An opportunity to begin to update the French Language Services Act

Ottawa, June 5, 2019 – The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) and the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) are pleased to see that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario will debate the question of updating the French Language Services Act following the tabling of a private member’s bill by Ottawa-Vanier MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers.

“I thank Ms. Des Rosiers for continuing her efforts to move Francophone priorities forward before her upcoming departure from politics. I note that the content of the bill reflects the proposals unveiled at the November 2016 conference marking the 30th anniversary of the French Language Services Act. The member’s bill includes many promising ideas, including active offer and designating the province as a whole. Moreover, one section is devoted to reinstating the complete independence of the French Language Services Commissioner,” said Carol Jolin, president of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario.

Updating the French Language Services Act (FLSA) is the Franco-Ontarian community’s top priority and a long-standing demand. “A great step forward was made in 1986 when the Act was adopted, but today it should be recognized that the Act must reflect the realities and needs of Francophones in the 21st century. Now more than ever, the Act needs to be overhauled. We have taken note of the Minister of Francophone Affairs’ willingness to modernize the FLSA and we will continue to work with the Minister in carrying out this commitment,” said Mr. Jolin.

The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) and the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) also welcome Ms. Des Rosiers parliamentary initiative. “We reiterate that the time has come to update the French Language Services Act and we encourage the current government to take the necessary steps to undertake and complete this process to reflect the realities of the Francophone citizens of our province,” says Ms. Nadia Effendi, the AJEFO’s president.

Following the adoption of a resolution at last year’s annual general meeting of the AFO, the AJEFO, together with the AFO, formed a committee tasked with preparing a draft of the legislation. It is expected that this proposed bill will be unveiled at the AFO’s next conference in October. The reinstatement of a fully independent French Language Services Commissioner will be among the proposals put forward.