Ottawa, december 1, 2020 – L’AFO is joining Francophone and Acadian minority communities nationwide, today, in an urgent plea on a national day of Francophone solidarity. In the closing weeks of a year which has shown more than ever the erosion of the status of French, we are asking the federal government to confirm a timetable for modernizing the Official Languages Act.
L’AFO finds it very worrisome that 10 days before Parliament adjourns for the Holidays, the government has given no indication on when it intends to introduce a bill to modernize the Official Languages Act. L’AFO fears that a bill introduced too late may not be adopted before next election.
“The modernization of the Official Languages Act is urgent! It was a promise made by the federal government, who announced in the Speech from the Throne its intention to protect and promote French across the country. Now is the time for action! The government must act without delay because French is becoming increasingly fragile and we must protect it as one of Canada’s official languages,” said Carol Jolin, President of l’AFO.
Francophone and Acadian communities want a modernized Act which, among other things, would designate a central authority responsible for overseeing implementation of language obligations throughout the federal government. This would ensure that failures to communicate in both official languages in an emergency situation, such as the COVID-19 crisis, don’t happen again. A modernized Act would also commit the federal government, as well as provinces and territories, to increased efforts in terms of protection and promotion of French. It would eliminate obstacles to French second-language education, and create an official languages tribunal so that citizens can easily and quickly obtain redress for violations of the Act.
L’AFO is encouraging citizens to visit ourofficiallanguages.ca and write to their MP to demand immediate action for the modernization of the Official Languages Act. Now is the time for action!