1.3. Francophone community of Ontario

Back in 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada wrote the following:

“The importance of language rights is grounded in the essential role that language plays in human existence, development and dignity. It is through language that we are able to form concepts; to structure and order the world around us. Language bridges the gap between isolation and community, allowing humans to delineate the rights and duties they hold in respect of one another, and thus to live in society.”7

Without a community, without a society, language no longer performs its function of transmitting and conveying culture. That is one of the factors underlying the Act, which, in its preamble, requires recognition of the rights of the community living in that language and of the government’s obligations to that community.

Ontario’s Francophone community must be treated just as the rest of the population is treated. In some cases, that means a simple translation of a policy will suffice. Very often, however, to achieve substantive equality and, above all, to be useful and effective, policies and programs will have to be tailored to that community’s particular needs.

7 Re Manitoba Language Rights, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 721, p. 744.

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