Commissioner’s Blog

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François Boileau
French Language Services Commissioner

A look back at the last few months, Part 2: HC Link’s Francophone Provincial Forum, a visit to London and the Centre francophone de Toronto’s citizenship program

As part of this short series of postings on events that I attended in 2013, I will now take you back to April 12, when Toronto hosted HC Link’s Francophone Provincial Forum, “Building inspiring partnerships for the well-being of the Francophone community”, which I had the opportunity to attend as a guest speaker. HC Link organized this event in conjunction with the Regroupement des intervenants francophones en santé et en services sociaux de l’Ontario (Rifssso) and the Réseau franco-santé du Sud de l’Ontario. I have to say that I was extremely impressed by the quality of every presentation at this forum.

Five days later, in London, I gave a presentation to the Table de planification régionale francophone (TPRF) of London on the importance of forging partnerships to improve access to health services (particularly mental health services), as part of the Student Support Leadership Initiative. During that visit to London, I also met with the executive director of La Ribambelle to discuss local needs for Early Years child care services in French.

Later, on May 29, I delivered a presentation on the Canadian political system as part of the Centre francophone de Toronto’s citizenship program. I always find it rewarding to meet Francophone newcomers and help to welcome them and get them settled in Ontario along with organizations that work hard in that area.

I will return soon with a sequel to these first and second year-end review postings. I still have a lot to say.

A Look Back at the Last Few Months, Part 1: The Safe Centre of Peel Community Forum and a Visit to Ottawa

December being a good month for a year-end review, I recall, with pleasure, so many events that I attended, but I have been unable to do justice to them all as I usually do on an ongoing basis in my blog. Consequently, today and over the next few weeks, I want to look back on a number of those events, not only to thank the people who did such a wonderful job of organizing them, but also to properly salute the organizations’ energy and drive.

So I will begin by taking you back to February 15, 2013, when the Safe Centre of Peel (SCoP) held its 2013 community forum on French-language services in Brampton. The SCoP was established on December 1, 2011. Its mission is to bring together under one roof a number of service providers involved in combating domestic violence and assisting abused children in the Peel region.

The SCoP obtained funding from the Ministry of Community and Social Services in 2011-2012 to consult the Francophone community on how best to meet its needs. Following those consultations, held in February 2012, six major recommendations were made to the SCoP’s 11 agencies concerning the provision of French-language services. The 11 agencies then attended a course on French-language services in March 2012. In that course, representatives of the agencies were educated on the situation of Francophones in the Peel region, from the perspective of both the diversity of cultures and the French Language Services Act. Each agency was able to complete a French-language services self-assessment and develop objectives to improve the delivery of those services.

Phase 2 of the SCoP’s French-language services project, entitled “Acting on the recommendations of Phase 1”, had three main objectives, one of which was to hold a community forum that would bring together the SCoP’s agencies, the Francophone organizations concerned, and the various funding providers. It was in the context of this particular objective that I attended the SCoP’s 2013 community forum as a guest speaker.

A few days later, on February 21, 2013, I gave a brief address at the annual meeting of Francophone stakeholders in Ontario’s Justice Sector in Toronto, a gathering that I attend every year. That afternoon, I travelled to Ottawa to attend the Bernard Grandmaître awards ceremony presented by ACFO d’Ottawa. During my visit to Ottawa, I also gave a presentation to the Regroupement des élèves conseillers scolaires francophones de l’Ontario (RECFO) and the members of the representatives council of the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO) regarding the issues surrounding French-language postsecondary education in Ontario (it’s an open secret that these meetings are the ones I like best in my job). I also had a television interview with Ginette Gratton on her show Ginette Gratton reçoit…, which airs on Rogers TV, and I met with the committee on the study of bilingualism in the federal superior court judiciary.

A number of other events that I attended in 2013 are also worthy of note. I will return soon with Part 2 of this posting.

Democracy at Your Fingertips at

2013.12.06 - Billet FR-ENAs published in La Passerelle-I.D.É.’s Winter 2013 edition of FOCUS Magazine, thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Regroupement ethnoculturel des parents francophones de l’Ontario [Ontario Ethnocultural Association of Francophone Parents] (REPFO) and the Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario [Francophone Association of Ontario Municipalities] (AFMO) have joined forces to provide a valuable web resource called, an awareness-raising tool that encourages citizens, especially immigrants, to get involved in municipal and school board politics.

As stated by Jacqueline Noiseux, Executive Director of AFMO and author of FOCUS magazine’s article, “Canadian citizens have certain fundamental human rights and freedoms, including democratic and legal rights. One’s ability to properly integrate into Canadian society depends, among other things, on one’s ability to exercise these rights at the municipal and school board levels.”

The website offers a wealth of information on the subject. Visitors will find numerous articles, relevant links as well as visuals including videos explaining the importance of getting involved in school and local politics, making informed choices and voting.

To understand what is truly at stake when it comes to municipal and school board elections with regards to Francophone communities, visit!

Index of the 16 Blog Posts about the Report “Access to Justice in French”

In August 2012, the Ministry of the Attorney General published the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee’s report entitled Access to Justice in French.

2012.08.03 - Billet Rapport Accès à la justice en français ENGAccess to justice in French is crucial for Francophone communities across Ontario hence I took the initiative to publicly present my analysis of the report in a series of 16 blog posts and two news releases. Of course, I also referred to this important question in my 2012-2013 Annual Report.

In order to facilitate navigation through these resources, please find below the blog posts in chronological order by publishing date:

  1. The Bench and Bar Advisory Committee on French Language Services Publishes its Report on Access to Justice in French in Ontario (posted on August 2, 2012);
  2. Finally, a Real Action Plan for the Access to Justice in French in Ontario! (posted on August 3, 2012, and accompanied by a news release);
  3. The Importance of Access to Justice in French (September 12, 2012);
  4. What our Complainants Have to Say about Access to Justice in French (September 13, 2012);
  5. Joint News Release with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario (posted on November 20, 2012, and accompanied by a news release);
  6. Behind the Scenes of Access to Justice in French (November 21, 2012);
  7. A Clear Service Objective and Active Offer: The Prerequisites for Equal Access to Justice in French (November 29, 2012);
  8. Good Language Rights Education for the Judiciary Means Better Access to Justice in French (December 7, 2012);
  9. Let’s Be Clear; Let’s Be Fair (December 14, 2012);
  10. What Price Justice for Francophone Litigants? (December 19, 2012);
  11. Toward a “Franco-Sensitive” Way of Administering the Provincial Offences Act (January 7, 2013);
  12. Language Skills and the Allocation of Bilingual Judicial Officers in Ontario (January 25, 2013);
  13. Coordinating Bilingual Court Staff and Educating Court Employees about French-Language Rights (March 8, 2013);
  14. Many Solutions for Better Coordination of French-Language Proceedings (April 5, 2013);
  15. Access to the Legal Profession, the Key to Access to Justice (April 11, 2013); and
  16. Justice in French in Ontario: A Promising Future (May 21, 2013).

2013.08.15 - Billet Étude sur la capacité bilingue de la magistrature des cours sup. - ENAlso, I published two blog posts about the study Access to Justice in both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary led by the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada in partnership with the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick and myself. The first of them, entitled Access to justice in both official languages, was posted on May 17, 2012; and the second, entitled The Joint Study on the Bilingual Capacity of Canada’s Superior Courts is Released by the Three Commissioners, was posted on August 16, 2013, and accompanied by a news release and highlights of the study.

I am delighted to be able to count on the Attorney General’s leadership in implementing the action plans outlined in both reports. I am hopeful that the eventual outcome of the new solutions will be that Francophones will no longer have to experience barriers to accessing justice in French that prevent the legitimate exercise of French language rights in Ontario’s courts.

World AIDS Day: Taking the Needs of the Francophone Community into Account

2013.11.29 - Billet Journée mondiale de lutte contre le VIH-sida FR-ENOn the occasion of World AIDS Day, taking place on December 1st, 2013, I wish once again this year to highlight the extent to which these services are crucial for Francophones affected by the pandemic.

As I stated in my 2012-2013 Annual Report, while Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has maintained that organizations operating in the HIV/AIDS sector have no legal obligation to provide service in French (since they are not government agencies and do not provide services on the government’s behalf), it has nevertheless taken a more active role to ensure that Francophones living with HIV have access to HIV-specific services in French. The Ministry has contributed to the funding of community organizations operating in the HIV/AIDS service sector to help them make their resources available in French and train their employees.

In my view, the fact that consultations on the renewal of the provincial strategy on HIV/AIDS have been held in French is also promising. I am hopeful that the specific needs and characteristics of the Francophone community will be taken into account.

I wish to congratulate the organizations that host events for Francophones once again this year as part of World AIDS Day in Ontario, namely Action positive, the Centre francophone de Toronto, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and many others.

New French-Language Settlement Services in Scarborough

1378112_576911029048370_487429713_nLast month, La Passerelle-I.D.É launched its new French-Language Settlement Services in Scarborough. Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, this settlement program allows Francophone newcomers access to a variety of essentials tools such as information sessions, referral services, needs assessment , etc. needed for their integration.

The originality of this program lies in the fact that it is the result of collaboration between La Passerelle-I.D.É. and Catholic Crosscultural Services. As La Passerelle-I.D.É.’s staff are on site, Francophone newcomers who go to the latter, have now access to French-language services. They do not need to travel elsewhere to receive settlement services in French.

Kudos to La Passerelle-I.D.É. for this new settlement services and especially for this bold partnership!