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Government of Canada proposes amendments to Official Languages Regulations

Government of Canada proposes amendments to Official Languages Regulations

OTTAWA – Canada’s 2 official languages are at the heart of our Canadian identity.

Today, the Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government, alongside Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, put forward amendments to the Official Languages Regulations that will ensure federal services are delivered to Canadians in the official language of their choice. These regulations had not been comprehensively reviewed since they were created in 1991.

In response to feedback from Canadians, the new regulations will ensure the best possible bilingual service coverage for Canadians and their families. This means that we will adopt a new, more inclusive calculation method, provide more key services in both official languages, and incorporate a qualitative measure that ensures bilingual services based on the vitality of the minority language community.

These amendments address a number of key areas identified during extensive consultations with stakeholders across the country, including official language minority communities and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

The Government of Canada is committed to promoting and protecting official languages within Canada’s public service and across the country, and these regulations are an important next step.

“Canadians have been clear: the Official Languages Regulations must support the vitality of our minority language communities. The changes proposed will ensure that communities are consulted so that bilingual services are offered where they are needed.”

– The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board and Minister of Digital Government

“Our government is firmly committed to protecting and promoting our two official languages, and to ensuring the vitality of our official-language minority communities. This means delivering quality federal services to Canadians in the official language of their choice. After an in-depth revision of the Regulations, we are confident that the proposed changes will support and strengthen the dynamism of our communities all across the country.”

– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official languages and La Francophonie

Quick Facts

  • The regulatory amendments may result in more than 600 newly designated bilingual offices, increasing the percentage of bilingual federal points of service from 34% to almost 40%.
  • In accordance with the Official Languages Act, the proposed amendments will be published in the Canada Gazette Part I to give interested groups, individuals and all Canadians another chance to review and comment on proposed regulations before they are enacted.
  • The changes will provide more than 100,000 Canadians living outside of major urban centres with access to a Service Canada office in the official language of their choice for the first time
  • There will be protection for the bilingual designation of certain offices that depend on the proportion of the local official language minority population (5% threshold) to remain bilingual.

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