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

Act current to 2022-07-25 and last amended on 2017-09-21. Previous Versions

PART IXCommissioner of Official Languages (continued)

Investigations (continued)

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 of information by officer designated

    (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 officer of the office of the Commissioner appointed under section 51 and that officer shall, subject to such restrictions or limitations as 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:Threats, intimidation, discrimination or obstruction to be reported

    (2) Where 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,

    the Commissioner may report that belief and the grounds therefor to the President of the Treasury Board and the deputy head or other administrative head of any institution concerned.

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 thereunder, or any 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: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: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

 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: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:Limitation period

    (2) An application may be made under subsection (1) within sixty days after

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

    • (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),

    or within such further time as the Court may, either before or after the expiration of those sixty days, fix or allow.

  • 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 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: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.

  • 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 77
  • 2005, c. 41, s. 2

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: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 adjudicative proceedings relating to the status or use of English or French.

 
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