Statement from the Commissioner of Official Languages regarding the preliminary investigation report on Canadian Heritage's investment agreement with Netflix Inc.

Gatineau, Quebec, October 3, 2018 – Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge issued the following statement today:

“I must limit my comments, as the investigation in question is not final—it is a preliminary investigation report.

The preliminary investigation report was sent to the parties on October 3, 2018. The parties have 30 business days to provide their comments.

However, it is important to understand that the Federal Court’s recent decision in the FFCB case (Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique v Canada (Employment and Social Development)) has had a significant impact on the interpretation of Part VII of the Official Languages Act. This, in turn, has had an impact on my activities, such as our investigation into Canadian Heritage’s investment agreement with Netflix.

This is why I appealed the Federal Court’s decision on June 21, 2018. While the appeal is under way, however, our interpretation of the obligations set out in Part VII of the Act must be in line with the Court’s decision in the FFCB case.

Therefore, for this investigation, my preliminary conclusion is that the complaints against Canadian Heritage are unfounded.

Even though clear and convincing evidence of a negative impact was not submitted to my office during the investigation, it does not rule out the possibility that there will be future negative or adverse effects on official language minority communities or on the status of English and French in Canadian society. But given the Federal Court’s interpretation of Part VII of the Act, I cannot draw conclusions on potential negative impact without concrete evidence.”

Date modified: