TORONTO, July 18, 2018 /CNW/ - Ontario's French Language Services Commissioner, François Boileau, presented today his 11th Annual Report to the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the honourable Ted Arnott. The report, Looking ahead, Getting ready, covers the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner's activities from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, and makes 14 recommendations, including one to the effect that the province should adopt an action plan on the development of Francophone communities and the promotion of the French language in Ontario.
For his report, the Commissioner asked seven experts to write about several issues that affect or will affect the delivery of French language services, including demography. Unlike last year's report, which reviewed the 10 previous years, this one projects the Francophone population forward to 2028, and calls upon the government to prepare itself. Three demographic scenarios are examined. The best-case scenario shows that by 2028, in spite of expected growth in Ontario's Francophone population in absolute figures, the proportion will continue to decline, relative to the province's total population.
The Commissioner therefore calls upon the government to take action.
According to Commissioner Boileau: "The findings are alarming. We need to prepare for a scenario in which we will have some serious catching-up to do, notably on Francophone immigration and the aging of the population. A provincial action plan for developing Francophone communities and promoting French in Ontario would be a first step towards a long-term solution. I agree that it is ambitious, but it is also essential. It would give the ministries a framework and indicate the desired collective direction. The new Ford government needs to field the ball and immediately seize this opportunity."
The Commissioner made another seven recommendations on Francophone immigration and six more on demography, health, the production and dissemination of French-language digital content, the digital transformation of the government-citizen relationship, the restructuring of in-person public services and tomorrow's workforce.
"My advisory role is one of the most important assigned to me under the French Language Services Act. More than ever, the annual report includes valuable advice. Daring to think 10 years ahead is a perilous exercise at best. The very words used in the title, Looking ahead, Getting ready, are action verbs recommending that we face up to reality and do what has to be done. My goal is to mobilize public policymakers and engage Francophone communities in taking strong collective action," concluded the Commissioner.
In 2017-2018, the Commissioner's Office dealt with 315 complaints and requests for information, over two-thirds of which were admissible.
The report refers to 28 best practices, honourable mentions and initiatives that promote the delivery of French language services.
The French Language Services Commissioner is one of nine independent officers of the Legislative Assembly.
The mandate of the Commissioner's Office is to ensure that government services are delivered in compliance with the French Language Services Act.