Minority ­language groups find “surprising level of ­consensus” in call for Official Languages Act renewal

By Gordon Lambie

Carrying on a process that has been happening in the background of federal and provincial political discussions for the last three years or so, the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario (AFO), and the Société de l’Acadie du Nouveau-Brunswick (SANB) have been on tour since the summer trying to get the modernization of Canada’s Official Languages Act to be a priority for the country’s next government.
“The Official Languages Act really needs to be brought up to date,” said Geoffrey Chambers, President of the QCGN, in a group interview with The Record last week. Joined by Carol Jolin, President of the AFO, and Ali Chaisson, Executive Director of the SANB, the QCGN president echoed words previously related by Raymond Théberge, Canada’s Commissioner of Official Langauges, in saying that the 50 year old piece of legislation is long overdue for an overhaul.
“The last time the law was changed was the 1980s,” Chaisson said, arguing that although the Official Languages Act has been brought to have bearing on a large number of government agencies, organizations, and businesses, the law lacks the “teeth” to actually ensure that anyone follows it at this point. See full story in the Tuesday, Oct. 15 edition of The Record.

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