January 15, 1959

Simultaneous interpretation is introduced in the House of Commons

Starting on January 15, 1959, all speeches, questions and debates by all Parliamentarians, regardless of their political affiliation, are translated simultaneously.

In the House of Commons, unilingual members could now speak freely in their own language, safe in the knowledge that they would be understood by everyone, including visitors and journalists in the galleries. This new service was considered a constitutional necessity that would give tangible rather than merely symbolic support to bilingualism in Parliament, the cornerstone of Canadian institutions.

Interpreters Maurice Roy and Valérie Sylt. Source: The Star Weekly, March 14, 1959. Centre de recherche en civilisation canadienne-française, Ph 129-100.