Spread the love

Ottawa invests in the implementation of the new Official Languages ​​Act

Photo: Getty Images / iStockphoto Quelque 26 millions seront versés de 2024 à 2029 pour «appuyer la mise en oeuvre» du texte adopté en juin dernier.

Ottawa is setting aside $26 million to “support the implementation” of the new Official Languages ​​Act, almost a year after its adoption. These funds will be paid from 2024 to 2029 to the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

The Act to achieve substantive equality between the official languages ​​of Canada gives the Commissioner of Official Languages ​​the power to impose “administrative monetary penalties”. It also commits the federal government to ensuring the “reestablishment and increase of the demographic weight of French-speaking minorities”.

But since royal assent was granted in June 2023, the regulations which will strengthen this law are still pending, and certain institutions, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are still struggling to comply with its requirements, which the Commissioner of Official Languages, Raymond Théberge, denounces.

Also read

  • Interactive | Canada's 2024 budget at a glance
  • Modernizing the Official Languages ​​Act will become reality
  • A limited deficit, despite billions in new spending
  • Access to property, taxed gains: see the impacts of the federal budget on your portfolio
  • Editorial | Federal electoral buffet for informed gluttons

Politics, justice and education in French

In addition to implementing the law, the federal government wants to “support access to justice.” Nearly $10 million will be paid over three years, starting in 2024-2025, to ensure that federal court decisions are published in both official languages.

Ottawa also wants to “maintain participation in democracy” by investing in parliamentary translation services, which have been “strained” by “labor shortages and constraints in resource matters”. “People have the right to listen to and participate in their parliamentary process in the official language of their choice,” the budget reads.

Furthermore, as indicated in March by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, $1 billion in low-cost loans and $60 million in grants will be dedicated to non-profit daycares and early childhood centers to create “more of places” and carrying out renovations.

With no great surprise for the Association of Colleges and Universities of the Canadian Francophonie (ACUFC), the Liberals have not yet delivered on their 2021 promise to set up a permanent fund of $80 million annually for postsecondary institutions in a minority situation.

The federal government is, however, expanding Canada student loan repayment waivers “to a greater number of health and social service specialists working in rural and remote communities,” including dentists. , teaching staff and psychologists. Early childhood educational staff will also be exempt.

Applying a “French-speaking lens”

The impact of this measure on Francophones remains to be determined, judges Martin Normand, director of international relations for the ACUFC. “We have to ask ourselves whether the targeted communities actually have access to training [in French] in these areas,” he explains to Devoir. According to him, a “Francophone lens” should be applied to measures targeting the post-secondary sector, including the development of practical internship programs and the conversion of federal office buildings into student housing.

The president of the Federation of Francophone and Acadian Communities of Canada, Liane Roy, also believes that French-speaking organizations and institutions have been neglected in this budget and “remain in a situation of alarming precariousness”.

Last April, Ottawa announced funding of $4.1 billion for the period 2023-2028 — including $1.4 billion in new funds — as part of its Action Plan for official languages. This envelope aims in particular to stimulate French-speaking immigration and to finance education in minority contexts.

This report is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116