Archived - Commissioner of Official Languages takes legal recourse against CBC/Radio-Canada

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Ottawa, August 10, 2010 — Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser took legal recourse in Federal Court today against CBC/Radio-Canada, following his investigation into June 2009 budget cuts at the CBEF station in Windsor.

“It is imperative that we clarify the public broadcaster’s obligations under the Official Languages Act,” said Fraser. “The principles set forth by the Court regarding the interpretation and application of the Act as concerns CBC/Radio-Canada will have an impact not just on the French-speaking communities of southwestern Ontario, but on all official language minority communities across Canada. This is an important step so that we may move forward on this issue.”

The Commissioner asked the Federal Court to confirm that he has the authority to investigate complaints filed against CBC/Radio-Canada related to Part VII of the Official Languages Act. He also asked the Court to confirm that CBC/Radio-Canada is obligated to consider the impact of its decisions on the development and vitality of any affected official language minority community. Part VII of the Official Languages Act requires that all federal institutions take active measures to support the development and vitality of official language minority communities.

The court action comes after an investigation by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in response to 876 public complaints relating to CBC/Radio-Canada’s decision to cancel all programs produced and broadcast by the CBEF station in Windsor. In his investigation, the Commissioner concluded that CBC/Radio-Canada had not fulfilled its obligations under Part VII of the Official Languages Act because it failed to consult the French-speaking community in southwestern Ontario beforehand; it did not consider the adverse impact of its decision on the community; and it did nothing to try to mitigate the negative impact of its decision. CBC/Radio- Canada did not participate in the investigation.

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For more information, please contact:

Robin Cantin
Director, Strategic Communications and Production
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone: 613-995-0374
Cellular: 613-324-0999
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368

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