1.5.2. Need for a new definition

Every year, the Commissioner’s Office receives an average of 25 to 30 complaints that fall into the “Other” category. These complaints are difficult to classify, because they are associated with agencies created or mandated by ministries to deliver programs and services that, in responsibility transfer cases, used to be provided by the province. These so-called arm’s-length agencies are not subject to the obligations in the Act. This legal gap should be filled so that Francophone citizens have equitable access to French-language services, regardless of whether a majority of the board is appointed by the government. This loophole is no longer acceptable in a society that has to deal with a wide range of suppliers of public services that often define themselves as independent and exempt from any obligation to serve Francophone communities.

In this context, the Commissioner recommends that the government take advantage of the revision of the French Language Services Act to introduce a broader, more modern definition of government agency which would apply to any office, board, commission, council or other body mandated to perform a governmental function by or pursuant to an act of the Legislature or by or under the authority of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, a ministry of the Government of Ontario, a Crown corporation established by or pursuant to an act of the Legislature or any other body that is specified by an act of the Legislature to be an agent of Her Majesty in right of Ontario or to be subject to the direction of the Lieutenant Governor in Council or a minister of the Crown.

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