Official Languages Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.))

Act current to 2016-05-12 and last amended on 2015-06-23. Previous Versions

PART VLanguage of Work

Marginal note:Rights relating to language of work

 English and French are the languages of work in all federal institutions, and officers and employees of all federal institutions have the right to use either official language in accordance with this Part.

Marginal note:Duties of government
  •  (1) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that

    • (a) within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed, work environments of the institution are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by its officers and employees; and

    • (b) in all parts or regions of Canada not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (a), the treatment of both official languages in the work environments of the institution in parts or regions of Canada where one official language predominates is reasonably comparable to the treatment of both official languages in the work environments of the institution in parts or regions of Canada where the other official language predominates.

  • Marginal note:Regions of Canada prescribed

    (2) The regions of Canada set out in Annex B of the part of the Treasury Board and Public Service Commission Circular No. 1977-46 of September 30, 1977 that is entitled “Official Languages in the Public Service of Canada: A Statement of Policies” are prescribed for the purpose of paragraph (1)(a).

Marginal note:Minimum duties in relation to prescribed regions
  •  (1) Every federal institution has the duty, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), to

    • (a) make available in both official languages to officers and employees of the institution

      • (i) services that are provided to officers and employees, including services that are provided to them as individuals and services that are centrally provided by the institution to support them in the performance of their duties, and

      • (ii) regularly and widely used work instruments produced by or on behalf of that or any other federal institution;

    • (b) ensure that regularly and widely used automated systems for the processing and communication of data acquired or produced by the institution on or after January 1, 1991 can be used in either official language; and

    • (c) ensure that,

      • (i) where it is appropriate or necessary in order to create a work environment that is conducive to the effective use of both official languages, supervisors are able to communicate in both official languages with officers and employees of the institution in carrying out their supervisory responsibility, and

      • (ii) any management group that is responsible for the general direction of the institution as a whole has the capacity to function in both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Additional duties in prescribed regions

    (2) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), such measures are taken in addition to those required under subsection (1) as can reasonably be taken to establish and maintain work environments of the institution that are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by its officers and employees.

Marginal note:Special duties for institutions directing or providing services to others

 Every federal institution that has authority to direct, or provides services to, other federal institutions has the duty to ensure that it exercises its powers and carries out its duties in relation to those other institutions in a manner that accommodates the use of either official language by officers and employees of those institutions.

Marginal note:Regulations
  •  (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations in respect of federal institutions, other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner or Parliamentary Protective Service,

    • (a) prescribing, in respect of any part or region of Canada or any place outside Canada,

      • (i) any services or work instruments that are to be made available by those institutions in both official languages to officers or employees of those institutions,

      • (ii) any automated systems for the processing and communication of data that must be available for use in both official languages, and

      • (iii) any supervisory or management functions that are to be carried out by those institutions in both official languages;

    • (b) prescribing any other measures that are to be taken, within the National Capital Region and in any part or region of Canada, or in any place outside Canada, that is prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), to establish and maintain work environments of those institutions that are conducive to the effective use of both official languages and accommodate the use of either official language by their officers and employees;

    • (c) requiring that either or both official languages be used in communications with offices of those institutions that are located in any part or region of Canada, or any place outside Canada, specified in the regulations;

    • (d) prescribing the manner in which any duties of those institutions under this Part or the regulations made under this Part in relation to the use of both official languages are to be carried out; and

    • (e) prescribing obligations of those institutions in relation to the use of the official languages of Canada by the institutions in respect of offices in parts or regions of Canada not prescribed for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), having regard to the equality of status of both official languages.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (2) The Governor in Council may make regulations

    • (a) adding to or deleting from the regions of Canada prescribed by subsection 35(2) or prescribing any other part or region of Canada, or any place outside Canada, for the purpose of paragraph 35(1)(a), having regard to

      • (i) the number and proportion of English-speaking and French-speaking officers and employees who constitute the work force of federal institutions based in the parts, regions or places prescribed,

      • (ii) the number and proportion of English-speaking and French-speaking persons resident in the parts or regions prescribed, and

      • (iii) any other factors that the Governor in Council considers appropriate; and

    • (b) substituting, with respect to any federal institution other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner or Parliamentary Protective Service, a duty in relation to the use of the official languages of Canada in place of a duty under section 36 or the regulations made under subsection (1), having regard to the equality of status of both official languages, if there is a demonstrable conflict between the duty under section 36 or the regulations and the mandate of the institution.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 38;
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 28;
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 22;
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 146.

PART VIParticipation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians

Marginal note:Commitment to equal opportunities and equitable participation
  •  (1) The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that

    • (a) English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians, without regard to their ethnic origin or first language learned, have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement in federal institutions; and

    • (b) the composition of the work-force of federal institutions tends to reflect the presence of both the official language communities of Canada, taking into account the characteristics of individual institutions, including their mandates, the public they serve and their location.

  • Marginal note:Employment opportunities

    (2) In carrying out the commitment of the Government of Canada under subsection (1), federal institutions shall ensure that employment opportunities are open to both English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians, taking due account of the purposes and provisions of Parts IV and V in relation to the appointment and advancement of officers and employees by those institutions and the determination of the terms and conditions of their employment.

  • Marginal note:Merit principle

    (3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as abrogating or derogating from the principle of selection of personnel according to merit.

Marginal note:Regulations

 The Governor in Council may make such regulations as the Governor in Council deems necessary to carry out the purposes and provisions of this Part.

PART VIIAdvancement of English and French

Marginal note:Government policy
  •  (1) The Government of Canada is committed to

    • (a) enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development; and

    • (b) fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

  • Marginal note:Duty of federal institutions

    (2) Every federal institution has the duty to ensure that positive measures are taken for the implementation of the commitments under subsection (1). For greater certainty, this implementation shall be carried out while respecting the jurisdiction and powers of the provinces.

  • Marginal note:Regulations

    (3) The Governor in Council may make regulations in respect of federal institutions, other than the Senate, House of Commons, Library of Parliament, office of the Senate Ethics Officer, office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner or Parliamentary Protective Service, prescribing the manner in which any duties of those institutions under this Part are to be carried out.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 41;
  • 2005, c. 41, s. 1;
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 23;
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 147.
 
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