Statement from the Commissioner of Official Languages on the Government of Quebec’s position on the modernization of the Official Languages Act
For immediate release
Gatineau, Quebec, February 5, 2021
Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge made the following statement today:
“Today, I learned of the Quebec government’s position on the modernization of the Official Languages Act. I am pleased to see that the two levels of government are working together amicably to modernize the Act.
I believe that the situation of the French language in Canada is truly unique. Protecting the language and culture of more than 8 million French-speaking Canadians in a sea of more than 300 million English-speaking North Americans is a major challenge. However, it is fundamental to Canada’s linguistic duality and cultural identity.
The Official Languages Act protects the right of all Canadians to receive services in the official language of their choice, and these rights are guaranteed for both English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians.
Moreover, in order to achieve true equality of English and French, the modernization of the Act is now essential. I truly understand the concerns of Quebec’s English-speaking minority community, which is why I believe it is crucial that, as part of the reflections on the modernization of the Act, legislators put forward solutions that will make it possible to ensure the preservation of the language rights of both the English-speaking community in Quebec and French-speaking communities outside Quebec. Above all, it is imperative to find a legislative solution that is in line with the constitutional foundations on which our country is built.
I look forward to the tabling of the White Paper on official languages, which will define the government’s broad intentions with respect to official languages. I also expect the government to introduce a bill to modernize the Act as soon as possible. Despite the upheavals we have experienced in recent months, I am convinced that this is still possible.”