ARCHIVED - Ottawa, September 11, 2009

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Recent decisions on language rights summarized in a single publication by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

The Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, will release a publication this evening that summarizes the most important decisions on language rights in recent years, as part of a round table on the subject organized by the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law for the 40th anniversary of the Official Languages Act.

“Legislation has been passed to protect the language rights of citizens in minority language settings, but the courts are regularly called upon to specify the scope of these rights,” explained the Commissioner. “These decisions are part of the ongoing dialogue between citizens, legislatures and the courts.”

A total of 21 cases are discussed. The decisions presented illustrate the wide range of issues that the courts are called upon to hear, namely the following:

  • Must services available to a linguistic minority and those available to the majority be of equal quality? (DesRochers v. Canada (Industry))
  • What are the language obligations of the RCMP when acting as a provincial police force in New Brunswick? (Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes du Nouveau‑Brunswick Inc. v. Canada)
  • Who has the right to attend minority-language schools in Quebec? Or in the Northwest Territories? (Nguyen (H.N. v. Québec (Ministre de l’Éducation)), (Bindra (T.B. v. Québec (Ministre de l’Éducation)) and (Commission Scolaire Francophone, Territoires du Nord-Ouest et al v. Attorney General of the Northwest Territories)
  • What are the language obligations of the Government of the Northwest Territories and the federal government towards the Francophone population of the Northwest Territories? (Northwest Territories (Attorney General) v. Fédération Franco-Ténoise)


Language Rights 2007–2009 is available on the Office of the Commissioner’s Web site.

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