Signing Ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada

Signature du protocole d’entente avec le Commissariat aux langues officielles du Canada | Signing Ceremony of the MOU with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada

Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, and I sent out a joint news release yesterday after we signed an agreement that will allow our organizations to optimize their support to the citizens and communities they serve. The memorandum of understanding was signed in the Toronto offices of French-language public television channel TFO.

This memorandum of understanding is unprecedented in Canada. It will allow our two offices to share information about investigations that fall under both jurisdictions and to work together on promotional initiatives and studies on how our respective governments are meeting their language obligations.

This is a step forward for all Francophone communities in Ontario. Indeed, this memorandum will give Francophones more direct access to our respective services and expertise, which will allow us to better respond to their needs and concerns in terms of their language rights.

I have given quite a lot of interviews to Francophone media across Ontario since Monday and some of them have asked me who had initiated this project. Well, dear friends, all the credit goes to citizens. Since I have started as Commissioner of French Language Services in Ontario five years ago, many citizens expressed their interest to see my team collaborate with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. Indeed, since 2007, Mr. Fraser, Mr. Michel A. Carrier, Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick and I have initiated this conversation. We had agreed back then to take the time to get to know our mutual organizations, which led us to yesterday’s announcement.

I wish to thank everyone who has worked on this project including, of course, citizens! It is now possible to consider other such collaborations. Stay tuned!

Joint News Release with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario

Report on Access to Justice in French

The Ministry of the Attorney General and my Office just sent out a joint news release to inform the population that the government is establishing a steering committee on access to justice in French. This committee will be composed of representatives from the justice sector and other organizations and will review and develop an implementation plan that responds to the recommendations outlined in the French Language Services Bench and Bar Committee’s report ― Access to justice in French.

Access to justice in French was released on August 2, 2012 and describes the steps needed to ensure that French speakers have effective access to justice in French while making the most efficient use of existing resources. Attorney General John Gerretsen and Minister Madeleine Meilleur say more about the government’s commitment in the news release.

I wish to thank the Attorney General for his leadership in continuing to ensure access to justice in French in Ontario, as it is a fundamental right. I am pleased that the Bench and Bar Advisory Committee’s recommendations have been heard and that the needs of Francophone citizens are being put amongst the Ministry of the Attorney General’s top priorities. This is indeed such an important issue for Francophone citizens of Ontario that I will discuss it further on my blog tomorrow.