Language obligations

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When the Government of Canada grants funding to a non-governmental organization for an event where the two official language communities are brought together, it must comply with Parts IV and VII of the Official Languages Act by ensuring that agreements governing its funding clearly describe the language obligations of the recipient organization. These obligations cover areas such as communications with and services to the public and the promotion of linguistic duality.

Under the terms of Part IV of the Act, members of the public have the right to obtain services from the federal government in the official language of their choice. These services must be of equal quality in both official languages, in terms of access to the service as well as content, regardless of whether the person chooses to use English or French.

To ensure that members of the public feel comfortable using the official language of their choice, there must be an active offer of services in both languages, either verbally (“Hello, bonjour,” for example) or visually (through pictograms or bilingual posters).

Part VII of the Act sets out federal institutions’ obligation to enhance the vitality and support the development of official language minority communities and to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. In the context of major national and international sporting events, this responsibility implies that cultural and artistic performances will fully reflect the country’s linguistic duality by showcasing Canada’s two official languages as well as both official language communities, English- and French-speaking.

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