Justice in Official Languages - Newsletter
No 13 | December 2015
Network of Stakeholders Working in the Field of Justice and Security “continues its work and increases the scope of its efforts”
By Robert Doyle, Chief, Executive Secretariat, Public Prosecution Service of Canada and Monique Landry, Policy Analyst, Official Languages Branch, Canadian Heritage
Section 41 in Part VII of the Official Languages Act reflects the commitment of all federal departments and agencies to enhancing the vitality and development of English and French linguistic minority communities as well as fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.
There is a network within the federal government that brings together all institutions that share, directly or indirectly, a justice and security mandate and who work in close collaboration to ensure the implementation of Part VII of the OLA. We asked members of the Network to tell us about their very interesting governance mechanism.
Created in 2007 on the initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Network of Stakeholders Working in the Field of Justice and Security now has the wind in its sails. By involving ten federal institutions working in concert for over eight years — the Canada Border Services Agency; Canadian Heritage; Correctional Services Canada; Health Canada; Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Justice Canada; National Defence; the Public Prosecution Service of Canada; Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada; and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)—the Network aims to help these institutions better fulfill their obligations under Part VII of the Official Languages Act. Most importantly, it aims to provide all Canadians with the benefit of an organized and concerted action in sectors where they can make a difference.
Initially coordinated by the Department of Justice Canada and later by the RCMP, the Network is now under the guidance of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada for the next two years.
Armed with a three-year plan, the Network has set clear goals and is taking concrete action to reach them. These goals include exchanging information about practices, mechanisms and knowledge pertaining to justice and security issues in the area of official languages. They are also intended to enable institutions in the Network to develop shared mechanisms for consulting and engaging with communities, to make services available to Anglophone and Francophone minorities, and, in a more pragmatic fashion, to provide data for the institutions’ annual reports on official languages.
The action plan has already yielded tangible results. For example, it has led to the creation of a communication and exchange platform where one can find official languages reports from all federal institutions as well as a number of other documents that are likely to encourage increased cooperation among them.
In addition, the first issue of the Newsletter, in 2010, included an article about the Network that discussed the results of the Forum on Vulnerable Young Francophones in Minority Communities, which had been held in Ottawa and had brought together representatives of federal institutions and Francophone minority organizations. Since then, the Network has continued its work and increased the scope of its efforts. It is preparing a new forum on youth in a vulnerable state, this time focusing specifically on young Anglophones in Quebec, to be held in Montreal this winter. It will be issuing an update that will provide institutions in the Network with some approaches to address specific problems that can lead to delinquency.
The relevance of the national Network is now undeniable, so much so that for over a year now, the same spirit of sharing and collaboration has produced regional cells. The provinces and territories are being encouraged to set up groups adapted to their own specific characteristics and needs. Some very fruitful first meetings have taken place, and the follow-up has already led to some promising projects and initiatives.
Pooling the experience and expertise of institutions that share a similar mandate creates a dynamic of complementarity and cooperation. The Network’s members know, given the nature of the activities within their respective institutions, how intimidating it can be for someone to deal with the legal apparatus and its administrative mazes, especially when in a vulnerable state. As a result, many individuals from official language minorities hesitate to exercise their language rights. That is why the Network has made it its mission to work in close collaboration to improve access to justice and security for members of those communities.
Access to Justice in French: A New Pilot Project in Ontario
By Anik Sauvé, Senior Policy Analyst, Official Languages Directorate, Department of Justice Canada
Since May 2015, the Ottawa Courthouse has been the scene of a pilot project aimed at providing a
seamless access to justice in French. We present here a brief overview of the new initiatives put into place.
Source: Anik Sauvé
The methods used in the pilot project at the Ottawa Courthouse are based on the principles of active offer and are designed to ensure a seamless judicial process, without the delays or additional hurdles that could sometimes be associated with a request for services in French.
To reach this goal, more signs have been installed indicating that French-language services are available, along with big screens displaying information about the right to services in French. In addition, when a client now selects a French-language services ticket, the queue management system notifies the clerks electronically.
This pilot project is implementing concrete measures in response to some of the recommendations made in the Access to Justice in French report, better known as the Rouleau-LeVay report, and in the 2013-2014 Annual Report of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario.
In addition to an implementation committee, comprised of the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Aid Ontario, a legal community engagement committee was put into place. Chaired by the Office of Francophone Affairs, it includes members of the judiciary of both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Ontario, the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and the Department of Justice Canada, as well as jurists from the Ottawa region. A consultation also took place with Ottawa’s Francophone community.
The project garnered the support of some major names for its launch, on May 29, 2015. The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General and Minister of Francophone Affairs, the Honourable George Strathy, Chief Justice of Ontario, the Honourable Heather Forster Smith, Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, and the Honourable Lise T. Maisonneuve, Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, have all said they are pleased with this pilot project and its potential benefits.
The results of the pilot project will help determine if measures will be implemented in other courthouses across the province. We invite you to keep an eye out for the next issues of the Newsletter to discover the impact of this important initiative.
“This pilot will help us identify best practices for making justice services more accessible to Franco-Ontarians province wide.”
— Madeleine Meilleur, Attorney General and and Minister of Francophone Affairs
Residents of the Ottawa area who wish to know more about their language rights or any other area of law can simply go to the Ottawa Legal Information Centre. It is only a six-minute walk from the courthouse!
Interview with a summer student
Last spring, the Official Languages Directorate hired a student to work with the Justice in Official Languages Team. We invite you to meet Kaitlyn Chiasson, who granted us this interview.
Source: Anik Sauvé
Kaitlyn, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am from Fort Frances, Ontario. In September 2015, I returned to the University of Ottawa for my third year in the Honours BSc Specialization in the Psychology program (French Immersion).
What were your main tasks this summer?
One of my first tasks was to do some research into the main organizations that represent official language minority communities (OLMCs) in each province and territory. Specifically, I looked at their strategic plans to determine their particular objectives in the area of justice.
I also updated different databases. The list of community organizations is exhaustive. I was surprised at the number of groups who work in the area of justice and official languages. As for the funding database, it enabled me to get a glimpse into the sorts of projects that have been funded in the past.
My largest project was to complete statistical profiles of the OLMCs in each province and territory. The summaries and graphics that I prepared are also useful for visualizing the demographics of the communities, which will help with strategic planning and with the implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA). Some of these statistics were also included in an interactive training game developed for the upcoming annual meeting of the Network of Coordinators Responsible for the Implementation of Section 41 of the OLA.
I also helped out with the organization of the Linguistic Duality Day, which took place on September 10, 2015.
What did you appreciate the most about your experience here?
I have been a French Immersion student since kindergarten. However, outside of my small immersion classes I rarely, if ever had the opportunity to speak French. So, I decided to enrol in an immersion program at the University of Ottawa and further challenge myself in a bilingual setting; I sought a summer job in the public service for the same reason. Since joining the Justice in Official Languages Team in June, I’ve had the opportunity to listen, read, write, speak and even make presentations in French. This was a great way to improve my language skills while also learning new things about OLMCs and justice in official languages.
These past months with the Department of Justice have been both educational and enjoyable. Overall, I’m glad to have had the opportunity to work here. Thank you to everyone for being so welcoming and for helping to make my summer a good one!
Thank you, Kaitlyn, for your great work and for agreeing to do this interview!
In each issue of the Newsletter, Capsule 41 presents a coordinator responsible for the implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act within the Department of Justice Canada.
In this issue, we introduce Daryl Schatz, Regional Director of the Prairie Region Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio and Section 41 coordinator in Saskatchewan.
Source: Ian Schatz
Daryl Schatz is a native of Regina, Saskatchewan. After studying for a year at the University of Regina, he decided to continue his studies at the University of Saskatchewan where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 1982, an LL .B in 1985, and a Master of Business Administration in 1996. He was admitted to the Saskatchewan bar in 1985 and worked in private practice before starting a career at the Department of Justice Canada in 1998. He worked first as counsel, before becoming a team leader, then manager of counsel and support staff working on residential schools disputes, and finally Regional Director, Civil Litigation and Advisory Services in 2003. Since 2010, Daryl has been the Regional Director of the Prairie Region Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio where he oversees the legal services provided to clients in the Edmonton, Saskatoon and Winnipeg offices.
Section 41 Coordinator
Daryl regularly participates in activities aimed at increasing awareness of issues related to justice in official languages, many of which are organized by the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Saskatchewan (AJEFS).
“I have been a member of the AJEFS for many years. But since becoming a Section 41 Coordinator, my perspective on my involvement in the organization has evolved. Now I understand even more how important the AJEFS’s activities are for Francophones in Saskatchewan because they help ensure that they gain insight into a number of justice-related issues.”
From Saskatoon to Strasbourg
Did you know?
Some members of Daryl’s family are from the Alsace region in France. Having studied German until he finished high school, Daryl was able to accompany his cousin on a genealogical research trip to France and Germany in 2011. One of his fondest memories of that experience is an impromptu meeting with members of the local genealogical society, during which one of them was translating notes in the parish records from Latin shorthand to French while Daryl was translating from French to English for his cousin.
In 2013, he had the chance to go back and spend several days in the Strasbourg archives where he consulted old, original documents, including a handwritten census dating from the 17th century. What a fascinating trip! And what’s more, he took the opportunity to savour his favourite local dish: a tarte flambée, or “Flàmmeküeche” in Alsatian!
He’s planning another trip to France in 2016. Perhaps he will take the opportunity to pursue his genealogical quest in the land of his ancestors...
A look at some of the projects funded by the Department of Justice Canada under the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities
Pancanadian environmental scan
The Continuing Education Division at the Université de Saint-Boniface will prepare an environmental scan on training and tools for court interpretation, court transcription, and legal translation across the country. The study will help identify deficiencies and the steps to take to remedy them.
The Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique will launch an online-training pilot project on legal topics of interest to Francophones in British-Columbia. The modules, which include interactive exercises, will enable participants to increase their knowledge of the legal system and better understand their rights.
Long-distance training in police techniques
The Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick will study the possibility of developing long-distance, French-language college-level training in police techniques. During the first phase of this project, coordinators will compile and analyze long-distance courses already being offered and try to identify police academies that are able to provide this kind of training.
The creation of justice information hubs: another centre opens its doors!
In the last few issues of the Newsletter, we presented a new approach to offering legal information services, support and guidance to Francophone and Anglophone minorities: justice information hubs. After Halifax and Ottawa, the spotlight is now on the centre in Edmonton.
The Centre albertain d’information juridique, an initiative undertaken by the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta, opened on April 30, 2015. It provides free and confidential legal information, referral and accompaniment services, in person or long-distance.
From left to right: Ali Rachid, Director of the Centre; Pierre Asselin, president of AJEFA; and Fernande Bergeron, Director General of AJEFA.
Source: Sébastien Guillier Sahuqué.
The Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law will organize a training session for those responsible for the legal information hubs. It will deal with a number of subjects, including best practices, key issues, and current and future needs, as well as resource sharing.
The Department celebrates linguistic duality
By Norman Sherman, Communications Advisor, Communications Branch, Department of Justice Canada
Justice Canada marked Linguistic Duality Day on September 10, 2015 with activities across the country to celebrate our two official languages and raise awareness about their use in our workplace. Some 200 employees of the Department participated across all regions.
The national ceremony—broadcast live to the regions from Ottawa—was led by emcees Chantèle Ramcharan (Counsel, Criminal Law Poliy Section) and Éric Gingras (Senior Counsel, Aboriginal Law Directorate). The keynote speaker this year was François Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario. Justice Canada’s Official Languages Co-champions Elisabeth Eid and Philippe Hallée presented the Official Languages Champions’ Awards to the three recipients for 2015: Janet Henchey (Senior General Counsel and Director General, International Assistance Group, Litigation Branch), Kim Duggan (Legal Counsel, Civil Litigation and Advisory, Atlantic Regional Office and Section 41 Coordinator for the Atlantic Region) and Jean Daniel Boulet (Counsel, Aboriginal Law, Winnipeg Office and Section 41 Coordinator for the Manitoba Region).
At Justice, there is always an enduring regional flavour to Linguistic Duality Day. As in years past, each region staged its own local celebration with creativity, flair, and a sense of fun. Informal discussions, quizzes, games and food helped everyone enjoy the day!
Are you interested in the Department of Justice’s official languages activities? You can now consult our 2014-2015 Review on Official Languages on our website.
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The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) are both celebrating an anniversary this year. Which ones?
- FCFA is celebrating its 20th anniversary and QCGN its 10th.
- FCFA is celebrating its 25th anniversary and QCGN its 15th.
- FCFA is celebrating its 40th anniversary and QCGN its 20th.
Find the answer at the end of the Newsletter!
Learn more about the organizations representing the official language minority communities and their stories by visiting their websites!
Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA): http://www.fcfa.ca/fr/Qui-Nous-Sommes-_1
Quebec Community Groups Network (QGGN): http://www.qcgn.ca/history/
How to Reach Us
Answer to the OLQuiz
The answer is 3: FCFA is celebrating its 40th anniversary and QCGN its 20th!
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