Commissioner recommends that the government close the loopholes in the French Language Services Act



    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - Ontario's French Language Services Commissioner,
François Boileau, tabled his first annual report in the Legislature today.
Entitled Paving the Way, the Commissioner's report describes the services
currently being offered in French by the Government of Ontario. Covering the
Commissioner's first seven months in office, from September 4, 2007, to
March 31, 2008, the report contains three recommendations, including that the
government close the loopholes in the French Language Services Act.
    "The government must take the next step of adopting clear regulations for
adequately governing the delivery of French-language services. At the present
time, the government has contracts with third parties and public-private
partnerships for the delivery of services on behalf of government agencies and
ministries. These service providers are not always required to comply with the
Act. As a result, Francophones do not get the services to which they are
entitled. This must stop," stated Mr. Boileau.
    The Commissioner also made a recommendation to the Honourable Madeleine
Meilleur, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, that the role of the
government's French Language Services Coordinators be revised. "Not all of the
French Language Services Coordinators have an opportunity to participate in
their ministry's strategic planning process. And yet these coordinators must
be in a position to have an impact on the development of programs and services
for Francophones," added the Commissioner.
    In making this recommendation, Mr. Boileau added: "It is time to redefine
Ontario's Francophone population. The government needs a more inclusive
definition that reflects the new face of the province's Francophone
communities with their linguistically blended families and newcomers."
    In his first annual report, the Commissioner made a number of
observations, in particular about active offer. He believes that French
language services must be designed and delivered in a way that reflects the
specific needs of Ontario's Francophones, and that if these communities are to
prosper, they must have access to high-quality services in their own language.
    Lastly, the Commissioner expects the government to respond positively to
his annual report and to follow up on his recommendations.
    "The McGuinty government demonstrated leadership in amending the French
Language Services Act in May 2007. I hope that it will show the same level of
leadership in responding to my report," concluded Mr. Boileau.

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   Between November 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008, the Office of the
        French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario received
        62 complaints. Of these, 43 were admissible and 19 were inadmissible.
        Since March 31, there have been an additional 42 complaints. Thus, to
        date, the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner has
        received 104 complaints.

    -   The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner has a mandate
        under the French Language Services Act to conduct independent
        investigations, either in response to complaints or on its own
        initiative, to prepare reports on its investigations, and to monitor
        the progress made by government agencies in delivering
        French-language services in Ontario.

    -   The French Language Services Commissioner took office on
        September 4, 2007. The Office team has been in place since
        February 11, 2008.

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                                                      Disponible en français

    To download the Commissioner's Annual Report: www.flsc.gov.on.ca
    





For further information:

For further information: Marie-Eve Pépin, Communications and Public
Relations Officer, Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of
Ontario, Phone: (416) 314-8247, Toll-free: 1-866-246-5262, Cell phone: (416)
906-7021, Email: marie-eve.pepin@ontario.ca


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