Commissioner of Official Languages calls for immediate change in federal institutions

For Immediate Release

News releases | Gatineau, Quebec -

The federal government must show leadership and commitment in order to fulfill its responsibilities under the Official Languages Act, said Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge, who tabled his 2017–2018 annual report today.

According to the Commissioner, “federal institutions do not have the tools to properly assess themselves, particularly in relation to communications with and services to the public. This has a direct negative impact on Canadians and official language minority communities.”

Mr. Théberge also reported that a series of observations of 10 federal institutions in 2017–2018 showed that in-person and telephone services are still an issue for some institutions.

“Again in 2017–2018, more than half of admissible complaints are about the delivery of services to the public,” stated the Commissioner. “Change is needed, and it has to begin at the very heart of federal institutions.”

He added that “clearly, the current tools and methods used to measure federal institutions’ performance in terms of official languages do not give an accurate picture of the situation, nor do they help institutions measure their actual progress.”

Commissioner Théberge talked about the Clerk of the Privy Council’s September 2017 report on language of work in the federal public service and recommends that the Clerk establish an appropriate mechanism to ensure that, starting in September 2018, federal employees receive annual status updates on the work done by the committee responsible for implementing the recommendations contained in the report.

“Respecting employees’ right to work in the official language of their choice and the public’s right to receive services in the official language of their choice needs to be a government priority,” concluded the Commissioner. “This benefits all Canadians all across the country, whether they work for or receive services from the federal government.”

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