The Commissioner is Delighted with the Introduction of Legislation on the Independence of the French Language Services Commissioner
TORONTO, September 26, 2013 — French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau is delighted with the introduction of Bill 106, the French Language Services Amendment Act (French Language Services Commissioner), 2013, in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario yesterday. If this bill is passed, the resulting amendments to the French Language Services Act will make the French Language Services Commissioner an officer of the Legislature.
In his 2011-2012 Annual Report, Straight Forward, the Commissioner recommended to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs that an amendment to the French Language Services Act be introduced to have the Commissioner report directly to the Legislative Assembly. The Commissioner felt in particular that it was time to safeguard the position from possible political interference, to make certain to maintain the interest of public servants and senior officials in complying with the Act over the long term, and to give the Commissioner the necessary autonomy to fully execute his duties.
“I congratulate the Government of Ontario and especially the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, for taking the necessary measures to stay the course on effective implementation of the French Language Services Act,” said the Commissioner. “The introduction of this bill reflects the Minister’s leadership and is a fitting addition to her impressive 10-year track record in that portfolio.”
“I am also grateful to the Francophone Affairs Critics for their contribution and support which were instrumental on carrying the bill quickly through the first and second readings. I hope, of course, that this support continues in the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly and through the third reading,” added the Commissioner.
“The Commissioner’s independence would be a historic step forward in recognizing and safeguarding the rights of Ontario’s Francophone citizens. In my opinion, there could not have been better Francophone affairs news than the introduction of this bill on Franco-Ontarian Day,” concluded the Commissioner.
– The position of French Language Services Commissioner was established in September 2007 following an amendment to the French Language Services Act.
– The French Language Services Commissioner is responsible for conducting independent investigations under the French Language Services Act in response to complaints or on his own initiative. He also monitors the progress made by government agencies in delivering services in French in Ontario.
– The French Language Services Commissioner is currently one of the few ombudsmen in Ontario who report to a minister rather than directly to all parliamentarians.
– If Bill 106 is passed, the French Language Services Commissioner will become an officer of the Legislature, like the Auditor General, the Environmental Commissioner, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Integrity Commissioner, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Ombudsman of Ontario and the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario.
– The French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario is the only provincial or territorial language ombudsman in Canada who does not report directly to the legislative assembly of his jurisdiction. The Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, the Languages Commissioner of Nunavut, and the Languages Commissioner of the Northwest Territories report to the parliamentarians of their respective provincial or territorial jurisdiction.
See Bill 106, the French Language Services Amendment Act (French Language Services Commissioner), 2013, at http://goo.gl/aKI2P1 and section 1.2 of the Commissioner’s 2011-2012 Annual Report on the independence of the French Language Services Commissioner at http://ontario.ca/bipi.
The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner works to ensure active, integrated delivery of French-language services in support of the development of the Francophone community and Ontarian society.
Simon Côté, Public Relations and Communications Officer
Office of the French Language Services Commissioner
Phone: (416) 314-8247 or 1-866-246-5262 (toll free)
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