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The discussion forum on the perspectives of Canadians of various backgrounds on linguistic duality helped the Office of the Commissioner compile information on the concerns, challenges and issues faced by ethnocultural communities in Ontario.

The relevant presentations at the start of the forum set the tone for the quality of the discussions that took place throughout the day. Participants were generous and open in sharing the information they had.

Plenary sessions provided an opportunity for participants to report on their discussions, which focused in the morning on identifying the values and challenges that Canadian society faces today. The afternoon workshop was an opportunity to debate the day-to-day issues raised by linguistic duality. At the end of both workshops, participants identified a series of mechanisms and recommended corrective action and measures to promote linguistic duality, which were addressed to the government, their own communities and organizations and the Office of the Commissioner to improve the interaction between cultural diversity and linguistic duality.

Forum participants were committed stakeholders and were invited because of their involvement in ethnocultural communities. Based on their personal experiences and their relevant professional experience, they provided the Office of the Commissioner with information that will be useful in developing a future strategy on linguistic duality and cultural diversity in order to influence government action in this area. The Office of the Commissioner will report on the work of the forum in its 2007–2008 annual report.

OCOL intends to continue reflecting on this important national issue, and to conduct similar consultations next year in another multicultural city in Canada.

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