Statement by the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada on the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in the FFCB case

For Immediate Release

News releases | Gatineau, Quebec -

Commissioner of Official Languages Raymond Théberge made the following statement today following the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision in Fédération des francophones de la Colombie‑Britannique v Canada (Employment and Social Development):

“I am pleased that today the Federal Court of Appeal has granted my appeal, but more importantly that the judges have restored the rule of law by finally giving full force to Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

“With this decision, the Federal Court of Appeal has given to Part VII a scope that reflects the legislators’ intent to enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and support their development.

“Although this is certainly a win for my office, as we will finally be able to fully investigate complaints filed under Part VII of the Act, it is above all a great victory for linguistic minority communities in British Columbia and across the country.

“At the hearing, I presented a simple but effective framework for analyzing whether institutions have met their obligation to take positive measures. I am pleased to see that the Court has used my framework to better guide the courts—and especially federal institutions—in implementing Part VII of the Act.

“Federal institutions will now have to take specific positive measures for every decision or initiative. They will have to take the needs of official language minority communities into account in their decision-making process and take measures to mitigate any negative effects of their programs or initiatives on these communities.

“I am confident that the today’s clarifications, as well as the remedies granted by the Federal Court of Appeal, will have a positive and concrete impact on the vitality of all official language minority communities. I will continue to ensure their development and full vitality.”