Commissioner Fraser calls on Parliament to improve Air Canada’s compliance in official languages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gatineau, June 7, 2016—In a rare gesture—only the second time since the Official Languages Act was adopted in 1969—Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser tabled a special report to Parliament today. In Air Canada: On the road to increased compliance through an effective enforcement regime, the Commissioner asks parliamentarians to act as quickly as possible in order to modernize the official languages enforcement scheme for Air Canada. The report gives an account of Air Canada’s record of compliance with the Official Languages Act and offers possible solutions.
My predecessors and I have used all of the tools at our disposal in order to help Air Canada improve its compliance to the Act. However, after 45 years, the same issues continue to repeat themselves,” said Commissioner Fraser. “
Air Canada was built with public funds, and as our national airline, its activities should reflect Canada’s bilingual nature. Today, it is no longer enough to make recommendations following investigations or audits, nor is it enough to report on Air Canada’s compliance in annual reports to Parliament.”
Of all the institutions subject to the Official Languages Act, Air Canada has always been among those that generate the largest number of complaints.
This special report, which includes an overview of Commissioner Fraser’s interventions with Air Canada as well as the findings of his five predecessors, proposes various options to Parliament in order to modernize the enforcement scheme for Air Canada under the Air Canada Public Participation Act. The Commissioner notes in the report that, since 1988, Air Canada is the only institution subject to the Official Languages Act that has been taken to court by all of the commissioners of official languages.
“This special report to Parliament is the last tool I have at my disposal,” said Commissioner Fraser. “
It is now up to Parliament to define what is needed to compel Air Canada to meet its official languages obligations; the status quo is simply not working.”