Commissioner Théberge issues Special Report to Parliament on Regulations that define services to the public in Canada's two official languages
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gatineau, Quebec, May 10, 2018 – In a special report tabled in Parliament today, Commissioner Théberge called on parliamentarians to ensure that the government’s review of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations reflects current realities.
“We are at a critical juncture. Now that the government is renewing the Regulations, it has the opportunity to significantly improve services in both official languages now and in the future,” said the Commissioner. The government committed to the review in 2016 following pressures from official language minority communities, parliamentarians and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
“New Regulations will affect communities for years, so it’s important to get it right. The Regulations should ensure that federal institutions consider the needs of official language minority communities when developing and delivering services,” the Commissioner declared, adding that the Regulations have not kept pace with Canadian society since they were introduced in 1991 and now underserve the very communities they are intended to support. New Regulations are expected to be tabled in Parliament this fall.
Commissioner Théberge reiterated his commitment to monitor policies and legislation and to intervene proactively to report any impact on official language minority communities to Parliament. Beyond the issue of outdated Regulations, the Commissioner spoke more broadly about the need to update the Official Languages Act. “Increased immigration, technological advances, demographic shifts and migration to urban centres have all had an impact on official language minority communities,” he said. “I will be presenting my recommendations for the modernization of the Official Languages Act this fall.”