GATINEAU, QC, May 14, 2019 /CNW/ - The Commissioner of Official Languages, Raymond Théberge, published a follow‑up report today on the audit of services provided to electors in English and French by the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada.
In this follow‑up report, the Commissioner acknowledges that Elections Canada's commitment to improving services in areas of significant demand represents some progress in terms of fulfilling the institution's obligations. However, Elections Canada must now put these words into action in order to comply with its linguistic obligations.
In response to the nine recommendations in the 2015 audit report, Elections Canada committed to putting in place a number of measures to ensure service delivery in both official languages to electors nationwide.
However, the follow‑up showed that, four years later, the recommendations have been only partially implemented. Elections Canada has yet to formalize its core governance documents, such as its official languages accountability framework, its official languages action plan for the 2019 election and its official languages policy for field staff.
This situation is worrisome as, with the next general election just a few months away, there is a risk that the measures set out in these documents will not be integrated into Elections Canada's practices in time to see positive results.
In order to address shortcomings in the application of the Act by federal institutions, the Commissioner released his position paper on the modernization of the Official Languages Act on May 9. The position paper includes a set of clear recommendations for the federal government aimed at ensuring that the updated Act is relevant, dynamic and strong.
Quote from the Commissioner:
"The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada must show leadership and make official languages a priority to ensure that all Canadians feel free to exercise their fundamental right to vote in the official language of their choice," said the Commissioner. "This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, and as these issues show, a modernized Act with an effective governance structure is needed to lead federal institutions, like Elections Canada, to more fully comply with their obligations under the Act."
SOURCE Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
For further information: Antonia Papadakou, Manager, Public Affairs, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Telephone: 819-420-4879, Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368, Cellular: 613-808-9499, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org