Commissioner Raymond Théberge reports on the state of official languages in Canada

The 2020–2021 annual report of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, Raymond Théberge, was tabled in parliament few weeks ago. The report describes the state of official languages in Canada and presents solutions that could help the federal government meet its obligations under the Official Languages Act.

Not surprisingly, Commissioner Théberge found that the pandemic has highlighted ongoing systemic problems in federal government institutions. He refers to the lack of bilingual capacity within the federal public service, a problem that is preventing the government from providing effective services to Canadians in the official language of their choice.  

Commissioner Théberge also expressed concern about the impact of the pandemic on official language minority communities, as it has made it more difficult to deliver community services and to host arts and culture events.

Another concern was that the government sometimes issued urgent safety communications in only one language, and Canadians had to wait for them to be translated into the other official language. As you can imagine, this is a problem that can have serious consequences.

You can watch Commissioner Théberge give a summary of his recommendations (in English) here

The Commissioner of Official Languages website also has lots of tools and resources for students, work teams (see photo), public servants, and immigrants and partner groups. 

Catherine Fisher, blogger

Image: Commissioner of Official Languages, resources for work teams