The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada, the national voice of Canada’s French-speaking minority communities, was very pleased to hear the Throne Speech send a strong message on the government’s plans to modernize the Official Languages Act. In the Speech, delivered by the Right Honourable Julie Payette, the government reiterated its commitment to “strengthen this legislation (…) taking into consideration the unique reality of French.” For the FCFA, this is a very positive statement.
However, the FCFA wants to stress that what’s required is a full overhaul of the Official Languages Act, instead of just strengthening the existing Act. Furthermore, the FCFA looks forward to finding out more on the government’s timeline leading up to the introduction of a bill in the House.
“We know from our government contacts that work on a bill is fairly advanced. With the government’s signal today, introducing a bill before the end of the year is very realistic,” states FCFA President Jean Johnson.
The FCFA points out that Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault has promised a bill on the web giants before the Holidays. “If that sort of a timeline is possible in this case, it’s most certainly possible in the case of the Official Language Act,” says Mr. Johnson.
The FCFA plans to pay close attention to the contents of the new mandate letter for Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Mélanie Joly. The Fédération wishes to acknowledge Minister Joly’s intervention to ensure that the Throne Speech included a mention of the government’s plan to modernize the Act.