Ontario improving French-language services designation process

New online platform will help ease administrative burden for public agencies providing services in French

February 23, 2022


TORONTO — The Ontario Government is continuing to deliver on its commitment to the province’s francophone community by streamlining and digitizing the process for service providers seeking a designation as a public service agency under the French Language Services Act. This revised process is part of the government’s French Language Services Strategy, which aims to improve access to and quality of French-language services in Ontario.

“By making it easier and faster for service providers to obtain their designation, our government is once again demonstrating its commitment to Ontario’s Francophone community”, said Francophone Affairs Minister, Caroline Mulroney. “The new designation process and online platform will support organizations in their central and key role as providers of high-quality French-language services. This is part of our French Language Services Strategy which aims to increase access to French services and develop new models of service delivery. We are not only reducing administrative burden, we are reducing barriers to build a stronger Ontario.”

The new process makes seeking a designation easier and faster for agencies by:

  • streamlining the requirements for agencies to obtain their designation
  • establishing a shorter processing timeframe, averaging less than 12 months
  • digitizing the entire process through a new online platform that allows service providers to complete their application in a digital format

Following comprehensive consultations with both internal and external stakeholders in 2019, the Ministry of Francophone Affairs established rigorous, updated requirements that have been tested in the community through a pilot project to deliver the new, shortened timeline.

“It is my goal to make the experience of interacting with government as easy and convenient as possible,” said Kaleed Rasheed, Associate Minister of Digital Government. “Good customer service is crucial, especially when every customer – every Ontarian – counts. Today’s announcement demonstrates our government’s commitment to help the people of Ontario access online services that are responsive to their needs.”

“We congratulate the government for digitizing and reducing the wait time of the designation process under the French Language Services Act as part of its language reform,” said Carol Jolin, President of the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario. “An organization could wait up to three years to obtain a designation, a significant barrier for those who wanted to undertake the process. Digitizing the system will modernize the process and allow the government and citizens to have much more accurate lists of designated organizations in the medium term.”

Quick Facts

  • The French Language Services Act, adopted in 1986, 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. In December 2021, the Legislature passed amendments to modernize the Act.
  • Service providers that become designated as public service agencies under the Act are committing to protect and promote their offer of quality French-language services.
  • The designation process has been in place since 1994 and assists the government in meeting its obligation to ensure Francophones have access to government services in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
  • 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.