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A History of Language Rights in Canada 1867-2013

Created by the Language Rights Support Program (LRSP)


on 19 March 2013

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Transcript of A History of Language Rights in Canada 1867-2013

1867 to 2012 Language Rights in Canada Constitution Act of 1867 "The Fathers of Confdederation", photo by James Ashfield of Robert Harris painting Since the creation of the Confederation (Canadian Federation), Section 133 of the Constitutional Act of 1867 allows the use of English and French in the Parliament of Canada, and at the Legislature of Quebec. French and English may also be used in parliamentary debates, and in any pleading or court procedure before any court of the Parliament and of Quebec. From this moment, journals, minutes, and records of the federal government and the government of Quebec must be written in both official languages. Manitoba Act of 1870 1870 1867 1963 Royal Commission on Bilinguism and Biculturalism 1969 First Official Languages Act 1974 Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act 1978 Court Challenges Program
(CCP) 1982 Constitution Act of 1982 1988 Second Official Languages Act 1990 Court decision in
Mahé v. Alberta 1991 Implementation of Official Languages Regulations Communication with and services for the public New Court Challenges Program 1994 Bill S-3 to Amend the Official Languages Act 2005 2008 Language Rights Support Program Renewal of the Language Rights Support Program 2012 Section 23 of the Manitoba act gives the right to use English and French in all debates, pleadings or court proceedings of the Parliament and of Manitoba.

The laws of the Manitoba Legislature are printed and published in both languages. Manitoba The Commission (1963-1971) is created by the federal government to investigate linguistic duality and equality between Francophones and Anglophones in Canada.

The recommendations of the Commission have greatly influenced the evolution of bilingualism in Canada. This Act recognizes English and French as official languages in Canada.

It recognizes that English and French have equal status within federal institutions.

The Act ensures that the public has access to services from federal institutions in both official languages, under certain conditions. New-Brunswick also adopts an Official Languages Act. It becomes the first province in Canada to be officially bilingual. This Act requires the use of French and English on consumer product packaging. Bilingual packaging remains one of the most visible aspects of bilingualism in Canada. The CCP allowed official language communities to go before the courts and obtain language rights guarantees.

The CCP has supported several cases, such as the Ford, Forest, Mahé, Arsenault-Cameron, and Doucet-Boudreau case. The Act marks the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which guarantees constitutional language rights in Sections 16 to 20, and Section 23. The federal government passes a new Official Languages Act that replaces the first Act created in 1969. The new Act aims to ensure that the rights guaranteed by the Charter are implemented. It specifies that:
the public has the right to communicate with and receive services from federal institutions in both official languages;
the federal governement is committed to supporting the development of official language minority communities;
the Official Languages Commissioner has the mandate to ensure the respect of language rights. In the Mahé decision, the Supreme Court of Canada says that Section 23 of the Charter guarantees management of schools by official language minorities. This Regulation identifies where and when federal institutions must offer services in both official languages. After its abolition in 1984, the CCP is created anew to help official language minorities defend their language rights before the courts by offering them financial support. Federal institutions must implement positive measures to support the growth and development of English-speaking and French-speaking minority communities. Institutions must also promote equality of status and use of English and French. The Language Rights Support Program is created. The LRSP renews its agreement with Canadian Heritage for another 5 years. Allan Rock, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Ottawa; Pierre Foucher, Professor of Law, University of Ottawa; Richard Clément, Director of the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa; James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Richard Clément, Director of the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute, University of Ottawa, and Geneviève Boudreau, Director of the LRSP 1994 The Regulation is implemented in its entirety.
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