A necessary change
With his 2015-2016 annual report, the Commissioner has but one goal: to demonstrate the necessity of revising the French Language Services Act.
The Act is obsolete and outdated. Ontario cannot pull back in an area where, in 1986, it led the way by passing the French Language Services Act. Thirty years later, the Francophonie has evolved, but the Act has not. It no longer reflects today’s reality. In other provinces and territories, laws have been modernized to better address the needs of the minority language communities. It is high time the Ontario government got with the program.
What the Commissioner has in mind is a makeover that is consistent with the times and the dynamic nature of the Francophonie of 2016. A Francophonie for whom the boundaries of designated areas no longer make sense because of population change and mobility. A Francophonie whose communications and dealings with the government take place over every available technological platform, including social media. A Francophonie where active offer is a wise idea. A Francophonie for whom the delivery of government services has become so diverse that the definition of “government agency” also needs to be updated.
In the Commissioner’s view, a revision of the Act necessarily begins with consultations with the community and its stakeholders. They must be involved from the beginning. A process of collective and inclusive reflection is required.
The Commissioner would like to see those consultations undertaken during the current session of the Legislature, but no later than the fall of 2016.
With an expanded team, more human and financial resources, strong partners, and a desire to be more proactive, the Commissioner wishes to assist the government in this challenging social project, which will have a real and lasting impact on the 612,000 Francophones who make up today’s community and also on future generations.
Make way for FLSA 2.0.