The AFO supports the FCFA’s proposed modernization of the Official Languages Act

OTTAWA, March 5th, 2019 – The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) unequivocally supports the comprehensive and detailed proposal for a bill to modernize the Official Languages Act which was presented this morning by the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada (FCFA).

“As the saying goes, a language that won’t evolve won’t survive. I sincerely believe that this also applies to legislation governing language. The law needs to evolve to adapt to today’s realities, otherwise it becomes outdated,” said Carol Jolin, president of the AFO.

The Official Languages Act needs to be modernized beyond the changes made in 1988 because it does not achieve all of the legislators’ goals. Modernization is the only way to solve the structural problem at the centre of almost all difficulties encountered with the Act.

As things stand today, the lack of centralized coordination is a major flaw of the legislation, the conditionality of the Act hinders its implementation and the power to delegate undermines the notion of accountability. The AFO recommends that the Treasury Board have full responsibility and powers to ensure implementation of the Act.

The AFO also believes that it is vital to integrate the concept of “by and for Francophones” in a modernized Official Languages Act. The Franco-Ontarian community has proven its capabilities in matters of governance, mobilization and implementation. The AFO therefore recommends that the Act include regulations defining situations where communities should be consulted.

“The AFO will support the FCFA in promoting this bill and will work to make the modernization of the Official Languages Act an issue in the next federal elections,” said the AFO’s president, Carol Jolin.

The Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO) is the umbrella organisation and the political voice of Ontario’s Francophone community. Its mandate is to assist the Francophone community across the province in working together and to provide community representation, in particular to advocate for the rights of Ontario’s 744,000 Franco-Ontarian citizens.