November 21, 2018
The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, M.P.P.
Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
11th Floor, 720 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2S9
Dear Minister Mulroney,
We closely followed the economic statement by the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Vic Fedeli, in which he announced the elimination of three positions of independent officers of the Legislative Assembly, including that of the French Language Services Commissioner.
As you probably know, more than 145,000 Ottawa residents—representing more than 15% of the population—are Francophones. The City of Ottawa is therefore required to provide French-language services to its residents under both the City of Ottawa Act, 1999, and its Bilingualism Policy. Through the French Language Services (FLS) branch, the City rigorously carries out its responsibility for managing and reviewing all complaints regarding the delivery of French language services, as well as for responding to such complaints. The FLS branch also works closely with City departments to ensure compliance with the Bilingualism Policy, as well as the continuous improvement of programs and services that are offered to our residents in French.
It is important for us to see an equally clear commitment on your part, in order to ensure that these residents will receive services offered by the Province and its agencies in their language, as required under the French Language Services Act. The Office of the French Language Services Commissioner was working to promote and raise awareness of these services. It also served as an independent and credible authority to which the Francophone population could turn when shortcomings were found within the provincial government and its agencies. We are highly disappointed by the elimination of this position, which marks a setback for the Franco-Ontarian community.
The City will therefore pursue the ongoing efforts of City Council and the municipal government to work with our residents and Francophone groups in order to improve the delivery of French language services. We would appreciate it if the Government of Ontario could do the same.
Councillor, Alta Vista