Language requirements for federal public service positions: Commissioner to follow up on recommendations made in his 2020 report

For immediate release

Gatineau, Quebec, January 10, 2023 – Today, the Commissioner of Official Languages, Raymond Théberge, announced that a follow‑up to the recommendations made in his report “Implementing Section 91 of the Official Languages Act: A Systemic Problem” will be conducted in the coming months.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages receives many complaints about section 91 of the Official Languages Act, which is intended to ensure that the language requirements of federal public service positions are established in an objective manner.

The lack of real change to address this systemic problem and the importance of having a federal public service that has the necessary skills to ensure respect for and the promotion of both official languages across the country led the Commissioner to issue a report in November 2020 containing an in‑depth analysis of the situation.

Unfortunately, the implementation of section 91 of the Act continues to be a widespread problem in the federal public service, which is reflected in a number of recurring incidents that involve many federal institutions and that affect the delivery of services to the public and the respect for the language‑of‑work rights of public service employees.

Year after year, the Commissioner notes the low rate of implementation of the recommendations made in his various investigation reports. Although investigations are a crucial part of the process aimed at ensuring that federal institutions meet their language obligations, they alone cannot resolve the systemic problem surrounding the language designation of positions.

A follow‑up to the recommendations made in the November 2020 report, which were to be implemented by November 2022, will therefore be conducted in the coming months. The recommendations were addressed to the Treasury Board of Canada and the deputy heads of the federal institutions responsible for implementing the Act.

Establishing the language requirements of positions correctly ensures that services are provided in both official languages, that employees are properly supervised and served, and that a work environment conducive to the use of English and French is created.

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It is imperative that federal institutions recognize their role and responsibilities and take concrete measures to ensure that the language requirements of positions are established objectively at all times. Without measures to address the root causes of non‑compliance with section 91 of the Act, this systemic problem will continue.

Raymond Théberge, Commissioner of Official Languages

Highlights

  • Between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, the Commissioner of Official Languages received a total of 968 admissible complaints regarding section 91 of the Official Languages Act.
  • Between April 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, the Commissioner of Official Languages received a total of 204 admissible complaints regarding section 91 of the Official Languages Act.
  • Between April 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, the Commissioner of Official Languages received a total of 640 admissible complaints regarding section 91 of the Official Languages Act.

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For more information, please contact:

Media Relations
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone:
819-420-4879
Toll-free:
1-877-996-6368
E-mail:
media@clo-ocol.gc.ca

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Date modified:
2023-01-10