Statement by the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada regarding his brief on Bill C-13
For immediate release
Gatineau, Quebec, June 20, 2022
Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge made the following statement today on his appearance before the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages:
“In March of this year, the Government introduced the highly anticipated Bill C-13 to modernize the Official Languages Act. The bill is testament to the Government’s commendable efforts to listen to the needs of Canadians and its desire to advance both linguistic duality and the vitality of our official language minority communities.
“I conducted an in-depth analysis of the measures proposed in Bill C-13 with a specific objective in mind: to assure myself that this would lead to legislation that would advance the development of our official languages and truly uphold the language rights of Canadians.
“I am therefore very proud to submit my brief, Seizing a Historic Opportunity: For a Complete Modernization of the OLA, to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages. The brief presents the results of my analysis and contains a number of specific recommendations intended to clarify and strengthen certain measures and to add other measures that I believe are essential to making the Act as effective as possible.
“My recommendations focus primarily on:
- clear official languages governance that promotes accountability;
- federal institutions that value official languages with respect to their employees and their interactions with the public;
- support for official language minority communities and advancement of official languages to preserve gains and clarify institutions’ obligations;
- new powers for the Commissioner of Official Languages that are strong and effective; and
- a consistent language policy for federally regulated private businesses.
“As parliamentarians now study the bill, we find ourselves one step closer to the finish line. However, there are still a number of stages to go before Bill C‑13 is passed. The ball is now in their court, and I am calling on all parliamentarians to seize this historic opportunity to make this bill a success for Canada’s official languages.
My vision for the future of official languages is based on a revitalized, consistent and purposefully modern Act that truly protects the language rights of all Canadians and promotes the development and vitality of official language minority communities.”
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