November 5th, 2019
November 5th, 2019
QUEEN’S PARK – Guy Bourgouin, the NDP’s Francophone Affairs critic, will table his private member’s bill today to protect the Charter rights of Franco-Ontarians and ensure that they have access to the services they need in French.
Bourgouin’s NDP bill aims to modernize the French Language Services Act.
“Doug Ford’s Conservatives cut Francophone services and eliminated the French Language Services Commissioner,” said Bourgouin. “Instead of reversing these cuts and moving forward with modernizing the decades-old French Language Services Act, the Ford government has dragged its heels.
“We are calling on the Ford government to commit to a timeline to take action on this bill to ensure that Franco-Ontarians in this province have access to services in French when they need it.”
Bourgouin said the current legislation does not reflect the cultural, social and linguistic diversity of the Franco-Ontarian community in 2019. MPP Bourgouin added that the previous Liberal government had 15 years to make changes to the law to improve access to services in French for Franco-Ontarians, but failed to take action.
“The legislation is over 30 years old and a lot has changed in the Franco-Ontarian community since then. We need legislation that represents and supports the vitality of the Francophone community in the 21st century, including the evolution of its identity as well as the access to information and government services in a digital world,” said Bourgouin.
The Act to promote the preservation, growth and vitality of the Franco-Ontarian Communityrequires the Ontario government to consult with the Francophone community every time the government develops or modifies a policy, program, service or activity that affects the linguistic rights of the Franco-Ontarian community.
In addition, Bourgouin’s NDP bill contains an inclusive definition of Francophone, obliges transfer payment agencies to comply with the Act and guarantees that agencies that have been merged, consolidated or re-established in some way, must offer French language services.
The NDP bill also requires the reinstatement of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner as an independent office.
“Without a modern law, and without an independent Commissioner, the Franco-Ontarian community remains defenseless to protect our linguistic rights,” pointed out Bourgouin.
“New Democrats commit to carry out the modernization of the French Language Services Act and to promote the vitality of the Franco-Ontarian community. Today, as always, Franco-Ontarians can count on us.”