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Rooting for Francophones
Annual report 2013-2014 of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner

This report covers the activities of the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014. It is the seventh annual report of Commissioner François Boileau. It contains four key recommendations.

The Commissioner's first recommendation appears in the chapter on the independence of the Commissioner's Office and is addressed to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. It concerns the need for an active interlocutor in the Legislative Assembly. The Commissioner believes that it is necessary to (i) establish a standing committee on French-language services, (ii) make it part of the committee's mandate to study the reports of the French Language Services Commissioner, and (iii) require the government to respond to recommendations and other official requests within 90 days.

The Commissioner's second recommendation is in the chapter on analysis of the government's response and is addressed to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. It emphasizes the need to take the necessary measures for full compliance with the letter of the French Language Services Act. To that end, the Commissioner believes that the Minister should (i) table a detailed, engaged and relevant annual report on the work of the Office of Francophone Affairs, and (ii) ensure that her annual report provides updates on the actions undertaken with respect to each of the functions assigned to her and to the Office of Francophone Affairs under the Act.

The Commissioner's third recommendation is in the chapter on strategic priorities. It concerns the immigration sector and is addressed to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Specifically, the Commissioner recommends that the Ministry establish a group of experts on Francophone immigration during the 2014–2015 fiscal year. This experts group will be responsible for (i) determining a holistic strategy for the retention of Francophone immigrants, (ii) developing a government-wide strategic plan with a specific timetable for attaining the 5% target, (iii) establishing accountability and annual evaluation mechanisms that are transparent and accessible to the public, and (iv) including certain prominent players.

The Commissioner's fourth recommendation focuses on the justice sector of the strategic priorities chapter and is addressed to the Attorney General. Thus, the Commissioner recommends that the Ministry implement a pilot project improving access to justice in French. This project should (i) be assigned to a senior and influential civil servant within the Ministry, (ii) be conducted according to a
schedule, (iii) encompass a region reflecting the diversity of access to justice in French in Ontario, and (iv) be focused on a final objective of broadening access across the province.