AN OFFICIALLY BILINGUAL CITY OF OTTAWA : PRESENTATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE APPROACH
On Friday, January 8, 2016, several Francophone organizations working at the local, provincial and national levels proposed a legislative approach to officially recognize the bilingual status of the City of Ottawa, Capital of Canada.
This group includes the Association des communautés francophones d’Ottawa (ACFO), the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO), the Fédération des aînés et retraités francophones de l’Ontario (FARFO), the Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada (FAAFC), the Movement for an officially bilingual Capital of Canada (MOCOB) and the Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien (RÉFO).
Given that the City of Ottawa is an Ontario municipality, the proposed legislative approach contemplates changes to both the City’s provincial enabling law (City of Ottawa Act, 1999,) and to the City’s existing municipal by-law on bilingualism. More specifically:
1) City Council must first adopt a resolution asking the Province of Ontario to amend the constituent act of the City of Ottawa in order to explicitly recognize the equal status of the French and English languages in the City of Ottawa.
2) Simultaneously, the resolution of City Council will be accompanied by an amendment to the Bilingualism By-law, no. 2001-170, to give local effect to the proposed changes to the City’s constituent act.
This legislative approach is pragmatic and fits within the existing linguistic legal framework in Ontario. It would ensure the continuity of the French language services presently offered by the City of Ottawa and the equal status of English and French.
For more details, read the press release published January 8, 2016
On February 14, 1970, the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended that, in the capital of Canada, “the French and English languages have full equality of status, and that the full range of services and facilities provided to the public be available in both languages throughout the area”, adding that this was a recommendation not only to the municipal government of Ottawa but to the private sector as well. According to the Commissioners, the issue is the capital of Canada and as such, it symbolizes the reality of a bilingual country.
The Movement for an officially bilingual Capital of Canada believes that the time has come to act. Its purpose is to inform Canadians as to the linguistic status of the national capital and rally their support so that the City of Ottawa and the other levels of government declare Ottawa officially bilingual before the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. The Movement for an officially bilingual Capital of Canada, the City of Ottawa, and the provincial and federal governments have approximately two years to achieve this goal. Read more…
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