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The Official Languages Act

The Official Languages Act was adopted in 1969 and amended twice - in 1988 and again in 2005. Its purpose is to ensure respect for the equality of status of English and French and their equal rights and privileges as to their use in federal institutions, and to support the development of official language minority communities and advance the equality of status and use of the English and French languages within Canadian society.

The Act applies to all federal institutions, as well as to businesses such as Air Canada and VIA Rail. 

The Official Languages Act restates and specifies the rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, namely: 

  • The right to be heard and understood by federal courts (except the Supreme Court) in the official language of one's choice, without assistance from an interpreter; 
  • The right to use English or French to communicate with, or receive services from, the head or central office of federal institutions; 
  • The right, under certain conditions, to use English or French to communicate with, or receive services from, the regional offices of federal institutions;
  • The right of federal public servants working in regions designated bilingual to use English of French at work; 

Under the Act, the federal government also commits to enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities and supporting their development, as well as to promoting full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society. Federal institutions are required to take positive measures to fulfill that commitment. 

Citizens who feel that their language rights have not been respected may complain to the Commissioner of Official Languages

For more information on the Official Languages Act, please visit the Commissioner's website

Bureau au Québec

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Québec (Québec) G1R 4A2
Canada

Téléphone: 418.692.5752
Télécopieur: 418.692.5820

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Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 5Z4
Canada

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Courriel : info@fcfa.ca

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