2005

The Federal Court rules in favour of the use of both official languages by RCMP officers on the Trans-Canada Highway in Amherst, Nova Scotia

The Federal Court ruled that having French-speaking motorists use a police radio to communicate with a bilingual RCMP officer does not meet the language rights requirements stated in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In a case challenging the constitutionality of the Official Languages (Communication with and Services to the Public) Regulations, the Court found that there was a void in the Regulations that had the effect of infringing on the language rights of the public travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway within the zone served by the Amherst detachment of the RCMP. Under the Regulations, the calculation of “significant demand” for service in French is based on the demographics of the Amherst area. However, this fails to take into account the volume of out-of-province travellers using the highway. The Court declared that subsection 5(1)(h)(i) of the Regulations was unconstitutional because of its failure to take the travelling public into account in the determination of significant demand under the Official Languages Act.