications in French Directive.
We hope to be able to complete this investigation by the end of this year. Stay tuned.