Policy on the Use of Social Media
1 Our accounts
The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) has the following accounts:
OCOL’s social media accounts are used to publish a variety of content, including:
- links to press releases, speeches, research reports and other OCOL documents;
- messages from the Commissioner;
- announcements of important meetings between the Commissioner and ministers or prominent politicians;
- links to relevant information, produced and published by other people or organizations (e.g., associations whose mandates involve official languages, federal institutions, other agents of Parliament, researchers, media); and
- interesting or inspiring facts, quotes, videos or photos related to official languages.
3 Links to other websites and content from external sources
OCOL’s posts sometimes contain links to websites that are not managed by OCOL. It also uses redirection and sharing functions.
OCOL is not responsible for the accuracy, timeliness or reliability of the information accessed through these links and contained in the content from external sources. OCOL offers no guarantee in this regard, nor does it endorse these sites and their content.
OCOL will not be held liable for the content of these external sites.
4 OCOL favourites, follows and subscriptions
OCOL’s favourite pages on its social media accounts include accounts belonging to individuals, non-profit organizations, associations and government agencies.
OCOL’s decision to follow, create a list of favourites or subscribe to another social media account does not mean that it approves the account, the channel of communication, the page or the website.
5 Comment etiquette
OCOL does not tolerate offensive, disrespectful or abusive comments toward an individual or organization. The content of a comment may be debated or questioned, but attacks on an author or any other commenter are not permitted. OCOL therefore reserves the right to delete any comment that contains:
- hateful language;
- racist, sexist or homophobic messages;
- messages that are derogatory or that contain death threats;
- sexually explicit content;
- defamatory statements or serious, unproven or inaccurate accusations against individuals or organizations;
- threats or harassment;
- the promotion of illegal activity; or
- all content that goes against the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
OCOL has no control over the behaviour of individuals accessing public sites and is not responsible for the personal information individuals post that may be used by third parties.
OCOL reserves the right to delete the following types of comments:
- Violations of copyright rules (including “copying and pasting” content without crediting the source and author)
- The dissemination of personal information (e.g., the publication of telephone numbers or email addresses)
- Commercial promotional content
- Comments that are misleading, contain false information, are highly questionable or cannot otherwise be verified
OCOL also reserves the right to block users from its page if they continue to violate comment etiquette.
OCOL updates and follow its accounts during regular business hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, Eastern Time. Certain messages are occasionally posted outside these business hours.
OCOL reads all comments and messages during these work hours. All suggestions and ideas are considered and forwarded to the relevant people within OCOL. However, OCOL cannot respond to all messages and comments received on its social media accounts.
When a question or comment is considered to require a general public response, a response intended for all users will sometimes be provided and then posted on our other channels (e.g., on our website or on other social media).
Private messages from individuals will be answered with a private message.
OCOL does not provide any comments on ongoing investigations.
7 Filing a complaint with OCOL
Comments posted on our social media accounts are not considered to be complaints.
In addition, complaints cannot be received through private messaging.
If an individual believes that their language rights have been infringed, a formal complaint can be made to OCOL using the online complaint form. A complaint may also be filed by telephone (1-877-996-6368) or by mail.
8 Official languages
Because of its mandate, OCOL’s first priority is ensuring compliance with the Official Languages Act. OCOL makes sure that information is provided in English and in French and that it is of equal quality in both languages.
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are available in both of Canada’s official languages. The interface language depends on the preferences selected in the settings of the user’s account. These preferences may be changed at any time by modifying the settings.
OCOL publishes all of its posts in both official languages, and encourages users to take part in the conversation in the official language of their choice. OCOL therefore responds to comments and questions in the official language in which they were posted. When a user question or comment is considered to require a general public response, it will be posted on OCOL’s accounts in both official languages for the benefit of all users. Therefore, the user’s words must occasionally be summarized and translated in order to provide context for the response.
OCOL sometimes refers to information from external sources that are not subject to the Official Languages Act. Links to these sources are provided solely as a service to users and are available only in the official language used by these websites. When a web page is unilingual, OCOL makes every effort to provide a link or equivalent content in the other official language.
Links to unilingual content include the statement “in English only” or “in French only.”
OCOL reaches out to members of both official language minority communities by ensuring that they are appropriately represented in its examples that relate to the promotion of official languages. Specifically, OCOL ensures that examples are chosen that reflect Quebec’s English-speaking communities and not just Francophones outside Quebec. OCOL’s storytelling campaigns, which describe the experiences of second-language teachers and students in academic exchange programs, and its series of posts called “Today’s Good News” are specifically intended to promote current events in official language minority communities.
The Government of Canada is committed to achieving a high standard of accessibility as defined in the Standard on Web Accessibility and the Standard on Optimizing Websites and Applications for Mobile Devices. As much as possible, the posts on OCOL’s social media accounts include links to accessible web content. It is important to note that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, as third-party service providers, are not bound by the Government of Canada’s web accessibility policies.
The information published by OCOL is subject to the Copyright Act.
The information shared with OCOL on social media is subject to the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act, which means that the information people share on OCOL’s social media accounts may be captured, stored, accessed and disclosed in response to a request under either of these acts.
To protect a user’s personal information and that of others, OCOL recommends not including personal information such as telephone numbers or email addresses in comments or messages. Users need to be aware of the fact that they are participating in discussions on social media at their own risk and that they assume full responsibility for their comments, their user name and the information they submit.
The personal information that users provide to the Government of Canada through social media accounts is collected in compliance with the Financial Administration Act. This information is collected in order to capture conversations (e.g., questions and answers, comments, “likes,” and the number of tweets shared). The information may be used to respond to requests, conduct statistical assessments and establish reports. OCOL collects this information through Hootsuite Analytics and through the platforms’ analytical tools themselves.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram are not Government of Canada websites, but rather websites of third-party service providers. Users are encouraged to read the confidentiality policies of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, as they apply to users’ use of OCOL accounts. OCOL’s social media accounts are public and are not housed in Government of Canada servers.
12 OCOL staff on social media
Some OCOL employees have personal accounts on various social media platforms. Despite the employees’ professional affiliation with OCOL, their posts do not represent OCOL’s official position. OCOL assumes no responsibility for the content of the social media accounts used by its employees for their own purposes.
13 Media interview requests
Journalists are asked to send their questions to Media Relations instead of posting their questions on social media.