1.3.2. Public consultations

In the past, the Commissioner’s Office has received many complaints about the public consultations held by government ministries and agencies.

And for good reason. It is often poorly understood that, in most situations, public consultations must be held in French and in English, but not in both languages.

When Francophones must take part in a public consultation process that is “nominally bilingual” with simultaneous interpretation, it does not work. There have to be public meetings in French, announced in advance in appropriate French-language media.

We should take a page, once again, from Prince Edward Island’s French Language Services Act, section 4 of which requires that the government, its own institutions and its spin-off institutions ensure that members of the public have the opportunity to participate in public consultations, either in writing or electronically, in English and French.

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