ARCHIVED - Ottawa, May 9, 2006

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Commissioner of Official Languages Tables her Final Annual Report: The Government Must Take On the New Challenge

The Commissioner of Official Languages, Dr. Dyane Adam, tabled her final annual report today, urging the Harper government to act immediately to implement the amendments to the Official Languages Act adopted by Parliament in November 2005.

“This past year was a turning point in the progression towards true linguistic equality,” said Dr. Adam. “Now, within the framework of a clear, firmer Act, the Government of Canada and its institutions must give concrete expression to the will of Parliament. The government’s strong commitment to greater accountability in the federal administration must cross over to official languages as well.”

The annual report, entitled Official Languages in Canada: Taking on the New Challenge, describes ways to firmly commit the government to action on the path to renewal and reinforcement. “To succeed in responding to this challenge, the government must show strong, shared leadership. History teaches us that major progress in official languages took place at times of strong political leadership at the federal level. Conversely, progress is eroded when the federal government is less vigilant and less committed to promoting duality and giving support to linguistic minorities,” Dr. Adam said. The Commissioner now expects the government to clearly lay out its vision to deliver concrete results and support the vitality of communities.

Under the reinforced Act, each institution must now take positive measures to support the vitality of official language communities and to promote linguistic duality within Canadian society. “Sustained cooperation with all interested stakeholders, including other levels of government, is key to the integration of linguistic duality, both in federal institutions and in society at large. We need permanent partnerships, not sporadic, half-hearted exchanges,” said Dr. Adam.

The report also stresses the need for federal institutions to embody linguistic duality more fully, both when it comes to service to the public and to language of work. In this regard, the Commissioner believes the time has come to review and improve the regulatory framework guiding the action of federal institutions. Dr. Adam adds: “Coherent and effective regulations adapted to today’s realities are essential in order to produce concrete results.”

In some ways, the report is a road map setting out a vision of official languages to meet the demands of the twenty-first century. “Enhancing the vitality of official language communities and engaging the Canadian public fully in linguistic duality will benefit all regions of the country,” concluded Dr. Adam.

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For more information, or to book an interview with the Commissioner, please contact:

Robin Cantin
Manager, Media Relations          
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone: 613-995-0374
Cellular: 613-324-0999
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368