Chapter 1

An Organizational Story

1.1.1.1 Building credibility

In his annual reports and extensive formal investigations, the Commissioner has never hesitated to fully exercise the power that the French Language Services Act gives him to make recommendations. In the last six years, the Commissioner has made no less than 46 recommendations to the Ontario government. Most of them are development-oriented and result from rigorous studies conducted as a result of either complaints about inadequate French-language services or empirical or qualitative observations. Yet while the Commissioner’s Office has been able to help make a difference through these recommendations over the last few years, much of the progress is due to two actors: the citizens and the government.

The citizens have put their trust in the Commissioner’s Office and have taken the trouble to share their observations of local conditions and provide updates on changes in service to the public. Without them, the Commissioner’s Office would have been a lone wolf, and its work would not have had the same degree of credibility with the government.

As for the government, the Commissioner must acknowledge that it has not just been receptive to the majority of his recommendations; it has accepted and ordered changes in the public service. Of course, the government has not implemented exactly what the Commissioner wanted in every case. But that is beside the point. The important thing is that the government has taken part in the constructive dialogue initiated by the citizens and the Commissioner’s Office, and that the public has been kept informed.

Six years after its establishment, the dialogue that the Commissioner’s Office has sought with the government and the public from the outset is well and truly under way. The Commissioner hopes, of course, that this dialogue will continue into the future.

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