Modernized French Language Services Act receives Royal Assent

Modernized French Language Services Act receives Royal Assent

Ontario improving access to frontline services in French and ensuring they are more readily available

December 09, 2021

Francophone Affairs

TORONTO — Today, amendments to the French Language Services Act, introduced as part of Bill 43, the Build Ontario (Budget Measures) Act, 2021, received Royal Assent following its adoption by the Legislature. This delivers on the Ontario Government’s commitment to improve access to quality services in French for Ontario’s growing Francophone community.

The modernized Act is the product of the first substantial review of the legislation since it was first introduced 35 years ago and incorporates input from extensive public and stakeholder consultations across the province.

As a result of the amendments, government agencies, as set out under the Act, will be required to ensure French-language services are readily available according to the principle of active offer. This will shift the onus of finding these services from users (people requesting services in French) to service providers. In addition, the legislation would add the option to designate more points of service throughout the province.

Additionally, the amendments ensure that the Act will be updated regularly thanks to a new provision requiring that the Act be reviewed at least once every 10 years to ensure it meets the changing needs of the Franco-Ontarian community.

The updated French Language Services Act is part of a comprehensive French Language Services strategy that will focus on the recruitment, training and development of a Francophone and bilingual workforce, as well as the implementation of effective or innovative service delivery models best suited to meet the needs of Ontario’s Francophone communities.

“Our government recognizes the intricate connection between economic prosperity and the social and cultural vitality of the Francophone community in Ontario, said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs. “The delivery of critical, front line services through a modernized Act and a strengthened bilingual workforce will be of crucial importance to building a prosperous future not just for Franco-Ontarians, but all Ontarians across the province.”

Quick Facts

  • The French Language Services Act, adopted in 1986, and now substantively modernized, sets out an individual’s right to receive services in French from government agencies, including ministries, as defined in the Act, and institutions of the Legislature.
  • Ontario’s Francophone Economic Development Strategy, launched in June 2021, reinforces the French Language Services Strategy by also supporting the development of a skilled bilingual workforce.
  • Ontario is home to more than 620,000 Francophones, representing the largest French-speaking community in Canada outside of Quebec. Overall, more than 1.5 million Ontarians speak French.