The Commissioner is Delighted with the Unanimous Adoption of the Legislation on the Independence of the Commissioner on Third Reading
TORONTO, December 12, 2013 — French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau is delighted with the unanimous adoption of Bill 106, French Language Services Amendment Act (French Language Services Commissioner), 2013, in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario today. Once Royal Assent is given by the Lieutenant Governor, the resulting amendments to the French Language Services Act will make the French Language Services Commissioner an officer of the Legislature as of January 1, 2014.
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.
“Through the independence of the French Language Services Commissioner, Ontario’s Francophonie is being given a permanent presence in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,” said the Commissioner. “It is a historic step forward in recognizing and safeguarding the rights of Ontario’s Francophone citizens.”
“I am extremely motivated by the fact that Franco-Ontarians are gaining a new institution that belongs to them and is an integral part of the Legislative Assembly,” added the Commissioner. “I look forward with great enthusiasm to Francophone and Francophile communities in every part of the province helping to build this institution and tailor it to their needs.”
“I congratulate all parliamentarians ─ particularly the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, and the opposition parties’ Francophone Affairs Critics ─ for their unwavering leadership and support in the unanimous adoption of this bill. Together, they chose to safeguard this position from possible political interference, to make certain to maintain the interest of senior public servants in complying with the act over the long term, and to give the Commissioner the necessary autonomy to fully execute his duties,” 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 adoption of this bill on Third Reading follows its introduction and adoption on first and second readings on September 25, 2013, and its consideration by the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly today. The bill will officially become law once the Lieutenant Governor has given it Royal Assent, the final step in the legislative process.
- The French Language Services Commissioner was one of the few ombudsmen in Ontario who reported to a minister rather than directly to all parliamentarians.
- The French Language Services Commissioner will become, as of January 1, 2014, 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 was the only provincial or territorial language ombudsman in Canada who did 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, 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
Cell phone: (416) 906-7021
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