Chapter 1

An Organizational Story

1.4 Conclusion

In the coming years, the Commissioner hopes to focus more on disadvantaged populations, the people who are least likely to file complaints, even though they are often the ones who most need to do so. Because of their situation, those groups are more vulnerable to the risks posed by any deficiency in French-language services. Among those more fragile populations are seniors, children, people with mental health problems, newcomers and a plethora of other groups of citizens.

When we look at the number of admissible complaints by institution, we see a very small increase over the years in the number of complaints against ministries that deal with disadvantaged populations, such as the Ministry of Community and Social Services, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services or the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. It would be naïve to think that this low number means that all programs and services are fully delivered in compliance with the French Language Services Act. Something must be done to correct this “false positive”. It is not that these disadvantaged populations enjoy special status under the Act, but the fact is that they
are vulnerable and less likely to file complaints or raise
their voice.

Indeed, something must be done. Proactively done. Certainly, the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner will be proactive in reviewing programs and services where improvements can be made. However, this responsibility lies first and foremost with the government itself.

RECOMMENDATION 1

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, in conjunction with her Cabinet colleagues, develop an action plan to ensure that disadvantaged populations have genuine access to French-language services, in keeping with the letter and the spirit of the French Language Services Act.

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