ARCHIVED - RECOMMENDATIONS

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For the reasons explained in this study, the Commissioner of Official Languages makes the following recommendations:

  1. THAT the Department of Justice put in place an effective procedure for determining, at the start of proceedings, the official language of the file; that is, the preferred official language of the accused in criminal cases and that of the civil party before a federal court in civil cases (for example, by using a form). The purpose of this would be to enable the Department to appoint a Crown agent who can proceed with the file in that language.

  2. THAT the Department of Justice amend the existing Instructions in order to fully inform Crown agents of the specific rights and obligations relating to official languages in connection with legal proceedings; that is, the rights and obligations set out in Part XVII of the Criminal Code and in Parts III and IV of the Official Languages Act.When this amendment is made, the Department should emphasize to all Crown agents the importance of respecting the language obligations of Part III of the OLA and Part XVII of the Criminal Code and the language obligations arising thereby with regard to service to the public, as set out in Part IV of the OLA, as well as the need for Crown agents to respect all these federal language obligations when they are applicable, regardless of provincial law.

  3. THAT the Department of Justice, more specifically, amend the wording of its Instructions to ensure that, in the case of file transfers in civil matters, Crown agents are clearly informed of their obligation to advise the Department when they cannot proceed with the file for linguistic reasons.

  4. THAT the Department of Justice put in place an effective procedure to enable Crown agents to communicate with the Department of Justice in their preferred official language and obtain pertinent documentation in that language, specifically, documentation concerning the Conditions of Appointment of Crown agents.

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