International Association of Language Commissioners Conference

Last week, I attended the first annual conference of the the International Association of Language Commissioners (IALC) in Barcelona, Spain. The language ombudsmen of several countries met once again to share experiences and views and build relationships between the language commissioners’ offices.

Delegates included Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada; Katherine d’Entremont, Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick; Sandra Inutiq, Languages Commissioner of Nunavut; Rafael Ribó, Catalan Ombudsman; Seán Ó Cuirreáin, Irish Language Commissioner; Mxolisi Zwane, Chief Executive Officer of the Pan South African Language Board; Meri Huws, Welsh Language Commissioner; Slavisa Mladenovic, Kosovo Language Commissioner; and Nimal Ranawaka, Chairman, Official Languages Commission of Sri Lanka.

The conference, whose theme was the protection of language rights, was an opportunity to discuss various issues, including language rights and challenges in the era of globalization, as well as the impact that minority language education has on the preservation and growth of minority languages. This high-level conference is also an important exercise to facilitate information sharing, and it provides unprecedented mutual learning opportunities between language commissioners whose common goals are to promote, support and defend linguistic rights, equality and diversity.

As a founding member, I was invited to the Association’s official launch, during which I was asked to give a speech in the Parliament of Catalonia as part of a panel discussion on the impact and outcomes of investigation reports. It was an excellent opportunity for me to talk about the importance of using the powers I have under the French Language Services Act to conduct investigations and make recommendations in order to improve the quality and availability of the Ontario government’s French-language services.

Attending the conference made it possible for me to share the results of our investigation report on the English-only H1N1 flyer. It was an opportunity to review what the Commissioner’s Office has done in the field of health with my counterpart from Wales, who plans to carry out similar work in that area. In addition, the presentation gave me a chance to discuss the implementation of my recommendation on the adoption of a mandatory directive regarding communications in French within the Ontario government.

Bon dia!

The IALC was established last May in Dublin, Ireland. Its mission is to support and defend linguistic rights, equality and diversity around the world and to help language commissioners work in accordance with the highest professional standards. The next IALC conference will be held in Ottawa, Canada, in the spring of 2015.


  1. Johanne Leroux

    bravo et merci pour ton engagement envers la francophonie d’ici et d’ailleurs. salutations!

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