Justice in Official Languages - Newsletter
No 11 | December 2014

At the citizen’s service: Towards the creation of justice information hubs

By Sacha Baharmand - Official Languages Directorate - Department of Justice Canada

Source: Microsoft Clipart

Source: Microsoft Clipart

“To ensure that Canadians can rely on accurate, reliable and easy ways to find legal information in the official language of their choice, Justice Canada will call upon an extensive network of partners to develop the concept of justice information hubs. To avoid unnecessary duplication of structures and to build bridges between organizations serving both official language communities, partnerships between minority community associations and organizations already serving the majority will be encouraged. These hubs will serve as a steppingstone for Canadians to become more knowledgeable about their legal rights and obligations and better equipped to deal with everyday legal issues.

Excerpt from the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, p. 18.”

As a regular reader of the Newsletter, you might have noticed that we often refer to the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund. This is because it is the main financial lever that the Department has established to contribute to the creation of diverse initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of the Anglophone and Francophone minorities.

In this article, Sacha Baharmand, a lawyer with the Official Languages Directorate, discusses a new approach aimed at improving access to justice in both official languages: justice information hubs.

First of all, let us recall the Support Fund’s objectives. On the one hand, it aims to increase the capacity of the justice system and its stakeholders to offer services in both official languages. As we saw in the ninth issue of the Newsletter, this can be achieved through training activities, such as improving knowledge of legal terminology, skills retention, and the renewal of a labour force capable of offering justice services in both official languages.

Sign post

Source: Microsoft Clipart

On the other hand, the Support Fund helps to raise awareness among the legal and official language minority communities about their linguistic rights. As such, it grants funding for diverse and multi-faceted legal information initiatives.

One of these recent initiatives is the creation of justice information hubs intended for official language minority communities. Established by a network of partners, including the Department, these hubs will be set up in certain regions of the country and administered by different groups.

The hubs will serve as a starting point where Canadians will easily be able to obtain legal information, support and referral services. Members of Anglophone and Francophone minorities will therefore be better able to understand the legal problems they are faced with or could encounter and thus be better equipped to deal with them. The services to be offered also aim to reduce costs and delays incurred individuals, as well as decreasing expenses for court agencies. This concept has already shown benefits, where implemented. In fact, it is a method of choice in several jurisdictions to offer free legal information services, while meeting challenges of access to justice. Let us mention, for example, Quebec’s Community Justice Centers.

Although these justice information hubs will not be substitutes for legal advice or representation, they will constitute a first-line referral service that will inform citizens and guide them in the right direction. To do so, the hubs will work closely with organizations in the field as well as with local authorities that provide services to official language minority communities.

As these hubs will soon be opening in various parts of the country, we invite you to keep an eye on future issues of the Newsletter for further updates!

For more information about the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund:

Department of Justice Canada
Programs Branch
284 Wellington Street, 6th floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Telephone: 613-941-4193
Fax: 613-941-2269
pb-dgp@justice.gc.ca

The Contraventions Act Fund: A concrete demonstration of the Government of Canada’s commitment regarding official languages

By Marc Dubois - Programs Branch - Department of Justice Canada

The Contraventions Act Fund receives funding under The Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities. However, the link between this fund and official languages may seem nebulous at first. We asked Marc Dubois, Senior Policy Analyst at the Programs Branch, to explain the fund’s objectives as well as its connection with official languages.

 Contraventions Act document

Source: Anik Sauvé

The Contraventions Act Fund, as its name would suggest, is intrinsically linked to the implementation and enforcement of the Contraventions Act. The Act provides an alternative to the summary conviction procedure in the Criminal Code for processing minor federal offences through the delivery and service of contraventions tickets. The Act also provides for the signing of Contraventions Act Administration and Enforcement Agreements with provinces, territories and municipalities. In practical terms, this means that a person who is alleged to have committed a federal offence designated as a contravention, such as poaching on federal lands, can be served with a contraventions ticket that contains prescribed information, including the amount of fines. The contraventions ticket explains the options available to the person: to plead guilty and pay the prescribed fine, or to plead not guilty and contest the amount of the fine or the ticket and request a trial. The advantage of the ticketing regime is that it allows a person who does not wish to challenge the ticket to simply pay the prescribed fine rather than going to court. By opting to use the contraventions regime, only minimal time and resources are required both from the alleged offender and from the court.

An important characteristic of the Act is that as it allows for the use of the existing provincial ticketing regime to administer federal contraventions. The province is deemed to be acting on behalf of the federal government when it administers and enforces federal contraventions. The Department of Justice must therefore ensure that the province has measures in place that allow it to comply with the language rights requirements that would apply to a stand-alone federal ticketing regime. These language rights include, in the judicial forum, those set out in sections 530 and 530.1 of the Criminal Code (language of the accused) and, in the case of extra-judicial services, the obligations set out in Part IV of the Official Languages Act (Communications with and Services to the Public).

In consideration of the costs incurred by the provinces to implement these measures, the Department of Justice established the Contraventions Act Fund. The funding provisions are an integral part of the Contraventions Act Administration and Enforcement Agreements, covering such measures as salary of court staff, language training, signage related to active offer, translation, and public legal information products.

To date, Contraventions Act Administration and Enforcement Agreements have been signed with British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, as well as with two municipalities, Ottawa and Mississauga. This means that over 80% of Canadians now reside in a province where contraventions tickets may be used and where persons alleged to have committed a contravention are guaranteed access to the justice system in the official language of their choice.

The Fund is a concrete demonstration of Canada’s commitment to access to justice in both official languages. By ensuring that language rights are respected in the implementation of the Contraventions Act, the Department of Justice fulfills its obligations regarding access to justice in both official languages. In doing so, it contributes to the vitality of official language minority communities.

For more information about the Contraventions Act Fund:

Department of Justice Canada
Programs Branch
284 Wellington Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8
Telephone: 613-941-4193
Fax: 613-954-4893
pb-dgp@justice.gc.ca

A Look at a few projects funded by the Department of Justice Canada as part of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities

Online legal information service

The Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique will develop an online legal information service to give Francophone litigants the information and help they need to prevent and resolve legal problems.

Alberta Regional and Rural Access to Justice

The Alberta Rural Development Network will work on a project that will address the issue of limited access to lawyers in regional centres and smaller rural or remote communities in Alberta. It aims to make more legal services available in French.

Services to Quebec’s Anglophone communities

Éducaloi will create resources in English for the Anglophone population and legal stakeholders. These will help increase access to justice for all Quebec Anglophone communities, including those outside Montreal.

Capsule 41

From left to right: Marc Dubois and Yves-Carol Monette.

Source: Anik Sauvé

From left to right: Marc Dubois and Yves-Carol Monette.

In each issue of the Newsletter, Capsule 41 presents a regional, policy or program coordinator responsible for the implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act within the Department of Justice Canada. We take advantage of the theme of this issue to present Marc Dubois, Senior Policy Analyst for the Contraventions Act Fund, and Yves-Carol Monette, Senior Programs Analyst for the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund.

Biographical notes

Marc Dubois was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, but apart from a few years spent in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, he has lived mainly in the National Capital Region. He studied literature at the University of Ottawa and has been with the Department of Justice Canada since 1992 and with the Programs Branch since 1995.

Yves-Carol Monette was born in Quebec’s Outaouais region. He began his university studies in Psychoeducation, and changed to Industrial Relations. He has a bachelor’s degree in this discipline from the Université du Québec en Outaouais. He worked at Quebec’s Ministère de l’emploi et de la solidarité sociale for several years, but for over six years now has been Senior Program Analyst with the Programs Branch of the Department of Justice Canada.

Section 41 Coordinators

As an Analyst for the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund, Yves-Carol Monette recognizes the importance of supporting official language minority communities when it comes to promoting and using their mother tongue when interacting with the court system. “By participating in the Departmental Network for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act, I feel like I am playing a part in the vitality and pride of these communities.

Having grown up in Quebec’s rural environment in the 1970s, where the nearest hospital was in an Anglo community, he experienced problems in accessing health services in his mother tongue. “I am able to understand the scope of the problems experienced by the members of these communities, for whom the availability of legal services in their own language is very important.” 

As for Marc Dubois, he works within the Contraventions Act Fund, a program aimed at ensuring that the services provided by the provinces on behalf of the Department of Justice Canada are accessible in both official languages. “I am proud of Canada’s linguistic duality and I feel that my work as Coordinator for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act helps maintain the recognition and use of Canada’s two official languages.

As an Anglophone with a French name, Marc feels that he is also living with these realities. “I met a lady recently who was convinced that I was speaking English with a French accent!

By participating in the [Network 41], I feel like I am playing a part in the vitality and pride of these communities.

Did you know?

Marc Dubois is a multilingual visual artist. In addition to speaking French and English, Marc has studied German, Italian, Swedish and Japanese. One could say that his art is as rich as his vocabulary!

As for Yves-Carol Monette, he is a foodie. Each year, he makes a resolution to cook, but he never puts it into action. So, when you come to Ottawa, don’t hesitate to ask him for restaurant suggestions. He will know how to direct you!

Marc Dubois
Telephone: 613-668-4818
mdubois@justice.gc.ca

Yves-Carol Monette
Telephone: 613-882-6756
yves-carol.monette@justice.gc.ca

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie

By Lise C. Sarault - Official Languages Directorate - Department of Justice Canada

To celebrate the 2014 edition of the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, the Official Languages Directorate of the Department of Justice Canada invited employees from the National Capital Region to attend a unique event on March 20 in Ottawa.

Some 30 young Franco-Ontarians from the Centre d’excellence artistique de l’école secondaire publique De la Salle, under the musical direction of Robert Filion, gave Justice employees a unique concert of music and songs entitled “La Francophonie d’un continent à l’autre.” The mosaic that is our Francophone diversity was at the heart of this show, which featured Aboriginal, Franco-Ontarian and African works.

During the two weeks of the Rendez-vous, the Official Languages Directorate also invited Justice employees to play with words via the Language Portal of Canada. Employees engaged in word games on anglicisms, grammar and syntax.

The Department’s regional offices also took part in the Rendez-vous by disseminating interesting facts on the national and international Francophonie, as well as poetry by local authors.

In Vancouver, the Department set up an information booth for the Célébrations de la Francophonie, organized by the Pacific Federal Council’s Official Languages Committee on March 20, 2014. Federal institutions and Francophone organizations from the Greater Vancouver area invited the public to visit their booths and learn about the services, funds and programs available to enhance the vitality of Canada’s Anglophone and Francophone minorities, support their development, and promote the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie event montage

Source: Nadia Zwierzchowska

Montage: Anik Sauvé

Goodbye, Andrée!

From left to right: Associate Deputy Minister Pierre Legault, Deputy Minister of Labour Lori Sterling (former Associate Deputy Minister of Justice), Andrée Duchesne and Deputy Minister William F. Pentney.

Source: Greg Teckles, Teckles Photo Inc.

From left to right: Associate Deputy Minister Pierre Legault, Deputy Minister of Labour Lori Sterling (former Associate Deputy Minister of Justice), Andrée Duchesne and Deputy Minister William F. Pentney.

After more than three decades with the federal public service, Andrée Duchesne has retired.

Arriving at the Department of Justice Canada in 1994 after thirteen years at the Translation Bureau of Canada, Andrée notably coordinated the National Program for the Integration of Both Official Languages in the Administration of Justice (PAJLO), before joining the Office of Francophonie, Justice in Official Languages and Legal Dualism (now the Official Languages Directorate).

She dedicated the major part of her career to the enhancement of the vitality of English and French minority communities, particularly to access to justice in both official languages. She truly is a pioneer of linguistic duality.

The Department of Justice Canada acknowledged her important contribution by presenting her an award for her exceptional career. Join us in thanking Andrée for her hard work and to wish her a well-deserved retirement!

AJEFO receives honour

On April 24, 2014, the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario received the Ontario Bar Association President’s Award for its significant contribution to the advancement of Justice in Ontario or elsewhere. This prize notably recognizes two portals: Jurisource.ca, addressed to professionals, and CliquezJustice.ca, aimed at the general public. Congratulations to the AJEFO!

cliquezjustice.ca   jurisource.ca

See the press release.

OLQuiz

A dandelion is found on the flag of this region’s Francophone community. It is British Columbia, Nunavut or Newfoundland and Labrador? See the answer at the end of the Newsletter!

How to Reach Us

Justice in Official Languages
Official Languages Directorate
Public Law Sector
Department of Justice Canada
Telephone: 613-954-2998
Fax: 613-954-3294
E-mail: jol@justice.gc.ca

Answer to the OLQuiz

It is Nunavut. The dandelion, like Canada’s and Nunavut’s Francophone communities, is tenacious and persevering. It resists adversities and adapts to its environment, which it brightens with its colours.

Association des francophones du Nunavut flag

The flower on the flag of British Columbia’s Francophone community is the dogwood.

flag of British Columbia's Francophone communities

The official flower on Newfoundland and Labrador’s mainsail is the pitcher plant or Sarracenia, not the dandelion.

flag of Francophone community in Newfoundland and Labrador

Source: Heritage Canada, La Francophonie - Canada and the Canadian Francophonie, consulted on April 25, 2014.

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