A new Trudeau era of bilingualism demanded by interpreters

OTTAWA, Nov. 3, 2015 /CNW/ - Recent CBC and Toronto Star investigative pieces outlined a Mississauga-based agency's alleged abusive practices of not paying its interpreters and translators, many of whom are recently arrived immigrants. AIIC Canada, the Canadian chapter of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), is concerned about the working conditions of all interpreters and would like the Government of Canada to uphold the highest standards when it comes to contracting corporations and ensuring fair labour practices.

"This story represents the tip of the iceberg in a professional landscape watered-down by a lack of regulation and a significant increase in the number of private-sector language services providers operating in Canada. Federal government cuts, especially in the last decade, have obliged government departments and agencies to resort to inexpensive solutions for their translation and interpretation requirements." states Montreal-based AIIC member and certified freelancer Linda Ballantyne.

"AIIC Canada denounces unfair labour practices and any other measures taken by language services providers to downgrade the skills of new Canadians who have a right to equal labour standards and opportunities, such as through avenues of formal certification and recognition by professional associations in the sector. These providers have to be held accountable by government. Action must be taken to ensure that everyone is playing fair and by the rules." Ballantyne adds.

AIIC Canada urges interpreters of all statuses and certification levels to report complaints to the Ministry of Labour 1-800-531-5551 or to call 1-866-809-6841: the Information Leads Department with the Canadian Revenue Agency.

"AIIC Canada welcomes the new government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and is hopeful that the spirit of bilingualism in Parliament and government once championed by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau will be repaired and upheld. AIIC Canada encourages the new Minister of Public Works and Government Services to restore the Translation Bureau, the federal organization responsible for ensuring that the Government of Canada is able to communicate with and provide services for Canadians in the official languages, to its world-renowned status. These requests are made at a time when the government is investing significant time and effort in overhauling its procurement policies and practices for contracting conference and parliamentary interpretation services" adds Ottawa-based AIIC member and certified freelancer Nicole Gagnon.

AIIC was founded in 1953. It includes close to 3,000 members worldwide, in 89 countries and 23 AIIC regions. Members live and work in Canada and all over the world, but their most important client is the Translation Bureau that provides parliamentary and conference interpretation services in both Official Languages and Foreign Languages. AIIC Canada works for the benefit of all conference interpreters and for the profession as a whole.



For further information: Linda Ballantyne (514) 286-4310 (c) (Montreal); Nicole Gagnon (613) 619-4062 (c) (Ottawa); AIIC Canada: aiic.ca/contact

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