The Act Amending the Civil Service Act officially recognizes the principle of bilingualism in the federal public service hiring process for the first time in Canada’s history.
The new Act, tabled by Quebec MP Wilfrid Lacroix, amended the Civil Service Act to specify that federal public servants who deal with the public must be proficient in the official language of the local majority. It was intended primarily to prevent unilingual English-speaking federal public servants from being hired or transferred to work in Quebec, a recurring problem at the time.
However, the new criteria were not always respected, and Francophones continued to be under-represented in the federal public service. Nevertheless, it was an important symbolic milestone on the road to federal bilingualism.