Justice in Official Languages - Newsletter

Number 16: Summer 2017

The Official Languages Act in the Department of Justice Canada – the New Departmental Action Plan on Official Languages 2017-2022

In April 2016, the Department’s Official Languages Steering Committee gave the green light for the development of a new Departmental Action Plan on Official Languages 2017-2022 (Action Plan).

Ever since, the Human Resources Branch (HRB) and the Official Languages Directorate (OLAD) have been working closely together to prepare the new plan.

The Action Plan is a flexible, open framework that can be easily adapted to the government’s key policy directions and to the concrete official languages actions that the Department is planning to take over the next five years.

The Action Plan will identify the main sectors of the Department and individuals responsible for the implementation of the Official Languages Act (OLA) and their roles in doing so, and set out time frames to measure advancement in the implementation of the Action Plan within the Department. This is the first Action Plan to cover Parts III (Administration of Justice), which includes the language obligations of the Attorney General of Canada when appearing before federal courts, IV (Communications with and Services to the Public), V (Language of Work) and VI (Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians). In fact, the current departmental Action Plan deals only with Part VII (Promotion of French and English languages).

There were broad consultations throughout the Department, including with members of senior management. During these consultation sessions, and throughout the drafting of the Action Plan, our former official languages champion, Elisabeth Eid, and our new champion, Isabelle T. Jacques, both played key role in advancing the project, for which we are very grateful.

The new Action Plan is primarily aimed at Canada’s Legal Team as a whole, but also at community and government partners working with the Department of Justice Canada to implement section 41 of the OLA (Part VII).

The launch of the Departmental Action Plan on Official Languages 2017-2022 will take place as part of the Linguistic Duality Day on September 14, 2017.

Accountability: The Action Plan and the Annual Review on Official Languages

Section 42 of the OLA provides for horizontal collaboration between designated federal institutions and Canadian Heritage (PCH) for the implementation of section 41. PCH is also responsible under section 44 for annual reporting to Parliament on the implementation of Part VII of the OLA. The Annual Review on Official Languages prepared by the Department of Justice Canada for PCH is therefore accompanied by a copy of the Action Plan. Since the new Action Plan will guide the sectors responsible for the implementation of specific parts of the OLA and related policies and directives, it will make it easier to report on the implementation of the OLA within the Department through the Annual Review. A long version of the Annual Review covering Parts IV, V, VI and section 91, as well as Part VII, is produced every three years under the joint responsibility of the HRB and the OLAD. While PCH is responsible for the annual report to Parliament regarding Part VII, Treasury Board Secretariat is responsible for the report to Parliament regarding Parts IV, V and VI of the OLA pursuant to section 48 of the OLA.

Regarding Part VII, the new Action Plan will renew, without amendment, the policy statements and the program alignment architecture established in the 2011-2016 Action Plan. Every year, the Department will submit a short version of the review of the implementation of section 41 of Part VII to PCH, under the leadership of OLAD.

Although the duties arising from Part III are not included in the report to Parliament with respect to official languages, the Department of Justice Canada is committed to informing the public about them.

Patricia Ojeda
Senior Policy Analyst
Official Languages Directorate

Isabelle MacDonald
Senior Advisor, Official Languages
Human Resources Branch

A look at some of the projects funded by the Department of Justice Canada through the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund as part of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities

Feasibility Study and Best Practices Framework on Providing Legal Information Services

The new Association of English Speaking Jurists of Quebec conducted a feasibility study prior to the establishment of a service designed to provide general legal information to Quebec’s English-speaking community. According to the proposed project, citizens requiring legal advice and support, including formal representation, will be referred to the appropriate legal resources. The Legal Information Service for the official language minority community would be available online.

Cybersafety and the Law: Information for Youth in French

Through outreach activities to French-language organizations, Francophone schools, and schools offering French immersion programs as well as presentations at various locations in the province, the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador serves to inform young Francophones of their legal rights and responsibilities related to online activities such as cyber-bullying, the protection of personal information, and the distribution of intimate images and videos. The project enables the organization to provide legal information and education services to Francophone minority communities while developing partnerships with Francophone organizations in the province.

Study on the Use of Section 530 of the Criminal Code in British Columbia

The Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique is leading a study on the rights of the accused to a criminal trial in French in British Columbia. In addition to identifying the current situation with respect to the use of French in criminal trials in British Columbia, the study will examine obstacles to the use of section 530 of the Criminal Code and will propose solutions to them.

The Creation of Justice Information Hubs: Infojustice Manitoba

In the last few issues of the Newsletter, we have presented a new approach to offering legal information services, support and guidance to Francophone and Anglophone minorities: justice information hubs. After profiling hubs in Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton and Regina, we present the Winnipeg hub.

Source: Infojustice Manitoba
From left to right: Caroline Pellerin, Director of Infojustice Manitoba; Jean-Daniel Boulet, Counsel at the Department of Justice Canada; Jacqueline Blay, President of Société franco-manitobaine; Richard Chartier, Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Manitoba; Chloé Freynet-Gagné, summer student at Infojustice Manitoba.

Infojustice Manitoba, an initiative of the Société franco-manitobaine, promotes access to justice in French by providing legal information services to Francophones. These services include telephone or email consultations, one-on-one meetings, support at the court house, referrals to organizations or French-speaking counsel, and workshops and information sessions.

Infojustice Manitoba has been offering services since May 3, 2016, but the official opening was held on May 18, 2017, at its new offices at 614 Des Meurons Street, in the St. Boniface neighbourhood.

infojustice Manitoba

614 Des Meurons Street, Room 250
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2P9
Phone: 204-815-5274 | 1-844-321-8232
Fax: 204-977-8551
Email: infojustice@sfm.mb.ca

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Annual Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

The annual meeting of the Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages was held in Ottawa on May 30, 2017.

About 60 participants from non-profit organizations, national groups representing official language minority communities (OLMCs), universities and federal institutions attended the meeting. This meeting is a key component of the Department of Justice Canada’s consultations and conversations with OLMCs and the various stakeholders that are leading initiatives to improve access to justice in both official languages. This year, topics for consultation included systemic barriers to access to justice for newcomers and underserved communities as well as strategies and solutions.

To find out more about the role of the Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages, click here.


Question: This year’s edition of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie was held from March 2 to 22, 2017. Which edition was it?

  1. The 14th
  2. The 17th
  3. The 19th
  4. The 23rd

Find the answer at the end of the Newsletter.

Capsule 41

Meet Jean-Daniel Boulet, a counsel in the Aboriginal Law Unit in the Prairie Region and Manitoba’s Section 41 Coordinator.

Jean-Daniel Boulet

Jean-Daniel Boulet was born in La Broquerie, a small Francophone community in south-eastern Manitoba. After going to high school in France and earning his first degree at the Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface, Jean-Daniel was awarded a bachelor’s degree in common law from the University of Moncton in 2008. He has been working for the Department of Justice Canada in Winnipeg as a counsel in the Aboriginal Law Unit since becoming a member of the Law Society of Manitoba in 2009. Jean-Daniel began his career by representing the Crown in the alternative dispute resolution process established under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Today, he mainly appears before the Specific Claims Tribunal Canada.

Section 41 coordinator

Jean-Daniel’s commitment to the Francophone community of Manitoba helps him fulfill his role as the regional coordinator. He is vice-president of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface, an archives and research centre devoted to the preservation, study, dissemination and showcasing of the Francophone and Métis history of Manitoba and Western Canada. He also sits on a committee that supports French-speaking refugees seeking to bring their relatives to Canada. In addition, he teaches the commercial law course at Saint-Boniface University.

Jean-Daniel Boulet

As the Section 41 Coordinator for the Manitoba region, Jean-Daniel takes part in the Manitoba Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages and activities organized by community organizations, such as the Société franco-manitobaine and the Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba, of which he is a member.

Did you know?

Jean-Daniel volunteers for the Théâtre Cercle Molière, the oldest theatre company in Canada, and on Friday evenings, he can be found at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain, where he is a referee for the Ligue d’improvisation du Manitoba.

Jean-Daniel Boulet
Telephone: 204-230-9576

Official language minority communities reap direct benefits from many of the projects funded by the Department of Justice Canada even if official languages are not their main objective.

Spotlight on...

Adult Sexual Assault in Later Life: Enhancing the Criminal Justice Response through a Collaborative Response, funded by the Measures to Enhance Criminal Justice System Responses to Adult Sexual Assault in Canada

Located in Shediac, New Brunswick, the Beauséjour Family Crisis Resource Centre will develop and deliver a cross-sector training program on trauma-informed approaches to addressing the unique needs of older female victims of sexual assault when navigating the criminal justice system. The project’s collaborative and multi-sectorial approach will help increase efforts in screening, assessment, intervention and provision of services to older abused women to increase their access to and confidence in the criminal justice system.

Afro-Cultural Intervention Program for Addiction Treatment, funded by the Youth Justice Fund

Action et Développement Jeunesse will develop and implement a holistic treatment program for substance abuse in the national capital region, one that is culturally tailored to young Francophone immigrants who have been involved with the criminal justice system. Interventions will include the rehabilitation and social reintegration of youth, the strengthening of the capacity of families and community stakeholders to support youth with addictions and the development of substance abuse resources and information tools. Over the next three years, the organization plans to work with 60 to 80 youths, from 12 to 17 years old.

Trauma-Informed Justice for Victims and Survivors of Sexualized Violence, funded by the Measures to Enhance Criminal Justice System Responses to Adult Sexual Assault in Canada

The goal of the project is to share knowledge, build capacity and create resources, within a rural perspective in Nova Scotia’s Shelburne, Yarmouth and Digby counties to improve the experience and participation of victims and survivors of sexualized violence in the justice system. To do this, the Tri-County Women’s Centre will work with law enforcement, justice professionals, and non-governmental victim service providers in theses counties. Training sessions will allow participants to improve their skills and learn about a more victim-centred approach. Victims and survivors of sexualized violence will have access to a justice system with fewer barriers and less stigma to overcome, and they will benefit from more understanding and support.

Promote your activities!

Launch of the on-line Annotated Language Laws of Canada: Constitutional, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Laws

Fall 2017

The Annotated Language Laws of Canada: Constitutional, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Laws will be launched in the fall of 2017. The book will be available to the public free of charge and will include all constitutional, federal, provincial and territorial language laws relating, in whole or in part, to language rights (over 1,000 statutes and regulations), as well as an exhaustive review of the related case law (references to close to 1,000 judgements).  

The book will be published on CanLII, the Open Government portal, and Justipedia as part of the Department of Justice Canada’s contributions to the Canada 150 celebrations.

More information about the launch will be provided in the next few months. If you have any questions about this book, please contact Isabelle Palad or Helen Kneale of the Official Languages Directorate.

Annual Conference of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario

June 23 and 24, 2017, in Ottawa

The 2017 AJEFO conference will take place in Ottawa on June 23 and 24 under the theme of the Canada 150 celebrations. The conference provides a unique opportunity for professional training and networking in French, and it will include some surprises connected to the special events and activities being planned in Ottawa!

It will be chaired by Graham Fraser, former Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada.

This year, for the first time, AJEFO’s annual conference is accredited for 3 hours and 40 minutes of professionalism hours and 8 hours and 45 minutes of substantive hours.

For more information, visit AJEFO’s website.

The national French Language Institute for Professional Development (FLIPD)

Since 2005, the national French Language Institute for Professional Development offers a language training program to justice sector professionals involved in the implementation of the language rights of the accused under section 530 and 530.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Partners: Department of Justice Canada and the Ontario’s Justice Sector ministries
Date: October 23 to 27, 2017
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Participants: Crown Attorneys from all over Canada, Legal Aid Ontario Duty Counsel, Court Staff, Victim Services Staff, Ontario Provincial Police Officers, etc.
Information: mirjeta.dhamo@ontario.ca


Answer: c) The 19th edition of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie was held from March 2 to 22, 2017.

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie comprise festivities associated with the Journée Internationale de la Francophonie (March 20), which is celebrated around the world to promote the French language and its numerous cultural expressions.

Learn more about Les Rendez-Vous de la Francophonie.

Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie at the Department of Justice Canada

Les Rendez-Vous de la Francophonie du 2 au 22 mars 2017, participez  nos concours sur RVF.ca

Under the theme of Francophonie in 3D: Diversity, Duality, and Dynamism, many of the Department’s sectors marked the event.

On March 20, 2017, the Official Languages Directorate and the Human Resources Branch enjoyed celebrating the Journée internationale de la Francophonie in Ottawa. The screening of a short film by André Melançon was followed by a quiz, both of which were much appreciated by participants.

Thank you to everyone who attended!

How to Reach Us

Justice in Official Languages
Official Languages Directorate
Public Law and Legislative Services Sector
Department of Justice Canada
Telephone: 613-960-4856
Fax: 613-948-6924