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French Language Services Act

R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER F.32

Consolidation Period: From January 1, 2014 to the e-Laws currency date.

Last amendment: 2013, c. 16.

Preamble

Whereas the French language is an historic and honoured language in Ontario and recognized by the Constitution as an official language in Canada; and whereas in Ontario the French language is recognized as an official language in the courts and in education; and whereas the Legislative Assembly recognizes the contribution of the cultural heritage of the French speaking population and wishes to preserve it for future generations; and whereas it is desirable to guarantee the use of the French language in institutions of the Legislature and the Government of Ontario, as provided in this Act;

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Definitions

Definitions

1.  In this Act,

“Board of Internal Economy” means the Board of Internal Economy established by section 87 of the Legislative Assembly Act; (“Commission de régie interne”)

“Commissioner” means the French Language Services Commissioner appointed under section 12.1; (“commissaire”)

“government agency” means,

(a) a ministry of the Government of Ontario, except that a psychiatric facility, residential facility or college of applied arts and technology that is administered by a ministry is not included unless it is designated as a public service agency by the regulations,

(b) a board, commission or corporation the majority of whose members or directors are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council,

(c) a non-profit corporation or similar entity that provides a service to the public, is subsidized in whole or in part by public money and is designated as a public service agency by the regulations,

(d) a long-term care home as defined in the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 that is designated as a public service agency by the regulations, other than a municipal home or joint home established under Part VIII of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, or a home for special care as defined in the Homes for Special Care Act that is designated as a public service agency by the regulations,

(e) a service provider as defined in the Child and Family Services Act or a board as defined in the District Social Services Administration Boards Act that is designated as a public service agency by the regulations,

and does not include a municipality, or a local board as defined in the Municipal Affairs Act, other than a local board that is designated under clause (e); (“organisme gouvernemental”)

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs; (“ministre”)

“service” means any service or procedure that is provided to the public by a government agency or institution of the Legislature and includes all communications for the purpose. (“service”) R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 1; 1997, c. 25, Sched. E, s. 3; 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 1; 2007, c. 8, s. 204; 2013, c. 16, s. 1.

Rights and Obligations

Provision of services in French

2.  The Government of Ontario shall ensure that services are provided in French in accordance with this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 2.

Use of English or French in Legislative Assembly

3.  (1)  Everyone has the right to use English or French in the debates and other proceedings of the Legislative Assembly. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 3 (1).

Bills and Acts of the Assembly

(2)  The public Bills of the Legislative Assembly introduced after the 1st day of January, 1991 shall be introduced and enacted in both English and French. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 3 (2).

Translation of Statutes

4.  (1)  Before the 31st day of December, 1991, the Attorney General shall cause to be translated into French a consolidation of the public general statutes of Ontario that were re-enacted in the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1980, or enacted in English only after the coming into force of the Revised Statutes of Ontario, 1980, and that are in force on the 31st day of December, 1990. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 4 (1).

Enactment

(2)  The Attorney General shall present the translations referred to in subsection (1) to the Legislative Assembly for enactment. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 4 (2).

Translation of regulations

(3)  The Attorney General shall cause to be translated into French such regulations as the Attorney General considers appropriate and shall recommend the translations to the Executive Council or other regulation-making authority for adoption. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 4 (3).

Right to services in French

5.  (1)  A person has the right in accordance with this Act to communicate in French with, and to receive available services in French from, any head or central office of a government agency or institution of the Legislature, and has the same right in respect of any other office of such agency or institution that is located in or serves an area designated in the Schedule. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 5 (1).

Duplication of services

(2)  When the same service is provided by more than one office in a designated area, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may designate one or more of those offices to provide the service in French if the Lieutenant Governor in Council is of the opinion that the public in the designated area will thereby have reasonable access to the service in French. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 5 (2).

Idem

(3)  If one or more offices are designated under subsection (2), subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the service provided by the other offices in the designated area. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 5 (3).

Existing practice protected

6.  This Act shall not be construed to limit the use of the English or French language outside of the application of this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 6.

Limitation of obligations of government agencies, etc.

7.  The obligations of government agencies and institutions of the Legislature under this Act are subject to such limits as circumstances make reasonable and necessary, if all reasonable measures and plans for compliance with this Act have been taken or made. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 7.

Regulations

8.  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations,

(a) designating public service agencies for the purpose of the definition of “government agency”;

(b) amending the Schedule by adding areas to it;

(c) exempting services from the application of sections 2 and 5 where, in the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, it is reasonable and necessary to do so and where the exemption does not derogate from the general purpose and intent of this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 8.

Public service agencies; limited designation

9.  (1)  A regulation designating a public service agency may limit the designation to apply only in respect of specified services provided by the agency, or may specify services that are excluded from the designation. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 9 (1).

Consent of university

(2)  A regulation made under this Act that applies to a university is not effective without the university’s consent. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 9 (2).

Notice and comment re exempting regulation, etc.

10.  (1)  This section applies to a regulation,

(a) exempting a service under clause 8 (c);

(b) revoking the designation of a public service agency;

(c) amending a regulation designating a public service agency so as to exclude or remove a service from the designation. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 10 (1).

Idem

(2)  A regulation to which this section applies shall not be made until at least forty-five days after a notice has been published in The Ontario Gazette and a newspaper of general circulation in Ontario setting forth the substance of the proposed regulation and inviting comments to be submitted to the Minister. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 10 (2); 2013, c. 16, s. 3.

Idem

(3)  After the expiration of the forty-five day period, the regulation with such changes as are considered advisable may be made without further notice. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 10 (3).

Minister and Employees

Responsible Minister

11.  (1)  The Minister is responsible for the administration of this Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 11 (1); 2013, c. 16, s. 4 (2).

Functions

(2)  The functions of the Minister are to develop and co-ordinate the policies and programs of the government relating to Francophone Affairs and the provision of French language services and for the purpose, the Minister may,

(a) prepare and recommend government plans, policies and priorities for the provision of French language services;

(b) co-ordinate, monitor and oversee the implementation of programs of the government for the provision of French language services by government agencies and of programs relating to the use of the French language;

(c) make recommendations in connection with the financing of government programs for the provision of French language services;

(d) Repealed: 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 2 (1).

(e) require the formulation and submission of government plans for the implementation of this Act and fix time limits for their formulation and submission,

and shall perform such duties as are assigned to the Minister by order in council or by any other Act. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 11 (2); 1993, c. 27, Sched.; 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 2 (1).

Annual report

(3)  The Minister, after the close of each fiscal year, shall submit to the Lieutenant Governor in Council an annual report upon the affairs of the Office of Francophone Affairs and shall then lay the report before the Assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next session. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 11 (3).

Regulations

(4)  Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the Minister may make regulations generally for the better administration of this Act and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing,

(a) governing the publication of government documents in French;

(b) governing the provision of services in French under a contract with a person who has agreed to provide services on behalf of a government agency, including the circumstances in which the agency may enter into such a contract. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 2 (2); 2013, c. 16, s. 4 (2).

Office for Francophone Affairs

12.  (1)  Such employees as are considered necessary shall be appointed under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 for the administration of the functions of the Minister, and shall be known as the Office of Francophone Affairs. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 12 (1); 2006, c. 35, Sched. C, s. 48; 2013, c. 16, s. 5 (1).

Function of Office of Francophone Affairs

(2)  The Office of Francophone Affairs may,

(a) review the availability and quality of French language services and make recommendations for their improvement;

(b) recommend the designation of public service agencies and the addition of designated areas to the Schedule;

(c) require non-profit corporations and similar entities, facilities, homes and colleges referred to in the definition of “government agency” to furnish to the Office information that may be relevant in the formulation of recommendations respecting their designation as public service agencies;

(d) recommend changes in the plans of government agencies for the provision of French language services;

(e) make recommendations in respect of an exemption or proposed exemption of services under clause 8 (c),

and shall perform any other function assigned to it by the Minister, the Executive Council or the Legislative Assembly. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 12 (2); 1993, c. 27, Sched; 2013, c. 16, s. 5 (2).

French Language Services Commissioner

French Language Services Commissioner

12.1  (1)  There shall be an officer of the Assembly who is known in English as the French Language Services Commissioner and in French as commissaire aux services en français. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Definition

(2)  In this section,

“recognized party” has the same meaning as in subsection 62 (5) of the Legislative Assembly Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Appointment

(3)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint the Commissioner on the address of the Assembly, but only if the person to be appointed has been selected by a panel that is composed of one member of the Assembly from each recognized party and that is chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly who is a non-voting member. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Transition

(4)  The Commissioner in office immediately before the French Language Services Amendment Act (French Language Services Commissioner), 2013 comes into force shall continue to hold office until confirmed in office under subsection (3) or until a successor is appointed. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Term of office

(5)  The Commissioner shall hold office for a term of five years and may be reappointed for one further term of five years. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Same

(6)  The Commissioner continues to hold office after the expiry of the term until reappointed or until a successor is appointed. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Removal

(7)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may remove the Commissioner for cause on the address of the Assembly. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Delegation

(8)  The Commissioner may delegate in writing, to any person employed in the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, the authority to perform any of the Commissioner’s functions or to carry out any of the Commissioner’s powers, subject to the terms provided for in the delegation. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Temporary Commissioner

(9)  If, while the Assembly is not sitting, the Commissioner is unable for any reason to fulfil the duties of office or the office becomes vacant, the Lieutenant Governor in Council shall appoint a temporary Commissioner, whose appointment comes to an end when the Commissioner is again able to fulfil the duties of the office or when a new Commissioner is appointed under subsection (3), as the case may be. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Selection by panel

(10)  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint a temporary Commissioner under subsection (9) only if the person to be appointed has been selected by a panel that is composed of one member of the Assembly from each recognized party and that is chaired by the Speaker of the Assembly who is a non-voting member. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Powers and duties

(11)  A temporary Commissioner shall have the power and duties of the Commissioner. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Nature of employment

12.1.1  (1)  The Commissioner shall work exclusively as Commissioner and shall not hold any other office under the Crown or engage in any other employment. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Not a public servant

(2)  The Commissioner is not a public servant within the meaning of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Salary and benefits

12.1.2  (1)  The Commissioner and a temporary Commissioner appointed under subsection 12.1 (9) shall be paid a salary that the Board of Internal Economy determines and that is comparable to the salary paid to other officers of the Assembly. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Same

(2)  The salary of the Commissioner shall not be reduced except on the address of the Assembly. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Expenses

(3)  The Commissioner is entitled to be paid reasonable travelling and living expenses while absent from his or her ordinary place of residence in the exercise of any functions under this Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Pension

(4)  The Commissioner is a member of the Public Service Pension Plan. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Office of the Commissioner

12.1.3  (1)  The office known in English as the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and in French as Commissariat aux services en français is continued. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Budget

(2)  The money required for the administration of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner shall be paid out of the money appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Directives

(3)  The Board of Internal Economy may from time to time issue directives to the Commissioner with respect to the expenditure of funds and the Commissioner shall comply with those directives. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Estimates

(4)  The Commissioner shall present annually to the Board of Internal Economy estimates of the sums of money that will be required for the purposes of carrying out the Commissioner’s functions under this Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Review by Board

(5)  The Board of Internal Economy shall review and may alter the estimates as it considers proper. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Audit

(6)  The accounts and financial transactions of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner shall be audited annually by the Auditor General. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Employees

12.1.4  (1)  Subject to the approval of the Board of Internal Economy, the Commissioner may employ the employees whom the Commissioner considers necessary for the efficient and proper operation of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and may determine their salary or wages and terms and conditions of employment. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Transition

(2)  The employees of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner in office immediately before the day the French Language Services Amendment Act (French Language Services Commissioner), 2013 comes into force shall continue as employees of that Office. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Salaries or wages

(3)  Salaries or wages determined under subsection (1) shall be comparable to the salaries or wages determined under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 for public servants employed under that Part to work in a ministry, other than in a minister’s office, who are in similar positions. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Benefits

(4)  The benefits determined under Part III of the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 with respect to the following matters for public servants employed under that Part to work in a ministry, other than in a minister’s office, who are not within a bargaining unit apply to the employees of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner:

1. Cumulative vacation and sick leave credits for regular attendance and payments in respect of those credits.

2. Plans for group life insurance, medical-surgical insurance or long-term income protection.

3. The granting of leaves of absence. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Same

(5)  For the purposes of subsection (4), if a benefit applicable to an employee of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner is contingent on the exercise of a discretionary power or the performance of a discretionary function, the Commissioner or any person authorized in writing by the Commissioner may exercise the power or perform the function. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Premises and supplies

12.1.5  The Commissioner may lease the premises and acquire the equipment and supplies as are necessary for the efficient and proper operation of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Immunity

12.1.6  (1)  No proceeding shall be commenced against the Commissioner or any employee of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner for any act done or omitted in good faith in the execution or intended execution of his or her duties under this Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Testimony

(2)  Neither the Commissioner nor an employee of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner is a compellable witness in a civil proceeding outside the Assembly in connection with anything done under this Act or any other Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 6.

Functions of Commissioner

12.2  It is the function of the Commissioner to encourage compliance with this Act by,

(a) conducting investigations into the extent and quality of compliance with this Act, pursuant to complaints relating to French language services made by any person or on the Commissioner’s own initiative;

(b) preparing reports on investigations, including recommendations for improving the provision of French language services;

(c) monitoring the progress made by government agencies in providing French language services;

(d) advising the Minister on matters related to the administration of this Act; and

(e) performing such other functions as may be assigned to the Commissioner by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 3.

Commissioner’s discretion to investigate complaints

12.3  (1)  The Commissioner may, in his or her discretion, decide not to take any action based on a complaint relating to French language services, including refusing to investigate or ceasing to investigate any complaint, if, in his or her opinion,

(a) the subject-matter of the complaint is trivial;

(b) the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith;

(c) the subject-matter of the complaint has already been investigated and dealt with;

(d) the subject-matter of the complaint does not involve a contravention of or failure to comply with this Act or, for any other reason, does not come within the authority of the Commissioner under this Act. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 3.

Notice to complainant

(2)  If the Commissioner decides not to act on a complaint, or to take no further actions with regard to a complaint, he or she shall give the complainant notice in writing of the decision, and of the reasons for it. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 3.

Investigations

12.4  (1)  Subject to this Act, the Commissioner may determine the procedure to be followed in conducting an investigation. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 3.

Notice to be given to deputy head

(2)  Before beginning an investigation, the Commissioner shall inform the deputy head or other administrative head of the government agency concerned of his or her intention to conduct an investigation. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 3.

Application of Public Inquiries Act, 2009

(3)  Section 33 of the Public Inquiries Act, 2009 applies to an investigation by the Commissioner. 2009, c. 33, Sched. 6, s. 60.

Confidentiality

(3.1)  Information disclosed to the Commissioner under this Act is confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person, except,

(a) by the person to whom the information relates or with the consent of that person;

(b) in a criminal proceeding, as required by law; or

(c) otherwise in accordance with this Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 7 (1).

Report on results of investigation

(4)  The Commissioner shall report the results of an investigation,

(a) where the investigation arises from a complaint, to the complainant, the deputy head or other administrative head of the government agency concerned and the Speaker of the Assembly;

(b) where the investigation is at the Commissioner’s own initiative, to the deputy head or other administrative head of the government agency concerned and the Speaker of the Assembly. 2007, c. 7, Sched. 16, s. 3; 2013, c. 16, s. 7 (2).

Annual report

12.5  (1)  On or before July 31 in each year, the Commissioner shall prepare and submit to the Speaker of the Assembly an annual report on his or her activities, which may include recommendations for improving the provision of French language services. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Copy of report

(2)  Upon submitting an annual report, the Commissioner shall provide a copy of it to the Minister. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Tabling of report

(3)  Upon receiving an annual report, the Speaker of the Assembly shall lay it before the Assembly at the earliest reasonable opportunity. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Other reports

12.6  (1)  The Commissioner may at any time prepare and submit, to the Speaker of the Assembly, any other report that the Commissioner considers appropriate on any matter related to this Act. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Copy of report before submission

(2)  Before submitting a report under subsection (1), the Commissioner shall deliver a copy of it to any member of the Executive Council who presides over and has charge of any ministry or to the head of any public entity to which the report is relevant. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Interpretation, head of a public entity

(3)  A reference in subsection (2) to the head of a public entity is a reference to its chief executive officer or to a person who holds a similar position with respect to the public entity. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Copy of report

(4)  Upon submitting a report under subsection (1), the Commissioner shall provide a copy of it to the Minister and may provide a copy of it to any person whom the Commissioner considers appropriate. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Tabling of report

(5)  Upon receiving a report under subsection (1), the Speaker of the Assembly shall lay it before the Assembly at the earliest reasonable opportunity. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

Publication of report

12.7  The Commissioner may publish, in any manner he or she considers appropriate, a report of the Commissioner mentioned in this Act, 30 days after having submitted the report, unless the Speaker consents to the report’s earlier publication. 2013, c. 16, s. 8.

French Language Services Co-ordinators

French language services co-ordinators

13.  (1)  A French language services co-ordinator shall be appointed for each ministry of the government. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 13 (1).

Committee

(2)  There shall be a committee consisting of the French language services co-ordinators, presided over by the senior official of the Office of Francophone Affairs. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 13 (2).

Communication

(3)  Each French language services co-ordinator may communicate directly with his or her deputy minister. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 13 (3).

Deputy minister

(4)  Each deputy minister is accountable to the Executive Council for the implementation of this Act and the quality of the French language services in the ministry. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 13 (4).

Municipalities

Municipal by-laws re official languages

14.  (1)  The council of a municipality that is in an area designated in the Schedule may pass a by-law providing that the administration of the municipality shall be conducted in both English and French and that all or specified municipal services to the public shall be made available in both languages. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 14 (1).

Right to services in English and French

(2)  When a by-law referred to in subsection (1) is in effect, a person has the right to communicate in English or French with any office of the municipality, and to receive available services to which the by-law applies, in either language. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 14 (2).

Regional councils

(3)  Where an area designated in the Schedule is in a regional municipality and the council of a municipality in the area passes a by-law under subsection (1), the council of the regional municipality may also pass a by-law under subsection (1) in respect of its administration and services. 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table.

SCHEDULE

MUNICIPALITY OR DISTRICT

AREA

City of Greater Sudbury

All

City of Hamilton

All of the City of Hamilton as it exists on December 31, 2000

City of Ottawa

All

City of Toronto

All

Regional Municipality of Niagara

Cities of: Port Colborne and Welland

Regional Municipality of Peel

City of Brampton

Regional Municipality of Peel

City of Mississauga

County of Dundas

Township of Winchester

County of Essex

City of Windsor

 

Towns of: Belle River and Tecumseh

 

Townships of: Anderdon, Colchester North, Maidstone, Sandwich South, Sandwich West, Tilbury North, Tilbury West and Rochester

County of Frontenac

City of Kingston

County of Glengarry

All

County of Kent

Town of Tilbury

Townships of: Dover and Tilbury East

County of Middlesex

City of London

County of Prescott

All

County of Renfrew

City of Pembroke

 

Townships of: Stafford and Westmeath

County of Russell

All

County of Simcoe

Town of Penetanguishene

 

Townships of: Tiny and Essa

County of Stormont

All

District of Algoma

All

District of Cochrane

All

District of Kenora

Township of Ignace

District of Nippissing

All

District of Parry Sound

Municipality of Callander

District of Sudbury

All

District of Thunder Bay

Towns of: Geraldton, Longlac and Marathon

 

Townships of: Manitouwadge, Beardmore, Nakina and Terrace Bay

District of Timiskaming

All

R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, Sched.; O. Reg. 407/94, s. 1; 1997, c. 26, Sched.; 1999, c. 14, Sched. F, s. 4; 2000, c. 5, s. 12; O. Reg. 407/94, s. 2 (as remade by O. Reg. 405/04, s. 1); O. Reg. 407/94, s. 3 (as made by O. Reg. 184/06, s. 1).

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