Review on the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act - 2011-2012

Development of official-language minority communities (OLMCs) and promotion of English and French in the Canadian society (Section 41, part VII of the Official Languages Act)

Tangibles Results

1. What key initiatives does your institution want to highlight in relation to the development of official-language minority communities (Francophones outside Quebec and Anglophones in Quebec)? What are the tangible impacts of these initiatives on/in the (OLMCs)? What is the determining success factor for these initiatives?

The Department of Justice supports activities that foster the development of Canada's minority Anglophone and Francophone communities, including through initiatives that have sustainable effects. In order to consolidate its commitments to communities, the Department has adopted a Departmental Policy Statement for the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA). In addition, the Department has complied with its obligations under the OLA by incorporating section 41 and justice in official languages in its Program Alignment Architecture (PAA).

Departmental Policy Statement

The Department has adopted a Departmental Policy Statement that helps its officials understand the direction established by the Department for the implementation of section 41. The Department of Justice now applies the policy to those responsible for departmental initiatives within the framework of Program Alignment Architecture. In concrete terms, this means that when implementing organizational strategies, programs and policies, the Department of Justice ensures that the information at the Executive Committee and staff’s disposal allows them to consider the needs and issues of minority Anglophone and Francophone communities in Canada, on the one hand and Canada’s objectives of promoting the recognition and use of French and English on the other.

The project described below creates leverage to improve and strengthen the implementation of section 41 in partnership with various government and non-government stakeholders. It contributes to improving quality of life for communities across Canada.

Cliquezjustice

The Department of Justice has worked with the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) to create the legal information portal Cliquezjustice. The AJEFO launched the website on February 22, 2012.

CliquezjusticeFootnote 1 is a portal for French legal information intended for the general public. It currently serves the needs of Ontario’s French-speaking population and will shortly do the same for Francophones in other provinces.

The site is specifically aimed at elementary (8 to 11 years old) and high school (7th to 12th grades) students, their teachers and counselors. It offers games and learning resources for younger users, and an engine and tools specifically designed for their teachers.

The general public will also have access to legal information in clear and simplified language. Once the information from the other provinces is validated, the French-speaking population in these provinces will have access to the same information as the Franco-Ontarian population, thanks to the support of the other six associations of French-speaking jurists (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia).

This project is a tangible and concrete result of concerted efforts on the part of the various stakeholders within the judicial system to help improve access to justice. Francophone and Anglophone communities work together to reach common objectives, which include improving access to services for official language minority communities.

The success of these initiatives is tied to the departmental values reflected in the Department’s strategic outcomes, which are to ensure that Canada is a just and law-abiding society with an accessible, efficient and fair system of justice.

2. What key initiatives does your institution want to highlight in relation to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society? What are the tangible results of these initiatives in Canadian society? What is the determining success factor for these initiatives?

The Department of Justice puts out an electronic newsletter on the activities and initiatives emanating from Justice Canada and from its partners working to improve justice services in both official languages. It is now an accepted fact that access to justice is not only for lawyers and judges: justice is also an essential service sector for minority official language communities. Published three times a year and distributed to over 550 subscribers, the newsletter comments on various access to justice issues and highlights inspiring practices that are moving this file forward in all provinces and territories. Here are two examples:

Legal Terminology Training

The second issue of the Justice in Official Languages newsletter dealt with language training for justice stakeholders. In that issue, the Department presented the Canada-Wide Analysis of Official Language Needs in the Area of Justice as well as strategies, including financial support from the Department for the creation of the Centre canadien de français juridique (CCFJ), whose specific mission is to meet the demand and need for legal terminology training identified in the Analysis. The Centre is already highly recognized for the quality of its legal terminology training, and the level of participation speaks to the interest of justice stakeholders for the acquisition of the second official language. The Centre makes a positive and concrete contribution to the number of justice stakeholders who are able to provide services in both official languages, which corresponds exactly to the areas for government action identified in the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013.

Quebec’s English-speaking Community

As part of its collaborative efforts with government and non-government partners, the Department of Justice favours innovative projects and the adaptation of content and services to meet the needs of the community.

In the third issue of the Justice in Official Languages newsletter, the Department of Justice introduced Éducaloi, an organization working to improve access to justice in Quebec by simplifying legal information. Our Department has been supporting this organization for a few years in order to develop a site offering legal information to Quebec’s Anglophone community. This project does not simply consist of translating existing resources and tools, but in adapting the content to make it consistent with the Anglophone community’s cultural references. The project also includes the design of new material for this community. Thus Éducaloi reaches Quebec’s Anglophone community as well as Allophones whose primary official language spoken is English.

3. What key achievements with a regional impact does your institution want to highlight?

The Department supports several innovative projects with a regional impact. Three such projects are worthy of mention:

University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean

The project developed in cooperation with the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean is comprised of several components.

The main activities include a university course in French on the Canadian justice system and justice-related careers; a language training certification; specific courses to maintain legal French skills for justice professionals who work primarily in English and who wish to increase their service offer in French; summer camps to introduce youth to justice-related careers; partnerships to give defence lawyers an opportunity to improve their ability to practice in French; and the creation of a pilot project for a Community Justice Centre to increase access to justice in both official languages.

The multi-year funding granted to the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean will result in the creation of a Community Justice Centre, whose objective will be to promote access to justice by serving as a one-stop resource for legal information, support and guidance for litigants. This project is being developed in partnership with Anglophone organizations such as the Centre for Public Legal Education of Alberta, which also receives funding from the Department to develop tools and resources to educate the English-speaking community about the linguistic rights of the Francophone minority and to provide simplified, accessible and adapted information on access to justice in both official languages.

Nordique Action Project

Multi-year funding was given to the Fédération franco-ténoise for a project entitled Nordique Action. In addition to encouraging youth to get involved as citizens, this project aims to reduce violence, school dropout rates and juvenile delinquency, and promotes positive dispute management by encouraging youth to engage and to make their environment safer and founded on individual respect. The project will explore the consequences of legal action, the impact on their lives and that of the community, the consequences of a judicial process and the right to access to justice in French.

Young Francophone Immigrants

Multi-year funding was given to a Toronto community organization called La Passerelle — Intégration et développement économique for a project to educate Francophone immigrants and their mothers about the justice system and justice-related career opportunities. The Department of Justice is increasing its ties with new partners, such as La Passerelle, which are able to offer new services to the community and to reach new clienteles.

This project is being developed jointly with the Réseau des femmes afro-canadiennes francophones, the Fédération des associations de juristes d'expression française de common law inc. and the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario.

La Passerelle will present eight workshops in Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton on topics related to criminal law, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and language rights. These activities also include a job fair on justice-related careers; training on cultural skills to help the various justice stakeholders better serve their immigrant clienteles; and the development of promotional activities and culturally adapted tools.

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