Partners’ roles

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Many partners work together in organizing national and international sporting events. To do this successfully, they must clarify official languages responsibilities and expectations as soon as possible, according to the operational realities of each partner.

Organizing committee

The organizing committee is responsible for planning, organizing, funding and staging the event, while ensuring that all of its services are provided to the public in both official languages, in compliance with an agreement signed with the Government of Canada. It is important for the committee to raise awareness of respect for official languages among its staff and partners.

Government of Canada

The Department of Canadian Heritage coordinates the Government of Canada’s financial and logistical commitment for many national and international sporting events. In that role, the Department must provide the organizing committee with assistance and guidance, and ensure that the committee fully understands and complies with the language requirements associated with organizing and staging the event.

Federal institutions

Large-scale sporting events generate an increased demand for services in both official languages in a given region and in locations that serve the travelling public. To meet the heightened demand, federal institutions (especially those providing traveller, health and safety services) must define measures as early as possible to ensure the delivery of services in both languages. They should leverage the event to continue supporting the development of official language communities and promoting the use of both official languages in Canadian society.

Provinces and municipalities

Provinces and municipalities play a key role in organizing and hosting major sporting events. Even when they have no language obligations, they still need to be made aware of the importance of taking both official languages into consideration, and they need to be encouraged to provide bilingual service. Provinces and municipalities can help create a bilingual environment during the event by ensuring that their signage and documentation are in both official languages.

The Government of Canada has a part to play in raising awareness among the other levels of government of the importance of promoting both official languages.

Official language minority communities

The organizing committee must consider the needs of the official language minority community when developing its programs and services. Organizations representing this community can in turn provide invaluable assistance in preparing for and hosting the event, especially in the area of volunteer recruitment. They can also offer guidance on and help promote the cultural and educational programs organized in conjunction with the sporting event.


Numerous sponsors participate in major sporting events in various ways. When the organizing committee signs an agreement with a sponsor, it should require that the sponsor respect linguistic duality in its promotional activities. Sponsors should also be made aware of the fact that promoting both official languages is an excellent business opportunity.

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

The role of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is to ensure that the language rights of all Canadians are respected and to investigate alleged contraventions of the Official Languages Act. It also promotes linguistic duality in Canadian society and intervenes proactively with federal institutions to support them in complying with their language obligations.

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