Review on Official Languages 2018-2019

Prepared by:
Official Languages Directorate – Public Law and Legislative Services Sector
Department of Justice Canada 2019

2018-2019 Achievements for the Implementation of Section 41

Part VII of the Official Languages Act

Prepared by

  • Human Resources Branch (Management and CFO Sector)
  • Official Languages Directorate (Public Law and Legislative Services Sector)

Institution’s Name

Department of Justice Canada

Institution’s Code

JUS

Minister responsible

Hon. David Lametti, P.C., Q.C, M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Deputy Head

Me Nathalie G. Drouin, Ad.E

Person responsible for official languages (Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (OLA))

Robert Beeraj
Director, Corporate HR Planning, Programs and Systems
Human Resources Branch

National coordinator or contact person responsible for the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the OLA

Me Sacha Baharmand
A/Deputy Director and Senior Counsel
Official Languages Directorate

Regional contact person(s) for section 41 of the OLA (if applicable)

Me Wendy Divoky (British Columbia)
Deputy Director
Business and Regulatory Law Services
British Columbia Regional Office

Me Debjani Poddar (Alberta)
Counsel
Civil Litigation and Advisory Services
Prairie Region

Me Daryl Schatz (Saskatchewan)
Regional Director
Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio
Prairie Region

Me Jean-Daniel Boulet (Manitoba)
Counsel
Aboriginal Law
Prairie Region

Me Diane Dagenais (Ontario)
Deputy Regional Director and Senior Counsel
Immigration Law
Ontario Regional Office

Me Suzanne Trudel (Quebec)
Counsel
Immigration Law
Quebec Regional Office

Me Kim Duggan (Atlantic)
Senior Counsel
Civil Litigation and Advisory Services
Atlantic Regional Office

Me Alexandre Larouche (Nunavut and Northwest Territories)
Deputy Regional Director General
Northern Region
Northwest Territories Office

Me Alex Benitah (Yukon)
Regional Director General
Northern Region
Yukon Office

Development of official language minority communities and promotion of English and French in Canadian society (Part VII of the Act) - Ongoing Dialogue

Question 1

How does your institution ensure that it is aware of the priorities and needs of French-speaking communities outside Quebec and English-speaking communities within Quebec, and that it takes them into account?

Please specify:

  1. methods used;
  2. organizations/communities with whom you were in contact;
  3. how you took the priorities and needs of these communities into account.

Response

Departmental Network of Coordinators Responsible for the Implementation of Section 41

In order to keep abreast of the priorities of official-language minority communities (OLMCs), the Department of Justice Canada, through the Official Languages Directorate (OLAD), provides for certain consultative and engagement mechanisms. For example, OLAD coordinates the activities of the Departmental Network of Coordinators for the Implementation of Section 41 of the OLA (Network 41). Network 41 liaises with OLMC organizations across Canada and implements or coordinates the implementation of section 41 of the OLA. The members of Network 41 are thus closely connected to OLMCs and can attest to their priorities.

Network 41 coordinators made themselves available to OLMC members to answer their specific questions or inform them about the services provided by the Department of Justice in the course of different activities.

In Section 4, you will find a list of these activities which have allowed the coordinators to communicate with various organizations and communities.

Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

The Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages (Advisory Committee), which is mandated to maintain ties between the Department and OLMC advocacy organizations and their legal representatives, is another mechanism that keeps the Department of Justice informed of OLMC priorities.

The Advisory Committee has made it possible to assemble and be in communication with representatives of the federal government, universities and the following community organizations:

  • Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta (AJEFA)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique (AJEFCB)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française de la Nouvelle-Écosse (AJEFNE)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française de la Saskatchewan (AJEFS)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba (AJEFM)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick (AJEFNB)
  • Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law (FAJEF)
  • Éducaloi
  • Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA)
  • La Passerelle-I.D.É
  • Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN)
  • University of Ottawa (Faculty of Law)
  • Centre de ressources en français juridique (Université de Saint-Boniface)
  • Centre de traduction et de terminologie juridiques (University of Moncton)
  • Centre for Legal Translation and Documentation (University of Ottawa)
  • Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law (McGill University)
  • Department of Canadian Heritage
  • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Association of English-speaking Jurists of Quebec
  • Réseau national de formation en justice
  • Fédération des francophones de Terre-Neuve et du Labrador (FFTNL)
  • Société Saint-Thomas-D’Aquin
  • Université de Moncton (Faculty of Law)
  • Association des francophones du Nunavut
  • Association franco-yukonnaise
  • Fédération franco-ténoise

The Department of Justice Canada has taken account of the priorities of OLMCs by consulting their various representatives through members of the Advisory Committee and by contributing financially to their projects.

Apart from the abovementioned initiatives, the Department of Justice Programs Branch maintains close relations with OLMCs by means of project agreements funded by the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund (Support Fund).

Tangible Supports

Question 2

Did your institution provide support for projects or initiatives that contributed to the development of official language minority communities and/or to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society?

If yes please:

  1. describe these projects or initiatives;
  2. identify the type(s) of support (funding or other forms of support)
  3. explain the impact of the project or initiative on the development of official language minority communities and/or on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society

Response

The Department of Justice Canada has funded various projects of OLMC organizations through different funds. Below you will find a list of funding sources at the Department of Justice which have contributed to OLMC development and/or the promotion of English and French in Canadian society. In sections 4, 5 and 6, you will also find descriptions of projects that have been financed through these funds and their impact on OLMCs:

Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund

The Support Fund supports projects designed to improve access to justice in both official languages, notably by creating legal and linguistic tools, by offering workshops and training to jurists and other bilingual justice system stakeholders, by developing teaching material and by providing legal information to the public.

Victims Fund

This fund is intended to help victims of crime and facilitate victims’ access to justice and participation in the justice system. It supports the development of laws, policies and programs for victims, provides information about the consequences of victimization, victims’ needs and the various tools that exist, and encourages the participation of governmental and non-governmental organizations in the development and delivery of programs and services for victims. Funding has been granted to projects that affect not only victims of crime, but also victims of crime who are members of an OLMC. The impact of this funding is significant for victims from OLMCs who are already in a vulnerable state owing to their language.

Youth Justice Fund

This fund aims to set up special measures for violent young offenders and to improve the system’s capacity to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them into society. The rationale behind it is to invest in the future of young people. Projects have been funded through this fund with the objective of helping youth from OLMCs.

Canadian Family Justice Fund

One notable purpose of this fund is to improve family justice system processes and to broaden the scope of delivery of family justice services to meet the needs of those communities that are less well served. Projects have been funded through this fund with the aim of improving access to family justice for persons in OLMCs who are separating or divorcing, among others.

Key Collaborations

Question 3

Did your institution collaborate with other federal institutions or partners (municipalities, provinces, territories, private sector) as part of a program, project or other initiative intended to develop official language minority communities and/or promote English and French in Canadian society?

If yes please:

  1. describe each of these collaborations and partnerships;
  2. indicate who your partners were;
  3. identify the tangible results relative to the development of official language minority communities and/or the promotion of English and French in Canadian society.

Response

The Department of Justice Canada has collaborated with federal institutions or partners through the following initiatives:

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages (FPT Working Group) is one of the advisory mechanisms provided for the implementation of section 41 of the OLA. It is co-chaired by the Department of Justice and a representative of a province or territory sitting on the working group. The role of this working group is to consider the issues surrounding access to justice in official languages and to discuss best practices. The FPT Working Group also plays an important role in implementing solutions designed to improve access to justice in both official languages in various fields of justice.

In 2018-2019, the following entities participated in the annual meeting of the FPT Working Group:

Government of Alberta
Department of Justice
Francophone Secretariat

Government of British Columbia
Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General

Government of Prince Edward Island
Department of Justice and Public Safety
Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat

Government of Manitoba
Department of Justice
Francophone Affairs Secretariat

Government of New Brunswick
Department of Justice and Public Safety
Francophonie and Official Languages Branch

Government of Nova Scotia
Department of Justice
Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage

Government of Nunavut
Department of Justice
Department of Culture and Heritage

Government of Ontario
Ministry of Francophone Affairs
Ministry of the Attorney General

Government of Quebec
Ministère de la Justice
Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers

Government of Saskatchewan
Ministry of Justice
Francophone Affairs Branch

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
Department of Justice
Office of French Services

Government of Northwest Territories
Department of Justice
Francophone Affairs Secretariat

Government of Yukon
Department of Justice

The November 2018 meeting of the FPT Group was, among other things, an opportunity to share best practices with regards to access to family justice in French. This allowed working group members to expand their knowledge of work methods for assisting OLMCs. Below in section 5 you will find a brief summary of the annual meeting of the FPT Working Group.

Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

Consultative activities through the Advisory Committee are described in section 1.

Tangible Results

Question 4

If your institution had to highlight key initiatives (at least two) that contributed to the development of official language minority communities, what would those be?

  1. Please describe these initiatives.
  2. What are the tangible results of these initiatives on/in the official language minority communities?
  3. What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

Foreword

The Department of Justice Canada sees to the maintenance of a justice system that is fair, relevant and accessible, and to the delivery of high-quality legal services in support of the federal government. It also sees to the maintenance of a national bijural and bilingual legal framework in discharging its responsibilities, and orients its justice in official languages activities primarily around access to justice and the implementation of section 41 of the OLA.

With this in mind, the Department works hard to enhance the vitality of official language minority communities (OLMCs). For this reason, it plays a leading role in the implementation of federal official languages strategies, including the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 (the Action Plan).

With the announcement of the Action Plan, core funding has been restored in the Support Fund. In 2018-2019, the Support Fund financed 63 projects (11 core funding projects, 27 information projects and 25 training projects) and issued two calls for proposals, one in connection with family law.

Below you will find some projects that have benefited from the financial support of the Support Fund as well as other Department of Justice programs.

Response

Initiatives arising from Action Plan 2018-2023

Head & Hands Legal Program

The mission of the project is to improve the legal knowledge of young people from both the official-language minority and majority communities, in particular the English-speaking visible minority community of Quebec. The project offers legal information sessions and workshops on different subjects in both English and French, as well as public legal education resource material.

Although recent, this project helps people, especially visible-minority youth in Quebec, to understand their rights in various aspects of life and to help prepare them for when they have to interact with the justice system. Quite often, young adults have not been prepared for the legal world, and this project gives them access, in the official language of their choice, to various services that can help them properly interact with the justice system and learn more about their rights.

This project is a success because of its multidimensional approach, as it contributes to helping a greater number of young people in Quebec’s English-speaking community.

French-language family law website

The purpose of this project was to set up a French website specially designed to help persons in Saskatchewan who are in the process of separating or divorcing and have no lawyer, by translating the English site called “Family Law Saskatchewan”. The site was designed to contain, in simple language, the family law information that is found in the English version of the site. It also contains an interactive tool that allows people to file a divorce application in French without the assistance of a lawyer. This website was created by the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan, a non-governmental not-for-profit organization.

The determining factor behind the success of this initiative is the diversity and importance of legal information offered in French.

QCGN forum “No Justice Without Access: Working Together to Ensure Access to Justice in English”

On April 20, 2018, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) held a forum to spark dialogue between the community and the justice system with the aim of improving access to justice in English in Quebec. The Department of Justice Canada participated in and contributed financially to this forum, which brought together people from the English-speaking community, legal experts and officials in the justice system.

This forum served to advance the project called “Access to Justice in English in Quebec” and to establish a solid basis upon which to build. One of the aims of the “Access to Justice in English in Quebec” project is to develop an action plan that will make a difference for English-speaking Quebecers with respect to access to justice.

This forum was a success because of the collaborative effort between the community and key players in the justice system.

Justice information hubs

Justice information hubs provide Canadians with legal information and guidance services. Thanks to these hubs, located in five Canadian cities (Halifax, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina and Edmonton), Canadians can obtain information about their rights and obligations and also get help to prepare themselves for dealing with legal issues. These services are personalized and offered in French.

The Department of Justice has contributed financially to the hubs through the Support Fund. This investment constitutes a positive measure on the part of the Department to support the development of official language minority communities under the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023.

The determining success factor of the justice information hubs is the fact that the services are offered in French in the minority community, thereby helping to promote increased access to justice for OLMC members.

Vers la Voie du Renouveau (VVR)

The “Vers la Voie du Renouveau” (VVR) project was designed to implement a program that would enable young Franco-Ontarians between the ages of 12 and 18 who have been in trouble with the law to develop the social and work-related skills to help them find a job and become law-abiding members of society.

The VVR project has allowed these youth to receive assistance, in their own language, in becoming someone who makes a positive contribution to society. The project was funded by the Department of Justice under the Youth Justice Fund.

The determining factor behind the success of this initiative is the fact that it was designed to invest in youth and the future of young people.

Discussion forums for implementation of restorative justice programs in French in Alberta

The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Alberta (AJEFA) organized and held two bilingual information exchange and awareness forums in Edmonton and Calgary in December 2018 with certain restorative justice, crime prevention and victims’ services organizations, as well as practitioners in the field of law and mental health.

These forums established the nature and scope of issues relating to restorative justice programs in Alberta, and addressed problems encountered when delivering services to victims and survivors of crime who want to receive services in French. The Department of Justice Canada contributed to the funding of these forums under the Victims Fund.

The determining factor for the success of this initiative is the fact that it reaches people who are in a vulnerable situation in addition to being members of an OLMC.

Legal information portals

The purpose of legal information portals is to compile and distribute legal information for the general public. The determining factor behind their success is the effort made to make a wide range of legal information available to OLMCs. In 2018-2019, the Department of Justice contributed to the funding of numerous projects in connection with these portals, including the following:

Access to Justice for English-speaking Quebecers: A Capacity-building and Collective Impact Approach – Éducaloi

The project called “Access to Justice for English-speaking Quebecers: A Capacity-building and Collective Impact Approach” helps the Éducaloi portal in implementing activities designed to improve its services to English-speaking Quebecers, among others, by harmonizing its work with that of partner organizations in order to have a bigger impact on its services. The mission of Éducaloi is to inform Quebecers about their rights and obligations by making available to them accessible, high-quality legal information and education tools. The resources, information and tools developed by Éducaloi have been translated and adapted to meet the specific needs of Quebec’s English-speaking community.

The determining factor of the success of this initiative is Éducaloi’s collaboration with community organizations so as to build collective capacity for access to justice.

CliquezJustice.ca

CliquezJustice is a Canada-wide legal information site. It is a project of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO) which offers legal information in simplified terms for Francophones outside Quebec. The portal provides not only adults but also teenagers and children with a wide selection of legal resources to help them understand how the justice system works.

The determining factor of the success of this initiative is the fact that the portal helps a wide variety of people located all over Canada.

Intensive family mediation training

The purpose of this initiative is to set up and provide a three-day family mediation training session, in French, to justice professionals. The training deals with high-conflict situations of separation and divorce. Guides and tools developed for this training are also available on the Jurisource.ca portal.

The determining factor of this initiative’s success is its outcome or result, namely the improvement of access to French-language legal services for the OLMC in Ontario.

Side initiatives to Action Plan 2018-2023

Departmental Network of Coordinators Responsible for the Implementation of Section 41 of the OLA

The Departmental Network of Coordinators Responsible for the Implementation of Section 41 of the OLA (Network 41) is composed of regional legal counsel from the Department of Justice as well as program and policy managers. The role of these members is to liaise with provincial and territorial OLMC organizations and to implement or coordinate the implementation of section 41 of the OLA.

The Department of Justice Canada organizes a meeting every year for these coordinators; in 2018, this meeting was held in Ottawa on September 20. The members of the Network heard speeches by Isabelle T. Jacques, Assistant Deputy Minister, Central Agencies Portfolio and Official Languages Champion of the Department of Justice, and Jacinthe Bourdages, Director and General Counsel, Official Languages Directorate. They also heard presentations on projects funded by the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund, namely the University of Ottawa’s French Pan-Canadian Common Law Program and AJEFO’s “Cliquez Justice” portal. This annual meeting is also an opportunity for the Department of Justice to offer certain relevant information, for example, by reviewing official languages case law.

Apart from their participation in the annual meeting, the regional coordinators are also mandated to participate in various events organized by community organizations in their region or interdepartmental initiatives. The determining factor of Network 41’s success is the members’ sustained effort to work for and with OLMCs. As was the case again this year, the 41 coordinators have been very active in OLMCs through the following activities and initiatives:

  • Launch of the 30th anniversary of the Association des juristes d’expression française de la Saskatchewan (AJEFS)
  • Various activities of the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique
  • Outreach at various events (Alliance Française de Vancouver, Association des juristes d’expression française de la Colombie-Britannique — terminology workshops, Célébrations de la Francophonie Vancouver 2019, Rendez-vous Vancouver [film festival], guided tours in French, Les Pionniers francophones de Vancouver)
  • Meeting with the director of the Official Languages Secretariat to discuss issues of the Francophone minority community (Alberta)
  • Annual general meeting of the Société de la francophonie manitobaine
  • Annual general meeting of the Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba
  • Annual general meeting of the Fédération franco-ténoise
  • Forum of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN): No Justice Without Access — Working Together to Ensure Access to Justice in English (forum, roundtable and workshops)
  • Annual general meeting of QCGN
  • Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, Atlantic Region (organization and participation)
  • Journée Fransaskoise du droit 2019, organized by AJEFS
  • Official Languages Week in the Atlantic Region (participation and organization)
  • Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages (participation and panelist)
  • Workshop review of the Terms of Reference — Dialogue paper on active offer of justice services in French, Saskatchewan
  • Annual general meeting of AJEFS
  • Congress of the Assemblée des francophones de l’Ontario (AFO)
  • Franconnexion (Ontario)
  • Annual general meeting of AFO
  • Meeting of the Ontario Official Languages Interdepartmental Network
  • Réseau national de formation en justice (presentation on the various funding programs)
Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

This advisory committee was created to liaise between the Department of Justice and OLMC advocacy organizations and their legal representatives. The 2018 annual meeting was held in Ottawa on May 24. It brought together some 40 organizations and representatives from all across the country.

The annual meeting of 2018 was very productive. First, the participants were able to engage in a talk about the priorities of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023: Investing in Our Future. They also took part in two consultative sessions: one on the return of core funding in the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund 2018-2023, and the second on legal information service models. The participants also received further information about access to justice for the English-speaking community of Quebec and for communities that are less well served, particularly the Francophone communities of Yukon and Prince Edward Island.

The determining factor for the success of this initiative is the fact that OLMCs are very well represented by either their advocacy organizations or legal representatives in OLMCs.

Charterpedia

Charterpedia is a reference tool that offers information about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the purpose of its different sections, and any particular considerations related to them. Sections 16 and 16.1 (Official Languages of Canada) offer information useful for understanding the official languages provisions in the Charter and their application. An open government initiative, Charterpedia provides support to law professionals, including legal representatives of OLMCs.

Senior management’s commitment to official languages

In 2018-2019, to contribute to the development of the Government of Canada’s official languages policy directions, the Department of Justice Canada co-presided and/or attended meetings of the following groups:

  • Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions
  • Committee of Assistant Deputy Ministers on Official Languages (CADMOL)
  • CADMOL Secretariat (formerly the Assistant Deputy Ministers on Official Languages Executive Committee).

Question 5

If your institution were to highlight key initiatives (at least two) that contributed to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society, what would they be? (Please do not confuse with obligations related to Parts IV and V)

  1. Please describe these initiatives.
  2. What are the tangible results of these initiatives in Canadian society?
  3. What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

Response

Initiatives arising from Action Plan 2018-2023

Certification in Common Law in French (CCLF)

This project is the result of a collaborative effort between the University of Ottawa and some Anglophone universities. The CCLF offers students at certain Anglophone universities the opportunity to obtain a French common law certificate from the University of Ottawa. The program requires students at Anglophone universities to do an exchange at the University of Ottawa for one semester. This innovative project will help to increase the number of legal professionals able to offer services in both official languages. In so doing, it will promote access to justice for OLMCs outside Quebec.

The determining factor behind the success of this initiative is the fact that it is an innovative project that can increase the pool of jurists who are able to offer legal services in both official languages.

KortoJura Inc. Legal Language Evaluation

The purpose of this project is to set up an evaluation service to assess the second-language competencies of justice system stakeholders. KortoJura develops evaluation tools that can be used to ensure that participants meet objective evaluation criteria. As such, the project serves to identify training needs and develop appropriate learning activities so that participants can develop their proficiency in offering bilingual services.

The determining factor of this initiative’s success is the collaboration between legal specialists and language experts.

Jurisource.ca

Jurisource.ca is a portal created by the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario which contains thousands of legal resources ranging from the practice of law to its terminology (e.g., professional training tools, forms and precedents, glossaries, etc.). This portal is geared towards all members of the justice community, including law students. It also offers an electronic platform for news and legal commentary in French. The portal gives French-speaking legal professionals easier access to information sources allowing them to practice in OLMCs all across Canada.

The determining factor of this initiative’s success is its substantial number of resources in law and legal terminology and the number of collaborators.

Language training for provincially appointed judges

The purpose of this initiative is to set up language training programs for provincially appointed judges who want to improve their skills in their second official language. The program consists of two intensive sessions, each a week long, plus online training activities.

In 2018-2019, two training sessions in French were held in Caraquet and Shippagan, New Brunswick, and two sessions in English were held in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea and Moncton, New Brunswick. Each session covered a particular theme (e.g., narcotics, sex offences, motor vehicles, property offences, and offences against the person). A module on family law is planned for May 2020. In all, 41 judges took part in the French sessions, and 14 in the English sessions. Training activities include pronunciation and phonetics with a language expert, and practical and simulated exercises such as mock trials and court appearances. Additional activities permitted the participating judges to interact with the community.

The determining factor of this initiative’s success is the fact that this language training program is conceived by and delivered for the benefit of the judiciary. Not only does this initiative serve to promote English and French in Canadian society, but it also helps to improve access to justice in both official languages.

Jurilinguistic centres

Jurilinguistic centres develop products such as linguistic reference works in law, standardize common law terminology in French, write civil law works in English, and provide jurilinguistic consulting services. They are intended primarily for law professors, lawyers and legal professionals working in the legislative services of the federal, provincial and territorial governments.

The determining factor of the success of the centres is collaboration between legal experts working to offer specialized, up-to-date jurilinguistic tools.

In 2018-2019, the Department of Justice funded projects delivered by the following organizations:

  • Centre de traduction et de terminologie juridiques (Université de Moncton)
  • Paul-André Crépeau Centre for Private and Comparative Law (McGill University)
  • Centre de ressources en français juridique (Université de Saint-Boniface)
  • Centre for Legal Translation and Documentation (University of Ottawa)

Side initiatives to Action Plan 2018-2023

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages (FPT Working Group) is comprised of representatives of departments of Justice and attorneys general and officials responsible for official language minorities from the 14 jurisdictions. The FPT Working Group held its annual meeting in Ottawa in November 2018. It was co-chaired by the Department of Justice Canada, which was the organizer, and by the representative of the Government of Nova Scotia. The FPT Working Group’s mandate is to maintain ties between the various levels of government in the area of access to justice in both official languages.

The issues benefitting from this intergovernmental and intersectoral collaboration include Part XVII of the Criminal Code (language of the accused), family justice services, and the training of justice system stakeholders.

The determining factor of the success of this working group is that it brings together many partners who can have a direct and positive impact on access to justice in both official languages.

Promotion of official languages to employees

In 2018-2019, the Department of Justice organized various activities to mark Linguistic Duality Day (September 2018) and the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (March 2019). These activities brought together many employees of the Department to highlight the importance of official languages in the public service. For the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, for example, a concert provided by the children’s choir of École élémentaire publique Francojeunesse, a Francophone school in Ontario, was offered. Department of Justice Canada employees also attended the Department’s open house in the context of National Public Service Week to inform employees about resources available in the area of official languages. A video on Official Languages best practices, an information kiosk on the Justice Protocol on Legal Advisory Services in Official Languages Law, and a speech on bijuralism and bijural legislative drafting were presented during the Forum on Best Practices in Official Languages (November 2018). This Forum welcomed 200 participants representing nearly 100 federal institutions from across Canada.

The determining factor behind the success of these initiatives is the employees’ dedication to promoting official languages within the Department.

Question 6

What is the “key achievement” with a regional impact (progress or results in official language minority communities or for the promotion of English and French in Canadian society) that your institution would like to highlight?

Responses

Certificate in French Common Law (CCLF)

This project, the first of its kind in Canada, is the result of a collaborative effort between the University of Ottawa and some Anglophone universities. The CCLF offers students at certain Anglophone universities the opportunity to obtain a certificate in French common law from the University of Ottawa. The program requires students at Anglophone universities to do an exchange at the University of Ottawa for one semester. This innovative project is a key achievement because it will help to increase the number of personnel capable of offering legal services in both official languages. In so doing, it will promote access to justice for citizens of OLMCs outside Quebec.

Funding granted to the Quebec Community Groups Network

The funding to the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) is a key achievement because it will allow the organization to improve its website by adding information on justice-related subjects and to organize a forum on access to justice in English in Quebec. This funding will therefore help support the English-speaking community of Quebec in the area of justice.

50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2019

The 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2019 is a unique opportunity for federal institutions to contribute to the development of official language minority communities and to promote official languages.

Question 7

Will your institution take part in the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act?

  1. If yes, please describe the activities planned.
  2. Please identify the expected results.

Responses

The National Symposium on the 50th anniversary of the OLA will be held on May 27 and 28, 2019, in Ottawa. Canadians from every walk of life will be among the participants. Various themes related to official languages will be addressed, including demography, immigration and OLMCs. Two jurists from the Official Languages Directorate of the Department of Justice Canada are on the organizing committee, along with PCH and TBS.

For the occasion, the Department of Justice will also hold a moot court trial in both official languages. The trial in question will cover parts III and IV of the OLA. The participants include, notably, a judge from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice who is francophone and Indigenous, Madam Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin, and real trial lawyers.

At the Symposium, the Department of Justice will also organize and help present a workshop that will consider the legislative and judicial evolution of the OLA.

The Official Languages Directorate of the Department of Justice Canada also created an organizing committee that is mandated to coordinate activities and communications within the Department for the celebration and commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the OLA. The Director and General Counsel of the Official Languages Directorate, Me Jacinthe Bourdages, is a member of the recognition committee for the Excellence in Official Languages prize. She also sits on the departmental Official Languages Steering Committee.

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