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Version of document from 2024-01-01 to 2024-04-01:

Official Languages Act

R.S.C., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.)

An Act respecting the status and use of the official languages of Canada

[1988, c. 38, assented to 28th July, 1988]
Preamble

WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada provides that English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Parliament and government of Canada;

AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada provides for full and equal access to Parliament, to the laws of Canada and to courts established by Parliament in both official languages;

AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada also provides for guarantees relating to the right of any member of the public to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any institution of the Parliament or government of Canada in either official language;

AND WHEREAS employees of institutions of the Parliament or government of Canada should have equal opportunities to use the official language of their choice while working together in pursuing the goals of those institutions;

AND WHEREAS English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians should, without regard to their ethnic origin or first language learned, have equal opportunities to obtain employment in the institutions of the Parliament or government of Canada;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada is committed to achieving, with due regard to the principle of selection of personnel according to merit, full participation of English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians in its institutions;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the vitality and supporting the development of English and French linguistic minority communities — taking into account their uniqueness, diversity and historical and cultural contributions to Canadian society — as an integral part of the two official language communities of Canada, and to fostering full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada is committed to protecting and promoting the French language, recognizing that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada is committed to cooperating with provincial and territorial governments and their institutions to support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities, to provide services in both English and French, to respect the constitutional guarantees of minority language educational rights and to enhance opportunities for all to learn both English and French;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada is committed to enhancing the bilingual character of the National Capital Region and to encouraging the business community, labour organizations and voluntary organizations in Canada to foster the recognition and use of English and French;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for everyone in Canada to learn a second official language and the contribution of everyone in Canada who speaks both official languages to a mutual appreciation between the two official language communities of Canada;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of supporting sectors that are essential to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities and protecting and promoting the presence of strong institutions serving those communities;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation contributes through its activities to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities and to the protection and promotion of both official languages;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of remedying the decline in the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities, including by restoring and increasing their demographic weight;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of francophone immigration in enhancing the vitality of French linguistic minority communities, including by restoring and increasing their demographic weight;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of the French language to trade and economic activity and the contribution of francophone immigration to the economy;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of including a francophone perspective in funding programs;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the presence of English or French linguistic minority communities in each province and territory;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the diversity of the provincial and territorial language regimes that contribute to the advancement of the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society, including that

the Constitution of Canada provides every person with the right to use English or French in the debates of the Houses of the Legislature of Quebec and those of the Legislature of Manitoba and the right to use English or French in any pleading or process in or from the courts of those provinces,

Quebec’s Charter of the French language provides that French is the official language of Quebec,

the Constitution of Canada provides that English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the legislature and government of New Brunswick, and

the Constitution of Canada provides that the English linguistic community and the French linguistic community in New Brunswick have equality of status and equal rights and privileges;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes that each province and territory has adopted laws, policies or programs guaranteeing service in French or recognizing the contribution of the English or French linguistic minority community to Canadian society;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of maintaining and enhancing the use of languages other than English and French and reclaiming, revitalizing and strengthening Indigenous languages while strengthening the status and use of the official languages;

AND WHEREAS all legal obligations related to the official languages apply at all times, including during emergencies;

NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), Preamble
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 2

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Official Languages Act.

Purpose of Act

Marginal note:Purpose

 The purpose of this Act is to

  • (a) ensure respect for English and French as the official languages of Canada and ensure equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all federal institutions, in particular with respect to their use in parliamentary proceedings, in legislative and other instruments, in the administration of justice, in communicating with or providing services to the public and in carrying out the work of federal institutions;

  • (b) support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities in order to protect them while taking into account the fact that they have different needs;

  • (b.1) advance the equality of status and use of the English and French languages within Canadian society, taking into account the fact that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English and that there is a diversity of provincial and territorial language regimes that contribute to the advancement, including Quebec’s Charter of the French language, which provides that French is the official language of Quebec;

  • (b.2) advance the existence of a majority-French society in a Quebec where the future of French is assured; and

  • (c) set out the powers, duties and functions of federal institutions with respect to the official languages of Canada.

Government-wide Coordination

Marginal note:President of the Treasury Board

  •  (1) The President of the Treasury Board is responsible for exercising leadership within the Government of Canada in relation to the implementation of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Coordination

    (2) The President of the Treasury Board shall, in consultation with the other ministers of the Crown, coordinate the implementation of this Act, including the implementation of the commitments set out in subsections 41(1) to (3), and ensure good governance of this Act.

Marginal note:Government-wide strategy on official languages

  •  (1) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall, in consultation with the President of the Treasury Board, develop and maintain a government-wide strategy that sets out the overall official languages priorities.

  • Marginal note:Cooperation

    (1.1) For greater certainty, the Minister of Canadian Heritage shall perform the duty under subsection (1) in cooperation with the other ministers of the Crown.

  • Marginal note:Tabling in Parliament

    (2) That Minister shall cause the strategy to be tabled in each House of Parliament within the first 15 days on which that House is sitting after the strategy has been developed, and periodically after that.

  • Marginal note:Accessible to public

    (3) That Minister shall make the strategy accessible to the public through the Internet or by any other means that that Minister considers appropriate.

Marginal note:Process — implementation of commitment under subsection 41(4)

 The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall establish a process for the Government of Canada to implement its commitment under subsection 41(4).

Interpretation

Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Act,

    business day

    business day means a day other than

    • (a) a Saturday;

    • (b) a Sunday or other holiday; and

    • (c) a day that falls during the seasonal recess, as defined in section 2 of the Federal Courts Rules; (jour ouvrable)

    Commissioner

    Commissioner means the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada appointed under section 49; (commissaire)

    communication

    communication means any form of communication, including oral, written, electronic, virtual or other communications; (communication)

    Crown corporation

    Crown corporation means

    • (a) a corporation that is ultimately accountable, through a Minister, to Parliament for the conduct of its affairs, and

    • (b) a parent Crown corporation or a wholly-owned subsidiary, within the meaning of section 83 of the Financial Administration Act; (sociétés d’État)

    department

    department means a department as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act; (ministère)

    federal institution

    federal institution includes any of the following institutions of the Parliament or government of Canada:

    • (a) the Senate,

    • (b) the House of Commons,

    • (c) the Library of Parliament,

    • (c.1) the office of the Senate Ethics Officer and the office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner,

    • (c.2) the Parliamentary Protective Service,

    • (c.3) the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer,

    • (d) any federal court,

    • (e) any board, commission or council, or other body or office, established to perform a governmental function by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament or by or under the authority of the Governor in Council,

    • (f) a department of the Government of Canada,

    • (g) a Crown corporation established by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament, and

    • (h) any other body that is specified by an Act of Parliament to be an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada or to be subject to the direction of the Governor in Council or a minister of the Crown,

    but does not include

    • (i) any institution of the Legislative Assembly or government of Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut, or

    • (j) any Indian band, band council or other body established to perform a governmental function in relation to an Indian band or other group of aboriginal people; (institutions fédérales)

    National Capital Region

    National Capital Region means the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act; (région de la capitale nationale)

    publication

    publication means any form of publication, regardless of the medium, including printed, electronic, virtual or other publications; (publication)

    restoration

    restoration means, in relation to the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities, a return of the demographic weight of all members of those communities whose first official language spoken is French to the level it had at the time of the census of population of Canada taken by Statistics Canada in 1971, namely, 6.1% of the population outside Quebec; (rétablissement)

    service

    service means any form of service provided or made available, including oral, written, electronic, virtual or other services. (service)

  • Marginal note:Definition of federal court

    (2) In this section and in Parts II and III, federal court means any court, tribunal or other body that carries out adjudicative functions and is established by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 3
  • 1993, c. 28, s. 78
  • 2002, c. 7, s. 224
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 26
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 20
  • 2014, c. 2, s. 39
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 144
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 179
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 6

Marginal note:Language rights

 For the purposes of this Act,

  • (a) language rights are to be given a large, liberal and purposive interpretation;

  • (b) language rights are to be interpreted in light of their remedial character;

  • (c) the norm for the interpretation of language rights is substantive equality; and

  • (d) language rights are to be interpreted by taking into account that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English and that the English linguistic minority community in Quebec and the French linguistic minority communities in the other provinces and territories have different needs.

PART IProceedings of Parliament

Marginal note:Official languages of Parliament

  •  (1) English and French are the official languages of Parliament, and everyone has the right to use either of those languages in any debates and other proceedings of Parliament.

  • Marginal note:Simultaneous interpretation

    (2) Facilities shall be made available for the simultaneous interpretation of the debates and other proceedings of Parliament from one official language into the other.

  • Marginal note:Official reports

    (3) Everything reported in official reports of debates or other proceedings of Parliament shall be reported in the official language in which it was said and a translation thereof into the other official language shall be included therewith.

PART IILegislative and Other Instruments

Marginal note:Journals and other records

 The journals and other records of Parliament shall be made and kept, and shall be printed and published, in both official languages.

Marginal note:Acts of Parliament

 All Acts of Parliament shall be enacted, printed and published in both official languages.

Marginal note:Legislative instruments

  •  (1) An instrument shall be made in both official languages and, if printed and published, shall be printed and published in both official languages, if it is made in the execution of a legislative power conferred by or under an Act of Parliament and

    • (a) is made by, or with the approval of, the Governor in Council or one or more ministers of the Crown;

    • (b) is required by or under an Act of Parliament to be published in the Canada Gazette; or

    • (c) is of a public and general nature.

  • Marginal note:Instruments under prerogative or other executive power

    (2) All instruments made in the exercise of a prerogative or other executive power that are of a public and general nature shall be made in both official languages and, if printed and published, shall be printed and published in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Exceptions

    (3) Subsection (1) does not, by reason only that the ordinance, by-law, law or other instrument is of a public and general nature, apply to

    • (a) a law made by the Legislature of Yukon, of the Northwest Territories or for Nunavut, or any instrument made under any such law, or

    • (b) a by-law, law or other instrument of an Indian band, band council or other body established to perform a governmental function in relation to an Indian band or other group of aboriginal people.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 7
  • 1993, c. 28, s. 78
  • 2002, c. 7, s. 225
  • 2014, c. 2, s. 40
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 8

Marginal note:Documents in Parliament

 Any document made by or under the authority of a federal institution that is tabled in the Senate or the House of Commons by the Government of Canada shall be tabled in both official languages.

Marginal note:Rules, etc., governing practice and procedure

 All rules, orders and regulations governing the practice or procedure in any proceedings before a federal court shall be made, printed and published in both official languages.

Marginal note:International treaties

  •  (1) The Government of Canada shall take all possible measures to ensure that any treaty or convention between Canada and one or more other states is authenticated in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Federal-provincial-territorial agreements

    (2) The Government of Canada has the duty to ensure that the following classes of agreements between Canada and one or more provinces or territories are made in both official languages and that both versions are equally authoritative:

    • (a) agreements that require the authorization of Parliament or the Governor in Council to be effective;

    • (b) agreements entered into with one or more provinces or territories if English and French are declared to be the official languages of any of those provinces or territories or if any of them requests that the agreement be made in English and French; and

    • (c) agreements entered into with two or more provinces or territories if their governments do not use the same official language.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (3) The Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing the circumstances in which any class, specified in the regulations, of agreements that are made between Canada and one or more other states or between Canada and one or more provinces or territories

    • (a) must be made in both official languages;

    • (b) must be made available in both official languages at the time of signing or publication; or

    • (c) must, on request, be translated.

Marginal note:Notices, advertisements and other published matters

  •  (1) A notice, advertisement or other matter that is required or authorized by or under an Act of Parliament to be published by or under the authority of a federal institution primarily for the information of members of the public shall,

    • (a) wherever possible, appear in publications in general circulation within each region where the matter applies, with the English version appearing in at least one publication that is mainly in English and the French version appearing in at least one publication that is mainly in French or those two versions appearing in at least one publication that appears equally in English and French; and

    • (b) if there is no publication in general circulation within a region where the matter applies that is mainly in English or mainly in French and no publication in general circulation within that region that appears equally in English and French, appear in both official languages in at least one publication in general circulation within that region.

  • Marginal note:Publications in electronic form

    (1.1) For greater certainty, a publication referred to in subsection (1) includes a publication in an electronic form.

  • Marginal note:Equal prominence

    (2) Where a notice, advertisement or other matter is printed in one or more publications pursuant to subsection (1), it shall be given equal prominence in each official language.

Marginal note:Instruments directed to the public

 All instruments directed to or intended for the notice of the public, purporting to be made or issued by or under the authority of a federal institution, shall be made or issued in both official languages.

Marginal note:Both versions simultaneous and equally authoritative

 Any journal, record, Act of Parliament, instrument, document, rule, order, regulation, treaty, convention, agreement, notice, advertisement or other matter referred to in this Part that is made, enacted, printed, published or tabled in both official languages shall be made, enacted, printed, published or tabled simultaneously in both languages, and both language versions are equally authoritative.

PART IIIAdministration of Justice

Marginal note:Official languages of federal courts

  •  (1) English and French are the official languages of the federal courts, and either of those languages may be used by any person in, or in any pleading in or process issuing from, any federal court.

  • Marginal note:Appearing in official language of choice

    (2) The choice of either official language by a person appearing before a federal court shall not be prejudicial to that person.

Marginal note:Hearing of witnesses in official language of choice

  •  (1) Every federal court has, in any proceedings before it, the duty to ensure that any person giving evidence before it may be heard in the official language of his choice, and that in being so heard the person will not be placed at a disadvantage by not being heard in the other official language.

  • Marginal note:Duty to provide simultaneous interpretation

    (2) Every federal court has, in any proceedings conducted before it, the duty to ensure that, at the request of any party to the proceedings, facilities are made available for the simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings, including the evidence given and taken, from one official language into the other.

  • Marginal note:Federal court may provide simultaneous interpretation

    (3) A federal court may, in any proceedings conducted before it, cause facilities to be made available for the simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings, including evidence given and taken, from one official language into the other where it considers the proceedings to be of general public interest or importance or where it otherwise considers it desirable to do so for members of the public in attendance at the proceedings.

Marginal note:Duty to ensure understanding without interpreter

  •  (1) Every federal court has the duty to ensure that

    • (a) if English is the language chosen by the parties for proceedings conducted before it in any particular case, every judge or other officer who hears those proceedings is able to understand English without the assistance of an interpreter;

    • (b) if French is the language chosen by the parties for proceedings conducted before it in any particular case, every judge or other officer who hears those proceedings is able to understand French without the assistance of an interpreter; and

    • (c) if both English and French are the languages chosen by the parties for proceedings conducted before it in any particular case, every judge or other officer who hears those proceedings is able to understand both languages without the assistance of an interpreter.

  • Marginal note:Adjudicative functions

    (2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies to a federal court only in relation to its adjudicative functions.

  • Marginal note:Appointments

    (3) The Government of Canada must, when making appointments to the federal courts, ensure that federal courts are able to meet their duty under subsection (1).

Marginal note:Equal access to justice in both official languages

 The Government of Canada must take into account the importance of equal access to justice in both official languages when appointing judges to superior courts.

Marginal note:Application for appointment

  •  (1) A person who submits an application for appointment as a judge of a superior court shall indicate their skill level in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Evaluation

    (2) The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs shall evaluate, in respect of every candidate who indicated that they have skills in both official languages, the candidate’s ability to speak and understand clearly both official languages.

Marginal note:Language training

 The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs shall provide the necessary language training to the judges of the superior courts.

Marginal note:Authority to make implementing rules

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may make any rules governing the procedure in proceedings before any federal court, other than the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court or the Tax Court of Canada, including rules respecting the giving of notice, that the Governor in Council deems necessary to enable that federal court to comply with sections 15 and 16 in the exercise of any of its powers or duties.

  • Marginal note:Supreme Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Federal Court and Tax Court of Canada

    (2) Subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada may make any rules governing the procedure in their own proceedings, including rules respecting the giving of notice, that they deem necessary to enable themselves to comply with sections 15 and 16 in the exercise of any of their powers or duties.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 17
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 156

Marginal note:Language of civil proceedings where Her Majesty is a party

 Where Her Majesty in right of Canada or a federal institution is a party to civil proceedings before a federal court,

  • (a) Her Majesty or the institution concerned shall use, in any oral or written pleadings in the proceedings, the official language chosen by the other parties unless it is established by Her Majesty or the institution that reasonable notice of the language chosen has not been given; and

  • (b) if the other parties fail to choose or agree on the official language to be used in those pleadings, Her Majesty or the institution concerned shall use such official language as is reasonable, having regard to the circumstances.

Marginal note:Bilingual forms

  •  (1) The pre-printed portion of any form that is used in proceedings before a federal court and is required to be served by any federal institution that is a party to the proceedings on any other party shall be in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Particular details

    (2) The particular details that are added to a form referred to in subsection (1) may be set out in either official language but, where the details are set out in only one official language, it shall be clearly indicated on the form that a translation of the details into the other official language may be obtained, and, if a request for a translation is made, a translation shall be made available forthwith by the party that served the form.

Marginal note:Decisions, orders and judgments that must be made available simultaneously

  •  (1) Any final decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given therefor, issued by any federal court shall be made available simultaneously in both official languages where

    • (a) the decision, order or judgment determines a question of law of general public interest or importance; or

    • (b) the proceedings leading to its issuance were conducted in whole or in part in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Other decisions, orders and judgments

    (2) Where

    • (a) any final decision, order or judgment issued by a federal court is not required by subsection (1) to be made available simultaneously in both official languages, or

    • (b) the decision, order or judgment is required by paragraph (1)(a) to be made available simultaneously in both official languages but the court is of the opinion that to make the decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given therefor, available simultaneously in both official languages would occasion a delay prejudicial to the public interest or resulting in injustice or hardship to any party to the proceedings leading to its issuance,

    the decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given therefor, shall be issued in the first instance in one of the official languages and thereafter, at the earliest possible time, in the other official language, each version to be effective from the time the first version is effective.

  • Marginal note:Oral rendition of decisions not affected

    (3) Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) shall be construed as prohibiting the oral rendition or delivery, in only one of the official languages, of any decision, order or judgment or any reasons given therefor.

  • Marginal note:Decisions not invalidated

    (4) No decision, order or judgment issued by a federal court is invalid by reason only that it was not made or issued in both official languages.

PART IVCommunications with and Services to the Public

Communications and Services

Marginal note:Rights relating to language of communication

 Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with and to receive available services from federal institutions in accordance with this Part.

Marginal note:Where communications and services must be in both official languages

 Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that any member of the public can communicate with and obtain available services from its head or central office in either official language, and has the same duty with respect to any of its other offices or facilities

  • (a) within the National Capital Region; or

  • (b) in Canada or elsewhere, where there is significant demand for communications with and services from that office or facility in that language.

Marginal note:Travelling public

  •  (1) For greater certainty, in addition to the duty set out in section 22, every federal institution that provides services or makes them available to the travelling public has the duty to ensure that any member of the travelling public can communicate with and obtain those services in either official language from any office or facility of the institution in Canada or elsewhere where there is significant demand for those services in that language.

  • Marginal note:Services provided pursuant to a contract

    (2) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that such services to the travelling public as may be prescribed by regulation of the Governor in Council that are provided or made available by another person or organization pursuant to a contract with the federal institution for the provision of those services at an office or facility referred to in subsection (1) are provided or made available, in both official languages, in the manner prescribed by regulation of the Governor in Council.

Marginal note:Nature of the office

  •  (1) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that any member of the public can communicate in either official language with, and obtain available services in either official language from, any of its offices or facilities in Canada or elsewhere

    • (a) in any circumstances prescribed by regulation of the Governor in Council that relate to any of the following:

      • (i) the health, safety or security of members of the public,

      • (ii) the location of the office or facility, or

      • (iii) the national or international mandate of the office; or

    • (b) in any other circumstances prescribed by regulation of the Governor in Council where, due to the nature of the office or facility, it is reasonable that communications with and services from that office or facility be available in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Institutions reporting directly to Parliament

    (2) Any federal institution that reports directly to Parliament on any of its activities has the duty to ensure that any member of the public can communicate with and obtain available services from all of its offices or facilities in Canada or elsewhere in either official language.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (3) Without restricting the generality of subsection (2), the duty set out in that subsection applies in respect of

    • (a) the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages;

    • (b) the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer;

    • (b.1) the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner;

    • (c) the Office of the Auditor General;

    • (d) the Office of the Information Commissioner;

    • (e) the Office of the Privacy Commissioner; and

    • (f) the Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 24
  • 2005, c. 46, s. 56.5
  • 2006, c. 9, ss. 96, 222

Services Provided on behalf of Federal Institutions

Marginal note:Where services provided on behalf of federal institutions

  •  (1) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that, where services are provided or made available by another person or organization on its behalf, any member of the public in Canada or elsewhere can communicate with and obtain those services from that person or organization in either official language in any case where those services, if provided by the institution, would be required under this Part to be provided in either official language.

  • Marginal note:Presumption

    (2) For the purpose of subsection (1), the other person or organization is presumed to provide or make available services on behalf of the federal institution if

    • (a) the federal institution exercises sufficient control over the other person or organization; or

    • (b) the other person or organization implements a program or legislative regime for which the federal institution is responsible.

  • Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (3) For greater certainty, a mere financial contribution by the Government of Canada to another person or organization is not sufficient to trigger the application of subsection (1).

Regulatory Activities of Federal Institutions

Marginal note:Regulatory activities relating to health, safety and security of public

 Every federal institution that regulates persons or organizations with respect to any of their activities that relate to the health, safety or security of members of the public has the duty to ensure, through its regulation of those persons or organizations, wherever it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances, that members of the public can communicate with and obtain available services from those persons or organizations in relation to those activities in both official languages.

General

Marginal note:Obligations relating to communications and services

 Wherever in this Part there is a duty in respect of communications and services in both official languages, the duty applies in respect of oral and written communications and in respect of any documents or activities that relate to those communications or services.

Marginal note:Active offer

 Every federal institution that is required under this Part to ensure that any member of the public can communicate with and obtain available services from an office or facility of that institution, or of another person or organization on behalf of that institution, in either official language shall ensure that appropriate measures are taken, including the provision of signs, notices and other information on services and the initiation of communication with the public, to make it known to members of the public that those services are available in either official language at the choice of any member of the public.

Marginal note:Signs identifying offices

 Where a federal institution identifies any of its offices or facilities with signs, each sign shall include both official languages or be placed together with a similar sign of equal prominence in the other official language.

Marginal note:Manner of communicating

 Subject to Part II, where a federal institution is engaged in communications with members of the public in both official languages as required in this Part, it shall communicate by using such media of communication as will reach members of the public in the official language of their choice in an effective and efficient manner that is consistent with the purposes of this Act.

Marginal note:Relationship to Part V

 In the event of any inconsistency between this Part and Part V, this Part prevails to the extent of the inconsistency.

Regulations

Marginal note:Regulations

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations

    • (a) prescribing the circumstances in which there is significant demand for the purpose of paragraph 22(b) or subsection 23(1);

    • (b) prescribing circumstances not otherwise provided for under this Part in which federal institutions have the duty to ensure that any member of the public can communicate with and obtain available services from offices of the institution in either official language;

    • (c) prescribing services, and the manner in which those services are to be provided or made available, for the purpose of subsection 23(2);

    • (d) prescribing circumstances, in relation to the public or the travelling public, for the purpose of paragraph 24(1)(a) or (b); and

    • (e) defining the expression “English or French linguistic minority population” for the purpose of paragraph (2)(a).

  • Marginal note:Where circumstances prescribed under paragraph (1)(a) or (b)

    (2) In prescribing circumstances under paragraph (1)(a) or (b), the Governor in Council may have regard to

    • (a) the number of persons composing the English or French linguistic minority population of the area served by an office or facility, the particular characteristics of that population and the proportion of that population to the total population of that area;

    • (b) the volume of communications or services between an office or facility and members of the public using each official language; and

    • (c) any other factors that the Governor in Council considers appropriate.

Marginal note:Regulations

 The Governor in Council may make any regulations that the Governor in Council considers necessary to foster actively communications with and services from offices or facilities of federal institutions — other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service or office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer — in both official languages, if those communications and services are required under this Part to be provided in both official languages.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 33
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 27
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 21
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 145
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 180
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 13(F)

PART VLanguage of Work

Marginal note:Definition of employee

 In this Part, employee includes an employee who represents the employer, a person who performs for an employer activities whose primary purpose is to enable the person to acquire knowledge or experience and a person who has been placed by a temporary help agency.

Marginal note:Rights relating to language of work

  •  (1) English and French are the languages of work in all federal institutions, and employees of all federal institutions have the right to use either official language in accordance with this Part.

  • Marginal note:Deputy ministers and associate deputy ministers

    (2) A person appointed by the Governor in Council to the position of deputy minister or associate deputy minister or a position of an equivalent rank in a department named in Schedule I to the Financial Administration Act shall, on their appointment, take the language training that is necessary to be able to speak and understand clearly both official languages.

Marginal note:Duties of government

  •  (1) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that

    • (a) within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed, work environments of the institution are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by its employees; and

    • (b) in all parts or regions of Canada not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (a), the treatment of both official languages in the work environments of the institution in parts or regions of Canada where one official language predominates is reasonably comparable to the treatment of both official languages in the work environments of the institution in parts or regions of Canada where the other official language predominates.

  • Marginal note:Regions of Canada prescribed

    (2) The regions of Canada set out in Annex B of the part of the Treasury Board and Public Service Commission Circular No. 1977-46 of September 30, 1977 that is entitled “Official Languages in the Public Service of Canada: A Statement of Policies” are prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (1)(a).

Marginal note:Minimum duties in relation to prescribed regions

  •  (1) Every federal institution has the duty, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), to

    • (a) make available in both official languages to employees of the institution

      • (i) services that are provided to employees, including services that are provided to them as individuals and services that are centrally provided by the institution to support them in the performance of their duties, and

      • (ii) regularly and widely used documentation or other work instruments produced by or on behalf of that or any other federal institution;

    • (b) ensure that regularly and widely used computer systems acquired or produced by the institution on or after January 1, 1991 can be used in either official language; and

    • (c) ensure that, if it is appropriate in order to create a work environment that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages, managers and supervisors are able to communicate in both official languages with employees of the institution in carrying out their managerial or supervisory responsibilities; and

    • (d) ensure that any management group that is responsible for the general direction of the institution as a whole has the capacity to function in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Additional duties

    (2) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), the measures that can reasonably be taken are taken in addition to those required under subsection (1) to establish and maintain work environments of the institution that are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by its employees.

Marginal note:Special duties

 Every federal institution that has authority to direct, or provides services to, other federal institutions has the duty to ensure that it exercises its powers and carries out its duties in relation to those other institutions in a manner that accommodates the use of either official language by employees of those institutions.

Marginal note:Regulations

  •  (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations in respect of federal institutions, other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service or office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer,

    • (a) prescribing, in respect of any part or region of Canada or any place outside Canada,

      • (i) any services, documentation or other work instruments that those institutions are to make available to their employees in both official languages,

      • (ii) any computer systems that must be available for use in both official languages, and

      • (iii) any supervisory or managerial responsibilities that are to be carried out by those institutions in both official languages;

    • (b) prescribing any other measures that are to be taken, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), to establish and maintain work environments of those institutions that are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by their employees;

    • (c) requiring that either or both official languages be used in communications with offices of those institutions that are located in any part or region of Canada, or any place outside Canada, specified in the regulations;

    • (d) prescribing the manner in which any duties of those institutions under this Part or the regulations made under this Part in relation to the use of both official languages are to be carried out; and

    • (e) prescribing obligations of those institutions in relation to the use of the official languages of Canada by the institutions in respect of offices in parts or regions of Canada not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), having regard to the equality of status of both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (2) The Governor in Council may make regulations

    • (a) adding to or deleting from the regions of Canada prescribed by subsection 35(2) or prescribing any other part or region of Canada, or any place outside Canada, for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), having regard to

      • (i) the number and proportion of English-speaking and French-speaking employees who constitute the work force of federal institutions based in the parts, regions or places prescribed,

      • (ii) the number and proportion of English-speaking and French-speaking persons resident in the parts or regions prescribed, and

      • (iii) any other factors that the Governor in Council considers appropriate; and

    • (b) substituting, with respect to any federal institution other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service or office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, a duty in relation to the use of the official languages of Canada in place of a duty under section 36 or the regulations made under subsection (1), having regard to the equality of status of both official languages, if there is a demonstrable conflict between the duty under section 36 or the regulations and the mandate of the institution.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 38
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 28
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 22
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 146
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 181
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 18

PART VIParticipation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians

Marginal note:Commitment to equal opportunities and equitable participation

  •  (1) The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that

    • (a) English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians, without regard to their ethnic origin or first language learned, have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement in federal institutions; and

    • (b) the composition of the work-force of federal institutions tends to reflect the presence of both the official language communities of Canada, taking into account the characteristics of individual institutions, including their mandates, the public they serve and their location.

  • Marginal note:Employment opportunities

    (2) In carrying out the commitment of the Government of Canada under subsection (1), federal institutions shall ensure that employment opportunities are open to both English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians, taking into account the purposes and provisions of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Merit principle

    (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating or derogating from the principle of selection of personnel according to merit.

Marginal note:Regulations

 The Governor in Council may make regulations for the purposes of this Part.

PART VIIAdvancement of Equality of Status and Use of English and French

Marginal note:Commitment — enhancing vitality of communities and fostering English and French

  •  (1) The Government of Canada is committed to

    • (a) enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development, taking into account their uniqueness, diversity and historical and cultural contributions to Canadian society; and

    • (b) fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

  • Marginal note:Commitment — protection and promotion of French

    (2) The Government of Canada, recognizing and taking into account that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English, is committed to protecting and promoting the French language.

  • Marginal note:Commitment — learning in minority language

    (3) The Government of Canada is committed to advancing formal, non-formal and informal opportunities for members of English and French linguistic minority communities to pursue quality learning in their own language throughout their lives, including from early childhood to post-secondary education.

  • Marginal note:Commitment — section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

    (4) The Government of Canada shall estimate periodically, using the necessary tools, the number of children whose parents have, under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the right to have their children receive their instruction in the language of the English or French linguistic minority population of a province or territory, including the right to have them receive that instruction in minority language educational facilities.

  • Marginal note:Duty of federal institutions — positive measures

    (5) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that the commitments under subsections (1) to (3) are implemented by the taking of positive measures.

  • Marginal note:Positive measures

    (6) Positive measures taken under subsection (5)

    • (a) shall be concrete and taken with the intention of having a beneficial effect on the implementation of the commitments under subsections (1) to (3);

    • (b) shall respect

      • (i) the necessity of protecting and promoting the French language in each province and territory, taking into account that French is in a minority situation in Canada and North America due to the predominant use of English, and

      • (ii) the necessity of considering the specific needs of each of the two official language communities of Canada, taking into account the equal importance of the two communities; and

    • (c) may include measures, among others, to

      • (i) promote and support the learning of English and French in Canada,

      • (ii) foster an acceptance and appreciation of both English and French by members of the public,

      • (iii) induce and assist organizations and institutions to project and promote the bilingual character of Canada in their activities in Canada or elsewhere,

      • (iii.1) restore and increase the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities,

      • (iv) support the creation and dissemination of information in French that contributes to the advancement of scientific knowledge in any discipline, and

      • (v) support sectors that are essential to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities, including the culture, education — from early childhood to post-secondary education — health, justice, employment and immigration sectors, and protect and promote the presence of strong institutions serving those communities.

  • Marginal note:Potential to take positive measures and negative impacts

    (7) In carrying out its mandate, every federal institution shall, on the basis of analyses,

    • (a) consider whether positive measures could potentially be taken under subsection (5);

    • (a.1) subject to the regulations, take the necessary measures to promote, when negotiating agreements with the provincial and territorial governments, including funding agreements, that may contribute to the implementation of the commitments under subsections (1) to (3), the inclusion in those agreements of provisions establishing the parties’ duties under the agreements respecting official languages; and

    • (b) consider the possibilities for avoiding, or at least mitigating, the direct negative impacts that its structuring decisions may have on the commitments under subsections (1) to (3).

  • Marginal note:Dialogue and consultation activities, research and evidence-based findings

    (8) The analyses referred to in subsection (7) shall be founded, to the extent possible, on the results of dialogue and consultation activities, on research and on evidence-based findings.

  • Marginal note:Objective of dialogue and consultation activities

    (9) The objective of the dialogue and consultation activities carried out for the purposes of subsection (8) is to permit the priorities of the English and French linguistic minority communities and other stakeholders to be taken into account, including in relation to the duty under paragraph (7)(a.1).

  • Marginal note:Dialogue and consultation activities

    (9.1) In carrying out this objective, every federal institution shall

    • (a) gather relevant information;

    • (b) seek the opinions of English and French linguistic minority communities and other stakeholders about the positive measures that are the subject of the consultations;

    • (c) provide the participants with relevant information on which those positive measures are based;

    • (d) openly and meaningfully consider their opinions; and

    • (e) be prepared to alter those positive measures.

  • Marginal note:Evaluation and monitoring mechanisms

    (10) Every federal institution shall establish evaluation and monitoring mechanisms in relation to the positive measures taken under subsection (5) and in relation to the duty under paragraph (7)(a.1). For greater certainty, these mechanisms shall take into account the obligations set out in subsections 41(7) to (9) and the provisions with respect to dialogue and consultation activities.

  • Marginal note:Publication

    (10.1) Subject to subsections (10.2) and (10.3) and the regulations, every federal institution that is a party to an agreement referred to in paragraph (7)(a.1) that includes provisions referred to in that paragraph shall cause the agreement to be published on the Internet or by any other means the institution considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Publication not required

    (10.2) The federal institution is not required to cause the agreement to be published, in whole or in part, in the case where, if Part 1 of the Access to Information Act applied to the institution and in dealing with a request for access to the agreement, the institution could under that Part refuse to disclose the agreement, in whole or in part, for a reason that is set out in that Part.

  • Marginal note:Publication not permitted

    (10.3) The federal institution shall not cause the agreement to be published, in whole or in part, in the case where, if Part 1 of the Access to Information Act applied to the institution and in dealing with a request for access to the agreement, the institution would be required under that Part to refuse to disclose the agreement, in whole or in part, for a reason that is set out in that Part or because that Part does not apply to the agreement.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (10.4) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Treasury Board made after consultation with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, make regulations in respect of the duties of federal institutions — other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service or office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer — under paragraph (7)(a.1) and subsection (10.1), including regulations

    • (a) prescribing the manner in which those duties are to be carried out and reported on; and

    • (b) respecting the content of the provisions referred to in paragraph (7)(a.1).

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (11) The Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the Treasury Board made after consultation with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, make regulations in respect of federal institutions, other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service or office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, prescribing the manner in which any duties of those institutions under this Part are to be carried out.

  • Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (12) For greater certainty, the express powers, duties and functions of certain ministers of the Crown provided for in this Part do not limit the duties of federal institutions under this Part.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 41
  • 2005, c. 41, s. 1
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 23
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 147
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 182
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 21

Marginal note:Disposal strategy — considerations

  •  (1) In developing a disposal strategy for a surplus federal real property or a federal immovable, every department and supporting federal institution shall take into account the needs and priorities of the English or French linguistic minority communities of the province or territory where the federal real property or federal immovable is located.

  • Marginal note:Consultations

    (2) In taking into account the needs and priorities under subsection (1), departments shall consult English or French linguistic minority communities and other stakeholders, including school boards or commissions.

Marginal note:Commitment — bilingualism and promoting French abroad

  •  (1) The Government of Canada is committed to advancing the use of English and French in the conduct of Canada’s external affairs and to promoting French as part of Canada’s diplomatic relations.

  • Marginal note:Implementation

    (2) The Minister of Foreign Affairs shall implement the commitment under subsection (1).

Marginal note:Recognition — Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

 The Government of Canada recognizes that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, in carrying out its purposes under the Broadcasting Act and subject to any applicable orders and regulations of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, contributes through its activities to enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and to the protection and promotion of both official languages. This recognition is made while respecting the freedom of expression and the journalistic, creative and programming independence enjoyed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Marginal note:Special mandate of Minister of Canadian Heritage

  •  (1) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall advance the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society, and to that end may take measures to

    • (a) enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and support and assist their development;

    • (b) support the development and promotion of francophone culture in Canada, including through the activities of entities for which that Minister is responsible and by ensuring that the Government of Canada’s cultural policies are consistent with the purpose of this Act;

    • (c) provide funding to an organization, independent of the Government of Canada, responsible for administering a program whose purpose is to provide funding for test cases of national significance to be brought before the courts to clarify and assert constitutional and quasi-constitutional official language rights;

    • (d) encourage and assist provincial and territorial governments to support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities generally and, in particular, to offer provincial, territorial and municipal services in both English and French and to provide opportunities for members of English or French linguistic minority communities to be educated in their own language;

    • (e) encourage and assist provincial and territorial governments and non-profit organizations to provide opportunities for everyone in Canada to learn both English and French and to foster an acceptance and appreciation of both English and French by members of the public;

    • (f) induce the business community, labour organizations, non-profit organizations and other organizations or institutions to provide services in both English and French and to foster the recognition and use of those languages;

    • (g) implement programs in support of official languages; and

    • (h) with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreements or arrangements that recognize and advance the bilingual character of Canada with the governments of foreign states.

  • Marginal note:Consultation and information to public

    (2) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall take such measures as that Minister considers appropriate to ensure public consultation in the development of policies and review of programs relating to the achievement of the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society and shall provide information to the public relating to those policies and programs.

Marginal note:Annual report to Parliament

 The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall, within such time as is reasonably practicable after the termination of each financial year, submit an annual report to Parliament on the matters relating to official languages for which that Minister is responsible.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 44
  • 1995, c. 11, s. 29

Marginal note:Policy on francophone immigration

  •  (1) The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration shall adopt a policy on francophone immigration to enhance the vitality of French linguistic minority communities in Canada, including by restoring and increasing their demographic weight.

  • Marginal note:Contents

    (2) The policy shall include, among other things,

    • (a) objectives, targets and indicators;

    • (a.1) mechanisms for information sharing and for reporting;

    • (b) a statement that the Government of Canada recognizes that immigration is one of the factors that contributes to maintaining or increasing the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities in Canada; and

    • (c) a statement that the Government of Canada recognizes the importance of francophone immigration to economic development.

Marginal note:Consultation and negotiation — provinces and territories

 Any minister of the Crown designated by the Governor in Council may consult and may negotiate agreements with the provincial and territorial governments to ensure, to the greatest practical extent but subject to Part IV, that the provision of federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and education services in both official languages is coordinated and that regard is had to the needs of the recipients of those services.

Marginal note:Cooperation — provinces and territories

  •  (1) The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of cooperating with provincial and territorial governments in the implementation of this Part, taking into account the diversity of the provincial and territorial language regimes that contribute to the advancement of the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society, including that

    • (a) the Constitution of Canada provides every person with the right to use English or French in the debates of the Houses of the Legislature of Quebec and those of the Legislature of Manitoba and the right to use English or French in any pleading or process in or from the courts of those provinces;

    • (b) Quebec’s Charter of the French language provides that French is the official language of Quebec;

    • (c) the Constitution of Canada provides that English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all institutions of the legislature and government of New Brunswick; and

    • (d) the Constitution of Canada provides that the English linguistic community and the French linguistic community in New Brunswick have equality of status and equal rights and privileges.

  • Marginal note:For greater certainty

    (2) For greater certainty, the implementation of this Part shall be carried out while respecting the jurisdiction and powers of the provinces and territories.

PART VIIIResponsibilities and Duties of Treasury Board in Relation to the Official Languages of Canada

Marginal note:Responsibilities of Treasury Board

  •  (1) The Treasury Board has responsibility for the general direction and coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada relating to the implementation of Parts IV, V and VI, subsection 41(5) and paragraph 41(7)(a.1) in all federal institutions other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service and office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

  • Marginal note:Powers of Treasury Board

    (2) In carrying out its responsibilities under subsection (1), the Treasury Board may

    • (a) [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 25]

    • (b) recommend regulations to the Governor in Council to give effect to Parts IV, V and VI.

    • (c) [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 25]

    • (d) [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 25]

    • (e) [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 25]

    • (f) [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 25]

    • (g) [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 25]

  • Marginal note:Duties of Treasury Board

    (3) In carrying out its responsibilities under subsection (1), the Treasury Board shall

    • (a) establish policies, recommend policies to the Governor in Council or issue directives to give effect to Parts IV, V and VI;

    • (b) in consultation with the Minister of Canadian Heritage, establish policies, recommend policies to the Governor in Council or issue directives to give effect to subsection 41(5) and paragraph 41(7)(a.1);

    • (c) monitor and audit federal institutions in respect of which it has responsibility for their compliance with policies, directives and regulations of the Treasury Board or the Governor in Council relating to the official languages of Canada;

    • (d) evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of policies and programs of federal institutions relating to the official languages of Canada;

    • (e) provide information to the public and to employees of federal institutions relating to the policies, directives and programs that give effect to Parts IV, V and VI; and

    • (f) provide information to employees of federal institutions relating to the policies, directives and programs that give effect to subsection 41(5) and paragraph 41(7)(a.1).

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 46
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 29
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 24
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 148
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 183
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 25

Marginal note:Audit reports to Commissioner

 The Chief Human Resources Officer appointed under subsection 6(2.1) of the Financial Administration Act shall provide the Commissioner with any audit reports that are prepared under paragraph 46(3)(c).

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 47
  • 2005, c. 15, s. 3
  • 2010, c. 12, s. 1676
  • 2023, c. 15, s. 26

Marginal note:Annual report to Parliament

 The President of the Treasury Board shall, within such time as is reasonably practicable after the termination of each financial year, submit an annual report to Parliament on the exercise of the Treasury Board’s powers and the performance of its duties and functions conferred under this Act and the status of programs relating to the official languages of Canada in the various federal institutions in respect of which it has responsibility under section 46.

PART IXCommissioner of Official Languages

Office of the Commissioner

Marginal note:Appointment

  •  (1) The Governor in Council shall, by commission under the Great Seal, appoint a Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada after consultation with the Leader of the Government in the Senate or Government Representative in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the Leader or Facilitator of every other recognized party or parliamentary group in the Senate and the leader of every recognized party in the House of Commons and approval of the appointment by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons.

  • Marginal note:Tenure

    (2) Subject to this section, the Commissioner holds office during good behaviour for a term of seven years, but may be removed for cause by the Governor in Council at any time on address of the Senate and House of Commons.

  • Marginal note:Further terms

    (3) The Commissioner, on the expiration of a first or any subsequent term of office, is eligible to be re-appointed for a further term not exceeding seven years.

  • Marginal note:Interim appointment

    (4) In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Commissioner or if that office is vacant, the Governor in Council may appoint any qualified person to hold that office in the interim for a term not exceeding six months, and that person shall, while holding office, be paid the salary or other remuneration and expenses that may be fixed by the Governor in Council.

Marginal note:Rank, powers and duties generally

  •  (1) The Commissioner shall rank as and have all the powers of a deputy head of a department, shall engage exclusively in the duties of the office of the Commissioner and shall not hold any other office under Her Majesty or engage in any other employment.

  • Marginal note:Salary and expenses

    (2) The Commissioner shall be paid a salary equal to the salary of a judge of the Federal Court, other than the Chief Justice of that Court, and is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses while absent from his or her ordinary place of residence in the course of his or her duties.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 50
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 157

Marginal note:Staff

 The employees that are necessary for the proper conduct of the work of the office of the Commissioner shall be appointed in the manner authorized by law.

Marginal note:Technical assistance

 The Commissioner may engage, on a temporary basis, the services of persons having technical or specialized knowledge of any matter relating to the work of the Commissioner to advise and assist the Commissioner in the performance of the duties of his office and, with the approval of the Treasury Board, may fix and pay the remuneration and expenses of those persons.

Marginal note:Public Service Superannuation Act

 The Commissioner and the employees of the office of the Commissioner appointed under section 51 shall be deemed to be persons employed in the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act.

Marginal note:Order exempting Commissioner from directives

 The Governor in Council, on the recommendation of the Treasury Board, may by order exempt the Commissioner from any directives of the Treasury Board or the Governor in Council made under the Financial Administration Act that apply to deputy heads or other administrative heads in relation to the administration of federal institutions.

Duties and Functions of Commissioner

Marginal note:Duties and functions

 The Commissioner shall carry out such duties and functions as are assigned to the Commissioner by this Act or any other Act of Parliament, and may carry out or engage in such other related assignments or activities as may be authorized by the Governor in Council.

Marginal note:Duty of Commissioner under Act

  •  (1) It is the duty of the Commissioner to take all actions and measures within the authority of the Commissioner with a view to ensuring recognition of the status of each of the official languages and compliance with the spirit and intent of this Act in the administration of the affairs of federal institutions, including any of their activities relating to the advancement of English and French in Canadian society.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (2) It is the duty of the Commissioner, for the purpose set out in subsection (1), to conduct and carry out investigations either on his own initiative or pursuant to any complaint made to the Commissioner and to report and make recommendations with respect thereto as provided in this Act.

Marginal note:Review of regulations, policies and directives

 The Commissioner may initiate a review of any regulations, policies or directives made under this Act, and any other regulations, policies or directives that affect or may affect the status or use of the official languages, and may refer to and comment on any findings on the review in a report made to Parliament under section 66 or 67.

Investigations, Compliance Agreements and Orders

Marginal note:Investigation of complaints

  •  (1) Subject to this Act, the Commissioner shall investigate any complaint made to the Commissioner arising from any act or omission to the effect that, in any particular instance or case,

    • (a) the status of an official language was not or is not being recognized,

    • (b) any provision of any Act of Parliament or regulation relating to the status or use of the official languages was not or is not being complied with, or

    • (c) the spirit and intent of this Act was not or is not being complied with

    in the administration of the affairs of any federal institution.

  • Marginal note:Who may make complaint

    (2) A complaint may be made to the Commissioner by any person or group of persons, regardless of the official language that they speak.

  • Marginal note:Discontinuance of investigation

    (3) If in the course of investigating any complaint it appears to the Commissioner that, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, any further investigation is unnecessary, the Commissioner may refuse to investigate the matter further.

  • Marginal note:Right of Commissioner to refuse or cease investigation

    (4) The Commissioner may refuse to investigate or cease to investigate any complaint if in the opinion of the Commissioner

    • (a) the subject-matter of the complaint is trivial;

    • (b) the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith;

    • (c) the subject-matter of the complaint does not involve a contravention or failure to comply with the spirit and intent of this Act, or does not for any other reason come within the authority of the Commissioner under this Act;

    • (d) the complaint was not made within a reasonable time after the subject-matter of the complaint arose;

    • (e) the subject-matter of the complaint has already been the subject of a report by the Commissioner under subsection 63(1);

    • (f) the federal institution concerned has taken corrective measures to resolve the complaint; or

    • (g) the Commissioner has entered into a compliance agreement under subsection 64.1(1) in respect of the subject-matter of the complaint.

  • Marginal note:Complainant to be notified

    (5) Where the Commissioner decides to refuse to investigate or cease to investigate any complaint, the Commissioner shall inform the complainant of that decision and shall give the reasons therefor.

Marginal note:Notice of intention to investigate

 Before carrying out an investigation under this Act, the Commissioner shall inform the deputy head or other administrative head of any federal institution concerned of his intention to carry out the investigation.

Marginal note:Investigation to be conducted in private

  •  (1) Every investigation by the Commissioner under this Act shall be conducted in private.

  • Marginal note:Opportunity to answer allegations and criticisms

    (2) It is not necessary for the Commissioner to hold any hearing and no person is entitled as of right to be heard by the Commissioner, but if at any time during the course of an investigation it appears to the Commissioner that there may be sufficient grounds to make a report or recommendation that may adversely affect any individual or any federal institution, the Commissioner shall, before completing the investigation, take every reasonable measure to give to that individual or institution a full and ample opportunity to answer any adverse allegation or criticism, and to be assisted or represented by counsel for that purpose.

Marginal note:Procedure

  •  (1) Subject to this Act, the Commissioner may determine the procedure to be followed in carrying out any investigation under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Receiving and obtaining information

    (2) The Commissioner may direct that information relating to any investigation under this Act be received or obtained, in whole or in part, by any employee of the office of the Commissioner appointed under section 51 and that employee shall, subject to any restrictions or limitations that the Commissioner may specify, have all the powers and duties of the Commissioner under this Act in relation to the receiving or obtaining of that information.

Marginal note:Powers of Commissioner in carrying out investigations

  •  (1) The Commissioner has, in relation to the carrying out of any investigation under this Act, other than an investigation in relation to Part III, power

    • (a) to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses and compel them to give oral or written evidence on oath, and to produce such documents and things as the Commissioner deems requisite to the full investigation and consideration of any matter within his authority under this Act, in the same manner and to the same extent as a superior court of record;

    • (b) to administer oaths;

    • (c) to receive and accept such evidence and other information, whether on oath or by affidavit or otherwise, as in his discretion the Commissioner sees fit, whether or not the evidence or information is or would be admissible in a court of law; and

    • (d) subject to such limitation as may in the interests of defence or security be prescribed by regulation of the Governor in Council, to enter any premises occupied by any federal institution and carry out therein such inquiries within his authority under this Act as the Commissioner sees fit.

  • Marginal note:Alternative dispute resolution

    (1.1) The Commissioner may, at any time in the course of an investigation, attempt to resolve a complaint by means of a process of alternative dispute resolution, other than arbitration.

  • Marginal note:Report — threats, intimidation, discrimination or obstruction

    (2) The Commissioner may provide a report with reasons to the President of the Treasury Board and the deputy head or other administrative head of any federal institution concerned if the Commissioner believes on reasonable grounds that

    • (a) an individual has been threatened, intimidated or made the object of discrimination because that individual has made a complaint under this Act or has given evidence or assisted in any way in respect of an investigation under this Act, or proposes to do so, or

    • (b) the Commissioner, or any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner, has been obstructed in the performance of the Commissioner’s duties or functions under this Act.

Marginal note:Conclusion of investigation

  •  (1) If, after carrying out an investigation under this Act, the Commissioner is of the opinion that

    • (a) the act or omission that was the subject of the investigation should be referred to any federal institution concerned for consideration and action if necessary,

    • (b) any Act or regulations, or any policy or directive of the Governor in Council or the Treasury Board, should be reconsidered or any practice that leads or is likely to lead to a contravention of this Act should be altered or discontinued, or

    • (c) any other action should be taken,

    the Commissioner shall report that opinion and the reasons therefor to the President of the Treasury Board and the deputy head or other administrative head of any institution concerned.

  • Marginal note:Other policies to be taken into account

    (2) In making a report under subsection (1) that relates to any federal institution, the Commissioner shall have regard to any policies that apply to that institution that are set out in any Act of Parliament or regulation thereunder or in any directive of the Governor in Council or the Treasury Board.

  • Marginal note:Recommendations

    (3) The Commissioner may

    • (a) in a report under subsection (1) make such recommendations as he thinks fit; and

    • (b) request the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution concerned to notify the Commissioner within a specified time of the action, if any, that the institution proposes to take to give effect to those recommendations.

Marginal note:Publication

  •  (1) After carrying out an investigation under this Act, the Commissioner may make any of the following information public:

    • (a) a summary of the investigation;

    • (b) the findings of the investigation;

    • (c) any recommendations made by the Commissioner under subsection 63(3).

  • Marginal note:Identifying information

    (2) The Commissioner shall ensure that the information made public under subsection (1) is not in a form that could reasonably be expected to identify the complainant or any individual.

  • Marginal note:Notice

    (3) Before making the information public, the Commissioner shall give to the deputy head or other administrative head of any federal institution concerned at least 30 business days’ notice of the Commissioner’s intention to make it public.

Marginal note:Where investigation carried out pursuant to complaint

  •  (1) Where the Commissioner carries out an investigation pursuant to a complaint, the Commissioner shall inform the complainant and any individual by whom or on behalf of whom, or the deputy head or other administrative head of any federal institution by which or on behalf of which, an answer relating to the complaint has been made pursuant to subsection 60(2), in such manner and at such time as the Commissioner thinks proper, of the results of the investigation.

  • Marginal note:Where recommendations made

    (2) Where recommendations have been made by the Commissioner under subsection 63(3) but adequate and appropriate action has not, in the opinion of the Commissioner, been taken thereon within a reasonable time after the recommendations are made, the Commissioner may inform the complainant of those recommendations and make such comments thereon as he thinks proper, and shall provide a copy of the recommendations and comments to any individual, deputy head or administrative head whom the Commissioner is required under subsection (1) to inform of the results of the investigation.

Marginal note:Compliance agreement

  •  (1) If, at any time during the course of or after carrying out an investigation, the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a federal institution has contravened this Act, the Commissioner may enter into a compliance agreement with that federal institution aimed at ensuring compliance with this Act.

  • Marginal note:Other party

    (2) The complainant may, at the invitation of the Commissioner, be made a party to the compliance agreement.

  • Marginal note:Terms

    (3) A compliance agreement may contain any terms that the Commissioner considers necessary to ensure compliance with this Act.

Marginal note:Effect of compliance agreement — Commissioner

  •  (1) Once a compliance agreement is entered into, the Commissioner

    • (a) is not permitted to make an order under subsection 64.5(1) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement;

    • (b) is not permitted to make an application under paragraph 78(1)(a) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement; and

    • (c) shall apply to the Federal Court for the suspension of any pending applications that the Commissioner made under paragraph 78(1)(a) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement.

  • Marginal note:Effect of compliance agreement — complainant

    (2) The complainant, if they are a party to the compliance agreement entered into,

    • (a) is not permitted to make an application under subsection 77(1) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement; and

    • (b) shall apply to the Federal Court for the suspension of any pending applications that they made under subsection 77(1) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement.

Marginal note:Compliance agreement complied with

 If the Commissioner is of the opinion that a federal institution has complied with a compliance agreement,

  • (a) the Commissioner shall provide written notice to that effect to the federal institution and, if the complainant is a party to the agreement, to the complainant;

  • (b) the Commissioner shall withdraw any applications that the Commissioner made under paragraph 78(1)(a) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement; and

  • (c) the complainant, if they are a party to the agreement, shall withdraw any applications that they made under subsection 77(1) in respect of any matter covered under the agreement.

Marginal note:Compliance agreement not complied with

  •  (1) If the Commissioner is of the opinion that a federal institution has not complied with a compliance agreement, the Commissioner shall provide written notice to that effect to the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution and to the complainant, if they are a party to the agreement, and may apply to the Federal Court

    • (a) for an order requiring the federal institution to comply with the agreement, in addition to any other remedies that the Federal Court may give; or

    • (b) for a remedy in accordance with paragraph 78(1)(a) or for the reinstatement of proceedings that have been suspended as a result of any application made under paragraph 64.2(1)(c).

  • Marginal note:Parties to proceedings

    (2) A federal institution whose deputy head or other administrative head receives a notice under subsection (1), and a complainant who receives a notice under that subsection, have the right to appear as parties to the proceedings.

  • Marginal note:Complainant

    (3) On receipt of the notice, the complainant may apply to the Federal Court for a remedy in accordance with subsection 77(1) or for the reinstatement of proceedings that have been suspended as a result of an application made under paragraph 64.2(2)(b).

  • Marginal note:Time for application

    (4) Despite subsection 77(2) and paragraph 78(1)(a) but subject to subsection 77(3), the application shall be made within one year after the date of the notice or within any longer period that the Federal Court may, either before or after the expiry of that year, allow.

Marginal note:Commissioner’s order

  •  (1) If, after carrying out an investigation of a complaint, the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that a federal institution has contravened a duty — or violated a right — under Part IV or V and has made recommendations under subsection 63(3) in respect of that contravention or violation, or in respect of an identical contravention of that duty or violation of that right by the institution, the Commissioner may make an order directing that institution to take any action that the Commissioner considers appropriate to rectify the contravention or violation.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (2) However, the Commissioner is not permitted to make an order in respect of the subject-matter of a complaint unless, before making the order, the Commissioner invited the federal institution to enter into a compliance agreement under subsection 64.1(1) in respect of that subject-matter.

  • Marginal note:Preconditions to order

    (3) Before making an order under subsection (1), the Commissioner shall provide to the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution concerned a notice that sets out

    • (a) the order that the Commissioner intends to make; and

    • (b) a statement that within 20 days after the day on which the deputy head or other administrative head receives the notice, that deputy head or other administrative head shall notify the Commissioner

      • (i) of the action taken or proposed to be taken by the federal institution to implement the proposed order or the recommendations made under subsection 63(3), or the reasons why no such action has been or is proposed to be taken, or

      • (ii) whether the federal institution wishes to enter into a compliance agreement under subsection 64.1(1).

  • Marginal note:Condition

    (4) The order may include any condition that the Commissioner considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Notice of order

    (5) The Commissioner shall provide to the complainant and to the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution a notice that sets out

    • (a) any order that the Commissioner makes;

    • (b) a statement that the complainant and the federal institution each have the right to apply for a review under section 78.1, within the period specified for exercising that right, and that they must comply with section 78.5 if they exercise that right; and

    • (c) a statement that if neither the complainant nor the federal institution applies for a review within the period specified for doing so, any order set out in the notice takes effect in accordance with subsection (6).

  • Marginal note:Effect

    (6) The order takes effect on the 31st business day after the day on which the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution receives the notice.

  • Marginal note:Deemed date of receipt

    (7) For the purpose of this section, the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution is deemed to have received a notice on the fifth business day after the date of the notice.

Marginal note:Filing of order

  •  (1) If the Commissioner is of the opinion that a federal institution has not complied with the terms of an order made under subsection 64.5(1), the Commissioner may file in the Federal Court a copy of the order certified by the Commissioner to be a true copy.

  • Marginal note:Effect of filing

    (2) On the certified copy being filed, the decision becomes and may be enforced as an order of the Federal Court.

Marginal note:Report to Governor in Council where appropriate action not taken

  •  (1) If, within a reasonable time after a report containing recommendations under subsection 63(3) is made, adequate and appropriate action has not, in the opinion of the Commissioner, been taken thereon, the Commissioner, in his discretion and after considering any reply made by or on behalf of any federal institution concerned, may transmit a copy of the report and recommendations to the Governor in Council.

  • Marginal note:Action by Governor in Council

    (2) The Governor in Council may take such action as the Governor in Council considers appropriate in relation to any report transmitted under subsection (1) and the recommendations therein.

  • Marginal note:Report to Parliament

    (3) If, within a reasonable time after a copy of a report is transmitted to the Governor in Council under subsection (1), adequate and appropriate action has not, in the opinion of the Commissioner, been taken thereon, the Commissioner may make such report thereon to Parliament as he considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Reply to be attached to report

    (4) The Commissioner shall attach to every report made under subsection (3) a copy of any reply made by or on behalf of any federal institution concerned.

Reports to Parliament

Marginal note:Annual report

  •  (1) The Commissioner shall, within such time as is reasonably practicable after the termination of each year, prepare and submit to Parliament a report relating to the conduct of his office and the discharge of his duties under this Act during the preceding year including his recommendations, if any, for proposed changes to this Act that the Commissioner deems necessary or desirable in order that effect may be given to it according to its spirit and intent.

  • Marginal note:Part of report

    (2) The Commissioner shall include, as part of the report, in respect of each federal institution concerned,

    • (a) the number of times that the Commissioner refused or ceased to investigate a complaint under subsection 58(4) and the paragraph of that subsection that was relied on;

    • (b) for each process of alternative dispute resolution used, the number of complaints on which that process was used and the number of them that were resolved through that process;

    • (c) the number of times that the Commissioner published any information under subsection 63.1(1);

    • (d) the number of complaints that were made the object of a compliance agreement under subsection 64.1(1), a description of the contravention that resulted in the agreement being entered into and an indication as to whether the federal institution complied with the agreement and, if not, any measures taken by the Commissioner as a result; and

    • (e) the number of complaints that were made the object of an order under subsection 64.5(1), a description of the contravention or violation that resulted in the order being made and an indication as to whether the federal institution complied with the order and, if not, any measures taken by the Commissioner as a result.

Marginal note:Special reports

  •  (1) The Commissioner may, at any time, make a special report to Parliament referring to and commenting on any matter within the scope of the powers, duties and functions of the Commissioner where, in the opinion of the Commissioner, the matter is of such urgency or importance that a report thereon should not be deferred until the time provided for transmission of the next annual report of the Commissioner under section 66.

  • Marginal note:Reply to be attached to report

    (2) The Commissioner shall attach to every report made under this section a copy of any reply made by or on behalf of any federal institution concerned.

Marginal note:Contents of report

 The Commissioner may disclose in any report made under subsection 65(3) or section 66 or 67 such matters as in his opinion ought to be disclosed in order to establish the grounds for any conclusions and recommendations contained therein, but in so doing shall take every reasonable precaution to avoid disclosing any matter the disclosure of which would or might be prejudicial to the defence or security of Canada or any state allied or associated with Canada.

Marginal note:Transmission of report

  •  (1) Every report to Parliament made by the Commissioner under subsection 65(3) or section 66 or 67 shall be made by being transmitted to the Speaker of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Commons for tabling respectively in those Houses.

  • Marginal note:Reference to parliamentary committee

    (2) Every report referred to in subsection (1) shall, after it is transmitted for tabling pursuant to that subsection, be referred to the committee designated or established by Parliament for the purpose of section 88.

Delegation

Marginal note:Delegation by Commissioner

 The Commissioner may authorize any person to exercise or perform, subject to such restrictions or limitations as the Commissioner may specify, any of the powers, duties or functions of the Commissioner under this or any other Act of Parliament except

  • (a) the power to delegate under this section; and

  • (b) the powers, duties or functions set out in sections 63, 65 to 69 and 78.

General

Marginal note:Security requirements

 The Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner who receives or obtains information relating to any investigation under this Act shall, with respect to access to and the use of such information, satisfy any security requirements applicable to, and take any oath of secrecy required to be taken by, persons who normally have access to and use of such information.

Marginal note:Confidentiality

 Subject to this Act, the Commissioner and every person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner shall not disclose any information that comes to their knowledge in the performance of their duties and functions under this Act.

Marginal note:Disclosure authorized

 The Commissioner may disclose or may authorize any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner to disclose information

  • (a) that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, is necessary to carry out an investigation under this Act; or

  • (b) in the course of proceedings before the Federal Court under Part X or an appeal therefrom.

Marginal note:No summons

 The Commissioner or any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner is not a compellable witness, in respect of any matter coming to the knowledge of the Commissioner or that person as a result of performing any duties or functions under this Act during an investigation, in any proceedings other than proceedings before the Federal Court under Part X or an appeal therefrom.

Marginal note:Protection of Commissioner

  •  (1) No criminal or civil proceedings lie against the Commissioner, or against any person acting on behalf or under the direction of the Commissioner, for anything done, reported or said in good faith in the course of the exercise or performance or purported exercise or performance of any power, duty or function of the Commissioner under this Act.

  • Marginal note:Libel or slander

    (2) For the purposes of any law relating to libel or slander,

    • (a) anything said, any information supplied or any document or thing produced in good faith in the course of an investigation by or on behalf of the Commissioner under this Act is privileged; and

    • (b) any report made in good faith by the Commissioner under this Act and any fair and accurate account of the report made in good faith in a newspaper or any other periodical publication or in a broadcast is privileged.

PART XCourt Remedy

Definition of Court

 In this Part, Court means the Federal Court.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 76
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 183

Marginal note:Application for remedy

  •  (1) Any person who has made a complaint to the Commissioner in respect of a right or duty under sections 4 to 7, sections 10 to 13 or Part IV, V or VII, or in respect of section 91, may apply to the Court for a remedy under this Part.

  • Marginal note:Time limit

    (2) An application may be made under subsection (1) within 60 days — or within any further time that the Court may allow, on request made either before or after the expiry of those 60 days — after

    • (a) the results of an investigation of the complaint by the Commissioner are reported to the complainant under subsection 64(1),

    • (a.1) the complainant is informed of the actions taken to implement the recommendations that the Commissioner made under subsection 63(3),

    • (b) the complainant is informed of the recommendations of the Commissioner under subsection 64(2), or

    • (c) the complainant is informed of the Commissioner’s decision to refuse or cease to investigate the complaint under subsection 58(5).

  • Marginal note:Application six months after complaint

    (3) Where a complaint is made to the Commissioner under this Act but the complainant is not informed of the results of the investigation of the complaint under subsection 64(1), of the actions taken to implement the recommendations that the Commissioner made under subsection 63(3), of the recommendations of the Commissioner under subsection 64(2) or of a decision under subsection 58(5) within six months after the complaint is made, the complainant may make an application under subsection (1) at any time thereafter.

  • Marginal note:Order of Court

    (4) Where, in proceedings under subsection (1), the Court concludes that a federal institution has failed to comply with this Act, the Court may grant such remedy as it considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

  • Marginal note:Conflict — compliance agreement

    (4.1) If there is a conflict between a provision of an order made under paragraph 64.4(1)(a) and a provision of an order made under subsection (4), the order made under subsection (4) prevails to the extent of the conflict.

  • Marginal note:Conflict — Commissioner’s order

    (4.2) If there is a conflict between a provision of an order filed under subsection 64.6(1) and a provision of an order made under subsection (4), the order made under subsection (4) prevails to the extent of the conflict.

  • Marginal note:Other rights of action

    (5) Nothing in this section abrogates or derogates from any right of action a person might have other than the right of action set out in this section.

Marginal note:Commissioner may apply or appear

  •  (1) The Commissioner may

    • (a) within the time limits prescribed by paragraph 77(2)(a) or (b), apply to the Court for a remedy under this Part in relation to a complaint investigated by the Commissioner if the Commissioner has the consent of the complainant;

    • (b) appear before the Court on behalf of any person who has applied under section 77 for a remedy under this Part; or

    • (c) with leave of the Court, appear as a party to any proceedings under this Part.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (1.1) Despite paragraph (1)(a), if the Commissioner makes an order under subsection 64.5(1), the Commissioner

    • (a) is not permitted to make an application under paragraph (1)(a) in respect of any matter that is the subject of the order; and

    • (b) shall withdraw any applications that were made under paragraph (1)(a) in respect of any matter that is the subject of the order.

  • Marginal note:Complainant may appear as party

    (2) Where the Commissioner makes an application under paragraph (1)(a), the complainant may appear as a party to any proceedings resulting from the application.

  • Marginal note:Capacity to intervene

    (3) Nothing in this section abrogates or derogates from the capacity of the Commissioner to seek leave to intervene in any judicial proceedings relating to the status or use of English or French.

Marginal note:Review by Court — complainant

  •  (1) A person who makes a complaint described in subsection 64.5(1) and who receives a notice under subsection 64.5(5) in respect of the complaint may, within 30 business days after the day on which the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution receives the notice, apply to the Court for a review of any matter that is the subject of the order set out in the notice.

  • Marginal note:Review by Court — federal institution

    (2) A federal institution may, within 30 business days after the day on which its deputy head or other administrative head receives a notice under subsection 64.5(5), apply to the Court for a review of any matter that is the subject of the order set out in the notice.

  • Marginal note:Respondents

    (3) A complainant who applies for a review under subsection (1) may name only the federal institution concerned as the respondent to the proceedings. A federal institution that applies for a review under subsection (2) may name only the Commissioner as the respondent to the proceedings.

  • Marginal note:Deemed date of receipt

    (4) For the purposes of this section, the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution is deemed to have received the notice on the fifth business day after the date of the notice.

Marginal note:Order stayed

  •  (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), the making of an application under section 78.1 operates as a stay of the order set out in the notice received under subsection 64.5(5) until the proceedings are finally concluded.

  • Marginal note:Cancellation or suspension of stay by Court

    (2) The Court may cancel the stay of the order or may suspend the operation of the stay temporarily subject to any terms that it considers appropriate.

  • Marginal note:Part of order operative

    (3) Any part of the order that relates to a matter that is not the subject of the proceedings becomes operative.

Marginal note:Party to review — federal institution

  •  (1) If a complainant who receives a notice under subsection 64.5(5) applies to the Court for a review under subsection 78.1(1), the federal institution whose deputy head or other administrative head received the notice under subsection 64.5(5) has the right to appear as a party to the review.

  • Marginal note:Party to review — complainant

    (2) If the federal institution whose deputy head or other administrative head receives a notice under subsection 64.5(5) applies to the Court for a review under subsection 78.1(2), the complainant who received the notice under subsection 64.5(5) has the right to appear as a party to the review.

  • Marginal note:Scope of proceeding

    (3) If a complainant files notice of their intention to appear as a party to a review with the Court within 10 business days after the expiry of the period referred to in subsection 78.1(2), they may raise for determination by the Court any matter in respect of which they may make an application under subsection 78.1(1).

Marginal note:Appearance by Commissioner

 The Commissioner may

  • (a) appear before the Court on behalf of a complainant; or

  • (b) appear as a party to any review applied for under section 78.1.

Marginal note:Service of originating document

  •  (1) If a complainant makes an application for a review under subsection 78.1(1), they shall immediately serve a copy of the originating document on the deputy head or other administrative head of the federal institution whose deputy head or other administrative head received the notice under subsection 64.5(5).

  • Marginal note:Service or notice

    (2) If a federal institution makes an application for a review under subsection 78.1(2), its deputy head or other administrative head shall immediately serve a copy of the originating document on the Commissioner. However, if the deputy head or other administrative head of a federal institution is served with a copy of an originating document under subsection (1), that deputy head or other administrative head shall, as soon as possible after being served, give written notice of the application to the Commissioner, unless the Commissioner has already been served with a copy of the document.

Marginal note:De novo review

 For greater certainty, an application under section 78.1 is to be heard and determined as a new proceeding.

Marginal note:Order of Court

 The Court shall, in respect of any matter that is the subject of the proceedings,

  • (a) make an order declaring that the federal institution concerned is required to comply with the provisions of the Commissioner’s order that relate to that matter;

  • (b) make an order declaring that the federal institution concerned is not required to comply with the provisions of the Commissioner’s order that relate to that matter; or

  • (c) make any other order that it considers appropriate.

Marginal note:Incompatible provisions

  •  (1) An order of the Court made under section 78.7 has the effect of rescinding the provisions of the Commissioner’s order relating to any matter that is the subject of the proceedings that are incompatible with the Court’s order.

  • Marginal note:Specification of rescinded provisions

    (2) The Court must specify in any order that it makes the provisions of the Commissioner’s order that are rescinded under subsection (1).

Marginal note:Evidence relating to similar complaint

 In proceedings under this Part relating to a complaint against a federal institution, the Court may admit as evidence information relating to any similar complaint under this Act in respect of the same federal institution.

Marginal note:Hearing in summary manner

 An application made under section 77 shall be heard and determined in a summary manner in accordance with any special rules made in respect of such applications pursuant to section 46 of the Federal Courts Act.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 80
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 182

Marginal note:Costs

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), the costs of and incidental to all proceedings in the Court under this Act shall be in the discretion of the Court and shall follow the event unless the Court orders otherwise.

  • Marginal note:Costs

    (2) If the Court is of the opinion that an application under section 77 or 78.1 has raised an important new principle in relation to this Act, the Court shall order that costs be awarded to the applicant even if the applicant has not been successful in the result.

PART XIGeneral

Marginal note:Primacy of Parts I to V

  •  (1) In the event of any inconsistency between the following Parts and any other Act of Parliament or regulation thereunder, the following Parts prevail to the extent of the inconsistency:

    • (a) Part I (Proceedings of Parliament);

    • (b) Part II (Legislative and other Instruments);

    • (c) Part III (Administration of Justice);

    • (d) Part IV (Communications with and Services to the Public); and

    • (e) Part V (Language of Work).

  • Marginal note:Canadian Human Rights Act excepted

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the Canadian Human Rights Act or any regulation made thereunder.

Marginal note:Rights relating to other languages

  •  (1) Nothing in this Act abrogates or derogates from any legal or customary right acquired or enjoyed either before or after the coming into force of this Act with respect to any language other than English or French, including any Indigenous language.

  • Marginal note:Maintenance of linguistic heritage

    (2) Nothing in this Act shall be interpreted in a manner that is inconsistent with the maintenance and enhancement of languages other than English or French, nor with the reclamation, revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous languages.

Marginal note:Consultations

 If the Governor in Council proposes to make a regulation under a provision of this Act, the minister of the Crown who is responsible for the provision shall, at a time and in a manner appropriate to the circumstances, seek the views of members of the English and French linguistic minority communities and, if appropriate, members of the public generally on the proposed regulation.

Marginal note:Tabling of draft of proposed regulation

  •  (1) If the Governor in Council proposes to make a regulation under a provision of this Act, the minister of the Crown who is responsible for the provision shall lay a draft of the proposed regulation before the House of Commons at least 30 days before a copy of the regulation is published in the Canada Gazette under section 86.

  • Marginal note:Calculation of thirty day period

    (2) In calculating the thirty day period referred to in subsection (1), there shall not be counted any day on which the House of Commons does not sit.

Marginal note:Publication of proposed regulation

  •  (1) Subject to subsection (2), a copy of each regulation that the Governor in Council proposes to make under a provision of this Act shall be published in the Canada Gazette at least 30 days before its proposed effective date, and a reasonable opportunity shall be afforded to interested persons to make representations to the minister of the Crown who is responsible for the provision with respect to the proposed regulation.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (2) No proposed regulation need be published under subsection (1) if it has previously been published pursuant to that subsection, whether or not it has been amended as a result of representations made pursuant to that subsection.

  • Marginal note:Calculation of 30-day period

    (3) In calculating the 30-day period referred to in subsection (1), only the days on which both Houses of Parliament sit shall be counted.

Marginal note:Tabling of regulation

  •  (1) A regulation that is proposed to be made under paragraph 38(2)(a) and prescribes any part or region of Canada for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a) shall be laid before each House of Parliament at least thirty sitting days before the proposed effective date thereof.

  • Marginal note:Motion to disapprove proposed regulation

    (2) Where, within twenty-five sitting days after a proposed regulation is laid before either House of Parliament under subsection (1), a motion for the consideration of that House to the effect that the proposed regulation not be approved, signed by no fewer than fifteen Senators or thirty Members of the House of Commons, as the case may be, is filed with the Speaker of that House, the Speaker shall, within five sitting days after the filing of the motion, without debate or amendment, put every question necessary for the disposition of the motion.

  • Marginal note:Where motion adopted

    (3) Where a motion referred to in subsection (2) is adopted by both Houses of Parliament, the proposed regulation to which the motion relates may not be made.

  • Marginal note:Prorogation or dissolution of Parliament

    (4) Where Parliament dissolves or prorogues earlier than twenty-five sitting days after a proposed regulation is laid before both Houses of Parliament under subsection (1) and a motion has not been disposed of under subsection (2) in relation to the proposed regulation in both Houses of Parliament, the proposed regulation may not be made.

  • Definition of sitting day

    (5) For the purposes of this section, sitting day means, in respect of either House of Parliament, a day on which that House sits.

Marginal note:Review by parliamentary committee

 The administration of this Act, any regulations, policies and directives made under this Act and the reports of the Commissioner, the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Canadian Heritage made under this Act shall be reviewed on a permanent basis by any committee of the Senate, of the House of Commons or of both Houses of Parliament that may be designated or established for that purpose.

Marginal note:Section 126 of Criminal Code

 Section 126 of the Criminal Code does not apply to or in respect of any contravention of any provision of this Act or the regulations.

Marginal note:Parliamentary and judicial powers, privileges and immunities saved

 Nothing in this Act abrogates or derogates from any powers, privileges or immunities of members of the Senate or the House of Commons in respect of their personal offices and staff or of judges of any Court.

Marginal note:Staffing generally

 Nothing in this Act authorizes the application of official language requirements to a particular staffing action unless those requirements are objectively required to perform the functions for which the staffing action is undertaken.

Marginal note:References in Acts of Parliament to the “official languages”

 In every Act of Parliament, a reference to the “official languages” or the “official languages of Canada” shall be construed as a reference to the languages declared by subsection 16(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to be the official languages of Canada.

Marginal note:Regulations

 The Governor in Council may make regulations

  • (a) prescribing anything that the Governor in Council considers necessary to effect compliance with this Act in the conduct of the affairs of federal institutions other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, Parliamentary Protective Service or office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer; and

  • (b) prescribing anything that is by this Act to be prescribed by regulation of the Governor in Council.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 93
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 30
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 25
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 149
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 184

Marginal note:Review

  •  (1) On the 10th anniversary of the day on which this section comes into force and every 10 years after that anniversary, the Minister of Canadian Heritage shall, in consultation with the President of the Treasury Board, undertake a review of the provisions and operation of this Act.

  • Marginal note:Comprehensive analysis

    (1.1) The review undertaken under subsection (1) shall include a comprehensive analysis, over the previous ten years, of the enhancement of the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities and of the protection and promotion of the French language in Canada.

  • Marginal note:Indicators

    (1.2) The comprehensive analysis undertaken under subsection (1.1) may include any relevant

    • (a) indicators that are related to sectors that are essential to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities, including the culture, education — from early childhood to post-secondary education — health, justice, employment and immigration sectors;

    • (b) qualitative indicators; and

    • (c) quantitative indicators, including mother tongue spoken, language most often spoken at home, rate of anglicization and francization, language transfer and language of work.

  • Marginal note:Report

    (2) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall cause a report of the review to be tabled in each House of Parliament within the first 30 days on which that House is sitting after the report has been completed.

PART XIIRelated Amendments

 [Amendments]

PART XIIIConsequential Amendments

 [Amendments]

PART XIVTransitional Provisions, Repeal and Coming into Force

Transitional

 [Repealed, R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 106]

 [Amendment]

Marginal note:Persons appointed remain in office

 The persons holding the positions referred to in subsection 34(2) immediately before the coming into force of that provision shall continue in office.

 [Repealed, 2023, c. 15, s. 51]

Repeal

 [Repeal]

Coming into Force

Marginal note:Coming into force

Footnote * This Act or any provision thereof shall come into force on a day or days to be fixed by proclamation.

  • Return to footnote *[Note: Sections 1 to 93, subsection 534(3) of the Criminal Code, as enacted by section 95, and sections 96 and 98 to 109 in force September 15, 1988, and section 97 in force February 1, 1989, see SI/88-197; section 530.1 of the Criminal Code, as enacted by section 94, shall come into force in accordance with subsection 534(2) of the Criminal Code, as enacted by section 95.]


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