Official languages in the provinces and territories
The Official Languages Act does not apply to provincial or municipal governments or to private businesses. However, provinces and territories have adopted their own policies and legislation to protect languages. To learn more about a specific provincial or territorial language policy, please contact the office responsible for official languages or the organization responsible for the official language minority community in that province or territory.
- Francophone Affairs Program of British Columbia
- In 2001, the Government of British Columbia established the Francophone Affairs Program, which seeks to support the development and delivery of French services and to explore initiatives to enhance the vitality of French language and culture in British Columbia. This is achieved by working together with the province’s Francophone community and with the federal government.
- Office of the British Columbia Ombudsperson
- British Columbia’s Ombudsperson ensures that people are treated fairly when receiving public services by answering questions from members of the public and investigating complaints about the services of provincial public agencies. Agencies under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsperson include provincial ministries, health care institutions, educational institutions, municipal and regional governments, professional associations, Crown corporations and government boards.
- Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique (in French only)
- Established in 1945, the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique represents British Columbia’s French-speaking community and works to increase French-language services in the province. The Fédération currently includes approximately 40 member associations from a wide variety of regions and sectors in British Columbia. Its goal is to defend the rights and interests of Franco-Columbians and to preserve their linguistic and cultural heritage.
- Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique (in French only)
- Founded in 2000, the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique has a general mandate to promote access to justice in French in British Columbia. Its main objectives are to develop and implement legal services in French, contribute to the professional development of French-speaking lawyers and examine issues relating to the language rights of Francophones in British Columbia.
- Francophone Secretariat of Alberta
- Established in 1999 by the Alberta government in recognition of its commitment to its Francophone citizenry, the Francophone Secretariat represents the needs of Alberta’s French-speaking community within the provincial government by serving as a liaison and by supporting initiatives to promote the French language and culture in Alberta.
- Alberta Ombudsman
- The Alberta Ombudsman, an impartial officer operating independently from the provincial government, protects the right of Albertans to be treated fairly in receiving public services. The Ombudsman responds to complaints from individuals who feel they have been treated unfairly by a provincial government authority or a designated professional organization.
- Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta (in French only)
- Founded in 1926, the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta represents Alberta’s French-speaking community. With 13 regional associations across Alberta, it promotes pride and cultural expression among Franco-Albertans and works with other organizations in the province to strengthen ties within the Francophone community. Its mission is to advance the rights of French-speaking Albertans and to foster the development of the province’s French-speaking community.
- Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta (in French only)
- The role of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta is to inform Albertans of their rights and responsibilities by providing them with quality legal information (resources, workshops, conferences, etc.) The AJEFA also strives to improve and facilitate access to justice and legal services in French in Alberta.
- Francophone Affairs Branch of Saskatchewan
- Created in 1990, Saskatchewan’s Francophone Affairs Branch serves as a liaison between the provincial government and the province’s French-speaking community. It provides support for provincial ministries, Crown corporations and agencies to help them deliver improved French-language services. It also manages Saskatchewan’s French-language Services Centre, a single window for the public to access provincial services and programs in French. The Francophone Affairs Branch is responsible for guiding and monitoring the implementation of the Government of Saskatchewan French-language Services Policy.
- Ombudsman Saskatchewan
- Ombudsman Saskatchewan is an independent office headed by the provincial Ombudsman, whose job is to hold the government accountable in matters of fairness. Ombudsman Saskatchewan promotes fairness by investigating complaints about unfairness in government services, educating the government about fair practices and promoting its services to the general public.
- Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise
- Established in 1912 to promote the interests and defend the rights of Saskatchewan’s French-speaking population—better known as the Fransaskois—the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise is the provincial advocate of Saskatchewan’s Francophone community. Its mandate is to defend the rights and aspirations of the Fransaskois community and to increase awareness of the language, culture and community of the Fransaskois people.
- Association des juristes d’expression française de la Saskatchewan (in French only)
- Founded in 1989 by jurists of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Saskatchewan is a non-profit organization that works to develop justice services in French in Saskatchewan and improve access to them. The AJEFS can help you if you need legal information in French, if you are looking for a French-speaking lawyer in your area, if you need help finding or obtaining legal services in French, or if you are looking for a person who can speak to your group, school or community association.
- Francophone Affairs Secretariat of Manitoba
- Manitoba’s Francophone Affairs Secretariat, established in 1981, provides assistance, advice and guidance for all provincial government activities related to French-language services, including the French Language Services Policy. It also handles complaints from the public about French-language services and acts as a liaison between the Manitoba government and Franco-Manitoban organizations.
- Manitoba Ombudsman
- The Manitoba Ombudsman is an independent office that promotes and fosters openness, transparency, fairness, accountability and respect for privacy in the design and delivery of provincial and municipal public services. The Manitoba Ombudsman investigates complaints from people who feel they have been treated unfairly by the provincial government or by a municipal government.
- Société de la francophonie manitobaine (in French only)
- Established in 1968, the Société de la francophonie manitobaine represents Manitoba’s French-speaking community. It advocates for the full respect of Franco-Manitobans’ rights and for the adoption of new legislation and policies for the development of French-language services across Manitoba. It also ensures that there is active cooperation and clear communications between the Manitoba government and Francophone organizations throughout the province regarding the promotion and protection of the French language and culture.
- Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba inc. (in French only)
- L’Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba inc. works to improve access to services in French in various areas of law in Manitoba and promotes the full use of these services. The AJEFM strives to bring about the necessary means to create an environment in which Francophones feel comfortable using their own language in their dealings with the courts and government offices.
- Ontario Ombudsman
- On May 1, 2019, the French Language Services Commissioner position was eliminated, and all of its responsibilities were transferred to the Ontario Ombudsman. As an agent that is independent of the government and political parties, the Ombudsman promotes fairness, accountability and transparency in the public sector by investigating complaints and systemic issues under its mandate. In addition, the Ombudsman is responsible for ensuring that the language rights of Ontarians are respected and the obligations of government agencies are met with respect to the French Language Services Act.
- Ontario’s Office of Francophone Affairs
- Established under Ontario’s French Language Services Act in 1986, Ontario’s Office of Francophone Affairs works together with provincial ministries to ensure that the Act is applied. The organization provides information on the province’s Francophone population and ensures that Ontarians have access to French services in the 25 designated areas in which Ontario guarantees the right to be served in French.
- Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (in French only)
- The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario was created in 2006, with the merger of the Association canadienne-française d’éducation de l’Ontario (founded in 1910) and the Direction de l’Entente Canada-Communauté Ontario (established in 2000). This non-profit organization represents the province’s Francophone community on all political levels, promoting and protecting Franco-Ontarians’ rights, culture and language, while creating one political voice for the community.
- Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario
- Founded in 1980, the Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario speaks for lawyers, judges, personnel in the administration of justice, law professors, law students and others who work at promoting access to justice in French. AJEFO manages cliquezjustice.ca (in French only), which provides information in French about legal issues throughout the country.
- Office québécois de la langue française (in French only)
- The Office québécois de la langue française was established in 2002, with the merger of the Office de la langue française (founded in 1961) and the Commission de protection de la langue française (created in 1977). This government agency defines and conducts Quebec policy with regard to official language, terminology and the francization of the public and private sectors. Its mandate is to ensure that French is the normal, everyday language of work, communications, commerce and business in the public administration and in the private sector. It is also responsible for ensuring compliance with Quebec’s Charter of the French Language.
- Quebec’s Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes
- Created in 1961, Quebec’s Secrétariat aux affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes protects and promotes the province’s interests by advising the Quebec government on Canadian intergovernmental relations. It analyzes the federal government’s policies and programs with regard to how they affect Quebec. It is also responsible for relations with other provincial and territorial governments and for relations with French-speaking Canadians throughout Canada.
- Le protecteur du citoyen du Québec
- The Quebec Ombudsman is an independent, impartial officer who investigates complaints about unfair or improper treatment by a government of Quebec department or agency or by an institution in the health and social services network.
- Quebec Community Groups Network
- Established in 1995, the Quebec Community Groups Network is a non-profit organization that brings together more than 50 English-language community organizations across Quebec. Its goal is to identify, explore and address issues affecting the development and vitality of English-speaking communities throughout Quebec. It also seeks to encourage dialogue and cooperation among community groups, individuals, institutions and leaders.
- Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick
- The Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, a position created in 2003 under New Brunswick’s Official Languages Act, is an independent agent who investigates complaints and reports on compliance with respect to the Act. The Commissioner also promotes the advancement of English and French, the official languages of New Brunswick. Provincial institutions—including departments, Crown corporations, courts, police and hospitals—as well as cities and certain municipalities must provide services to the public in both official languages The Commissioner’s jurisdiction does not extend to educational institutions or the private sector.
- New Brunswick’s Francophonie and Official Languages Branch
- The Francophonie and Official Languages Branch of New Brunswick’s Department of Intergovernmental Affairs coordinates and promotes the provincial government’s activities within the provincial, Canadian and international Francophone communities. It also works closely with other government institutions, community groups and private sector organizations to promote the interests of New Brunswickers.
- Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (in French only)
- Established in 1973, the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick is the political voice of Acadians in New Brunswick and works to protect their rights and promote their interests. Representing upwards of 30 local and provincial organizations, the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick seeks to unite the province’s Acadian community and to foster its development. It is responsible for implementing the Plan de développement global de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick, a five-year strategic plan to help the Acadian community achieve equal status as an official language community in New Brunswick.
- Association des juristes d’expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick (in French only)
- The Association des juristes d’expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick provides legal services in French to the public, gives its members and other interested parties access to full legal documentation in French, acts as an advocate with public authorities and promotes access to legal services in French in New Brunswick and elsewhere in Canada by informing French-speaking citizens about their rights.
- Office of Acadian Affairs of Nova Scotia
- Nova Scotia’s Office of Acadian Affairs was established in 2004 under Nova Scotia’s French-language Services Act to provide advice and support to provincial government departments, agencies and Crown corporations so that they can develop and adapt policies, programs and services that reflect the needs of the Acadian and Francophone community of Nova Scotia. The Office of Acadian Affairs also acts as a liaison between the provincial government and the Acadian and Francophone community.
- Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman
- The Nova Scotia Office of the Ombudsman is an independent, non-partisan agency whose mission is to foster confidence in the public service by promoting the principles of fairness, integrity and good governance. The Ombudsman addresses complaints from the public about unfair treatment or policy with regard to services provided by provincial or municipal government organizations.
- Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (in French only)
- Founded in 1968, the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse is a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of Nova Scotia’s Acadian and Francophone community. Its goals include ensuring that the rights of French-speaking Nova Scotians are respected, coordinating cooperation among its 29 member organizations, and promoting the growth and development of the Acadian and Francophone community in Nova Scotia.
- Association des juristes d’expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse (in French only)
- Created in 1994, the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote the accessibility of legal services in French to Nova Scotia’s Acadian, Francophone and Francophile population. Members of the AJEFNE include judges, lawyers, professors, translators and students.
Prince Edward Island
- Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat of Prince Edward Island
- The Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat of Prince Edward Island, established in 1989, advises the provincial government on programs and services offered in French to help it meet the needs of the Island’s Acadian and Francophone community. The Secretariat also ensures compliance with Prince Edward Island’s French Language Services Act, but does not address complaints about designated services under the Act. Complaints about designated bilingual services must be made to the French Language Services Coordinator of the government institution that is the subject of the complaint.
- Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin (in French only)
- Founded in 1919, the Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin represents the Acadian and Francophone population of Prince Edward Island and works to ensure that all Acadian and French-speaking Islanders can live and thrive in French. With 1,200 members across Prince Edward Island, including six regional committees and 25 local and provincial organizations, the Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin is responsible for implementing the Plan de développement global 2011-2016, a roadmap to provide guidance and ensure consistency in the actions of community and government partners.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Newfoundland and Labrador’s Office of French Services
- The provincial Office of French Services, which falls under the Executive Council’s Human Resource Secretariat, was created in 1998 to coordinate the delivery of services in French by government agencies and to promote issues related to the language and culture of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Acadian and Francophone community. The office acts as a liaison between the provincial government and the Acadian and Francophone community, and provides advice and guidance to the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs.
- Office of the Citizens’ Representative of Newfoundland and Labrador
- The Office of the Citizens’ Representative provides ombudsman services to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. This independent office investigates complaints from citizens who feel that they have been treated unfairly by a provincial government office or agency. The Citizens’ Representative cannot, however, address complaints about municipal governments, private companies or the courts.
- Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador
- Established in 1973, the Fédération des Francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador is a non-profit organization working to preserve and promote the rights and interests of the Acadian and Francophone communities of Newfoundland and Labrador. The organization represents these communities at a provincial and federal level and acts as a liaison with its six member associations. The Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador is directly responsible for the provincial coordination of services that include post-secondary education, culture, health care and immigration. It also works with the Department of Canadian Heritage, which provides most of its funding, to ensure that federal government offices meet their obligations under the Official Languages Act of Canada.
- Languages Commissioner for Nunavut
- The Languages Commissioner for Nunavut is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly who protects the language rights of Nunavummiut who speak English, French, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun. Established in 1999 when the territory was created, the Office of the Languages Commissioner for Nunavut investigates complaints from people who feel that a territorial institution or municipality has not respected their language rights under Nunavut’s Official Languages Act or Inuit Language Protection Act.
- Association francophone du Nunavut (in French only)
- Founded in 1981, the Association francophone du Nunavut represents the territory’s French-speaking community and works to protect and promote the French language and culture across Nunavut.
- Francophone Affairs Secretariat of the Northwest Territories
- Established in 2012 as part of the Northwest Territories’ Strategic Plan on French Language Communications and Services, the Francophone Affairs Secretariat liaises with the Francophone community and provides advice and support to the territorial government’s departments and agencies. It also develops orientation programs for government employees about their obligations under the Northwest Territories’ Official Languages Act and manages Services TNO, a one-stop shop where the Franco-Ténois can access government services in French.
- Languages Commissioner of the Northwest Territories
- The Languages Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, a position created in 1990, ensures that territorial government institutions comply with the Northwest Territories’ Official Languages Act. The Languages Commissioner is an independent agent who investigates complaints, reports on compliance with the Act and ensures that the rights, status and privileges of each of the territory’s 11 official languages are recognized and respected.
- Northwest Territories French Federation
- Established in 1978, the Northwest Territories French Federation represents the French-speaking community of the Northwest Territories at the federal and territorial levels. Its goal is to promote, encourage and advocate for the cultural, political, economic, social and community life of native and immigrant Franco-Ténois. In cooperation with its nine member organizations, the Federation provides political representation and support to French-speaking communities in the Northwest Territories to foster their development and enhance their vitality.
- Yukon French Language Services Directorate
- Yukon’s French Language Services Directorate was established in 2006, replacing the Bureau of French Language Services, which was created in 1988. It supports the territorial government’s departments and agencies in meeting their responsibilities under Yukon’s Languages Act and its French Language Policy. The French Language Services Directorate does not provide services directly to the public, but works to ensure that services are available to the public in both official languages.
- Yukon Ombudsman
- The Yukon Ombudsman is an independent, impartial agent who investigates complaints from the public about unfair treatment by territorial government institutions such as Yukon government departments, Crown corporations, public schools, hospitals and professional associations. The Ombudsman works to promote fairness and help improve government services.
- Association franco-yukonnaise
- Established in 1982, the Association franco-yukonnaise represents Yukon’s French-speaking community and ensures that governments fulfill their obligations towards that community. With 135 members, the Association seeks to improve the quality of life in French for Yukon Francophones and to create a strong, vibrant, diverse and inclusive community supported by local, provincial and national partners.
- CliquezJustice.ca (in French only)
- The CliquezJustice.ca portal provides simplified legal information in French to help Canadians understand their rights and responsibilities so that they feel more comfortable dealing with everyday legal situations. The portal is intended for all French-speaking Canadians and provides a variety of resources that cover all areas of law, including family, labour and career.