Annual report 2017–2018 backgrounder

The Commissioner of Official Languages’ 2017–2018 annual report is divided into three chapters and contains two recommendations.

Federal government’s progress:

  • Department of Justice Canada’s action plan to enhance the bilingual capacity of superior court judges
  • New multilateral framework on early learning and child care
  • Clerk of the Privy Council’s report on language of work in the public service
  • Action Plan for Official Languages 2018–2023: Investing in Our Future

Some systemic issues:

  • Section 91 of the Official Languages Act – identifying the issues concerning federal institutions’ obligation to establish the language requirements of positions objectively during staffing
  • Education funding – ensuring that the needs of rights-holders are taken into consideration before signing an agreement
  • Language tests for prospective economic immigrants – investigating complaints about unequal costs, accessibility and waiting times for English and French language proficiency tests

Commissioner’s recommendations:

  • Given that the Clerk of the Privy Council, as head of the federal public service, has made language of work a priority in the public service in his report, The next level: Normalizing a culture of inclusive linguistic duality in the Federal Public Service workplace, the Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Clerk establish an appropriate mechanism to ensure that, starting in September 2018, federal employees receive annual status updates on the work done by the committee responsible for implementing the recommendations contained in the report.
  • Given that Canadian Heritage and the Treasury Board cannot use the tools they currently have to make organizational diagnoses for federal institutions or to help federal institutions ensure continuous improvement in terms of official languages, the Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that before March 2020, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the President of the Treasury Board conduct a review of the tools they currently use to evaluate federal institutions and that they make any necessary changes in order to present a clear picture of official languages in the federal government.

Admissible complaints in 2017–2018:

In 2017–2018, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages received 894 admissible complaints. The distribution of complaints by part or section of the Act is as follows:

  • 51%: Communications with and services to the public (Part IV)
  • 15%: Language of work (Part V)
  • 2%: Equitable participation (Part VI)
  • 6%: Advancement of English and French (Part VII)
  • 25%: Language requirements of positions (Part XI and section 91)
  • 1%: Other parts of the Act (Parts II, III and IX)

Admissible complaints over 10 years (2008–2009 to 2017–2018), by province and territory

Newfoundland and Labrador 7 11 6 11 8 18 12 14 28 16
Prince Edward Island 17 17 7 3 3 4 4 2 5 2
Nova Scotia 42 37 52 33 9 8 13 16 10 20
New Brunswick 49 43 35 36 24 31 42 41 87 51
Quebec 66 68 505 55 70 59 56 68 148 129
National Capital Region (Quebec) 67 93 57 49 49 37 64 121 92 96
National Capital Region (Ontario) 163 141 209 200 152 182 193 351 429 307
Ontario 105 956 51 77 52 75 78 58 106 124
Manitoba 19 27 10 25 20 20 13 14 13 18
Saskatchewan 6 8 3 2 2 8 16 4 6 25
Alberta 28 25 11 12 9 9 28 8 43 49
British Columbia 22 38 23 7 8 19 18 16 25 33
Yukon 1 1 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
Northwest Territories 3 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 2 4
Nunavut 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Outside Canada 11 10 8 7 9 5 12 8 23 19
Total 606 1,477 981 518 415 476 550 725 1,018 894
Date modified:
2018-06-12