THE OFFICE OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES COMMISSIONER: A CREDIBLE ACTOR WHO TOOK A STAND
TORONTO, May 30, 2017 – François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, reports on the progress made and the impact of his office’s actions over the last decade in his 2016-2017 annual report. The report, entitled Taking a stand, was presented yesterday to the Hon. Dave Levac, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
In his tenth annual report, the Commissioner reviews his office’s actions, and the impact those actions have had, since 2007. The report highlights 22 specific instances where progress has been significant in the areas of health, justice, citizenship and immigration, education, children and youth services, and direct services to the community.
“I am proud of the systemic impact we have had on societal debates and the value that the Office of the Commissioner has added to the public service. We have literally taken a stand, by raising systemic issues that are important to the people of Ontario through the growth in the number of French-language post-secondary programs, the creation of new schools; the adoption of an inclusive definition of the term “Francophone”; a Communications in French Directive, and through the independence of our office,” said Commissioner Boileau.
The Commissioner is also pleased to underline that the Attorney General of Ontario intends to create an advisory committee on access to justice in French. The committee will report directly to the office of the Attorney General, which is excellent news to the Commissioner.
The report also highlights 20 problems that persist in relation to government services in French. For his tenth annual report, the Commissioner therefore makes ten recommendations, including that Regulation 515/09 on the role of health planning entities be amended; that the evaluation of the pilot project on access to French language services at the Ottawa Courthouse be made public and that assurances be given that it will have concrete effects elsewhere in the province; that a Francophone immigration advisory committee be created; and that the rights of children set out in the Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act, 2016, in particular the right to receive services in French from children’s aid societies, be confirmed.
The Commissioner ends his report by urging the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs to honour her commitment to revising the Act, so that Ontario remains at the forefront when it comes to French language services. He also stresses that in the last ten years, as the French language services ombudsman, his office has become a credible reference, at both Canadian and international level, notably as a founding member of the International Association of Language Commissioners.
- In 2016-2017, the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner examined 301 complaints, of which 214 were determined to be admissible.
- The report contains a record number of exemplary practices, honourable mentions, and noteworthy initiatives in French language services.
- Almost 95% of the admissible complaints over 10 years were founded.
- The French Language Services Commissioner is one of nine independent officers who report to the Legislative Assembly.
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner reports directly to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Its principal mandate is to ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act in the delivery of government services.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION Consult the annual report at flscontario.ca, in the “Publications” section.