ARCHIVED - 40th anniversary

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Graham Fraser

In 2009–2010, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act and of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

Since 1969, much has happened to ensure the equality of English and French in federal institutions and in Canadian society. Our timeline of official languages in Canada shows the boldness and ambition of this vision of linguistic duality. 

As Commissioner of Official Languages, like my predecessors, my mandate is to promote linguistic duality. My office worked with federal institutions, groups and individuals to ensure this important value takes centre stage in events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Act across the country. A wonderful example of such collaboration is our exhibition entitled Déjà Vu: 40 Years of Language and Laughter in Political Cartoons.

I invite you to join us as we celebrate this important milestone. Today, linguistic duality is seen as an inherent part of our national identity. Thanks to the commitment and determination of the many people who believe in the importance of our official languages, we can look to the future with confidence.

Graham Fraser 

Activities and Events


Déjà Vu: 40 Years of Language and Laughter in Political Cartoons

Bilingualism at Air Canada, Guy Badeaux (alias Bado), 2000, Le Droit (Ottawa)

Presented in cooperation with Library and Archives Canada, this exhibition of cartoons portrays with humour and mordant irony key events and passionate political debates that have shaped our relationship with official languages since the adoption of the Official Languages Act.

The exhibition was displayed at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa from September 2009 to March 2010 and is currently on display in the Student Lounge of the University of Ottawa’s University Centre until March 2011. A smaller version of the exhibition is still travelling across the country until November 2010.



Our History, Our Path

The path of our official languages has known achievements of all kinds. We invite you to look back on the path we have travelled since 1969 in a timeline that traces the milestones of this exciting history.


In the Commissioners’ Own Words…

In brief excerpts from interviews, some of the commissioners of official languages over the past 40 years talk about their respective mandates, the challenges they have overcome and their successes. They recall the issues that have marked Canadian society and explain how our perspective of official languages has changed.

Posters 40th Anniversary of the Official Languages Act mini-poster

Celebrate 40 Years of Conversation

Make the most of the 40th anniversary celebrations by showing your pride in Canada’s linguistic duality! Order a large poster for your wall or a mini-poster for your bulletin board or office.

2008–2009 Annual Report 

On May 26, 2009, the Commissioner of Official Languages released his 2008–2009 annual report, in which one chapter is devoted to the 40 years of the Official Languages Act.


40 Years of Official Languages in Canada: Our History and the Path Ahead

On September 9 and 10, 2009, a symposium on official languages was held in Ottawa. This event was organized jointly by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Association for Canadian StudiesExternal site, Canadian HeritageGovernment site and the Council of the Network of Official Languages ChampionsGovernment site.