Commissioner of Official Languages urges the federal government and CBC to keep in mind its duties with regard to official language communities

Gatineau, July 17, 2014 – Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser today reminded the federal government and CBC/Radio-Canada that they both have responsibilities to official language communities as the public broadcaster’s operations evolve.

“CBC/Radio-Canada is faced with challenging circumstances and is attempting to put together a strategic plan that will enable it to fulfil its mandate to the best of its ability,” said Commissioner Fraser. “But in implementing the plan over the next few years, the public broadcaster will have to be very aware of the duties incumbent upon it under the Official Languages Act pertaining to English-speaking communities in Quebec and French-speaking communities in other parts of Canada, as well as the promotion of linguistic duality.”

The Commissioner also noted that the Broadcasting Act imposes wider responsibilities on CBC/Radio-Canada, requiring, for example, that it provide a range of broadcasting services in English and French to Canadians.

“With budget cuts affecting CBC/Radio-Canada’s ability to serve Canadians, what steps are the government planning to take in order to ensure that the public broadcaster can fulfil its duties regarding official language communities? With the exception of Montréal and a few communities in Ontario, private broadcasters cannot serve official language communities properly under their current business plans,” noted Mr. Fraser. “Consequently, CBC/Radio‑Canada has an essential role to play in ensuring their vitality. We need to know how these communities will be able to access media that speak to them and to Canadians as a whole.”

Further to its investigation into the 2009 budget cuts at radio station CBEF Windsor, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is turning to the courts in an effort to clarify the scope of CBC/Radio-Canada’s obligations as set out in Part VII of the Official Languages Act, which states that federal institutions must support the development of official language communities across the country.

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For more information or to schedule an interview with the Commissioner, please contact:

Nelson Kalil

Manager, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone: 819-420-4714
Cellular: 613-324-0999
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368
Follow us: @OCOLCanada

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