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

Act current to 2016-01-25 and last amended on 2015-06-23. Previous Versions

Marginal note:Coordination

 The Minister of Canadian Heritage, in consultation with other ministers of the Crown, shall encourage and promote a coordinated approach to the implementation by federal institutions of the commitments set out in section 41.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 42;
  • 1995, c. 11, s. 27.
Marginal note:Specific mandate of Minister of Canadian Heritage
  •  (1) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall take such measures as that Minister considers appropriate to advance the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, may take measures to

    • (a) enhance the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and support and assist their development;

    • (b) encourage and support the learning of English and French in Canada;

    • (c) foster an acceptance and appreciation of both English and French by members of the public;

    • (d) encourage and assist provincial governments to support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities generally and, in particular, to offer provincial and municipal services in both English and French and to provide opportunities for members of English or French linguistic minority communities to be educated in their own language;

    • (e) encourage and assist provincial governments to provide opportunities for everyone in Canada to learn both English and French;

    • (f) encourage and cooperate with the business community, labour organizations, voluntary organizations and other organizations or institutions to provide services in both English and French and to foster the recognition and use of those languages;

    • (g) encourage and assist organizations and institutions to project the bilingual character of Canada in their activities in Canada or elsewhere; and

    • (h) with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into agreements or arrangements that recognize and advance the bilingual character of Canada with the governments of foreign states.

  • Marginal note:Public consultation

    (2) The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall take such measures as that Minister considers appropriate to ensure public consultation in the development of policies and review of programs relating to the advancement and the equality of status and use of English and French in Canadian society.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 43;
  • 1995, c. 11, s. 28.
Marginal note:Annual report to Parliament

 The Minister of Canadian Heritage shall, within such time as is reasonably practicable after the termination of each financial year, submit an annual report to Parliament on the matters relating to official languages for which that Minister is responsible.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 44;
  • 1995, c. 11, s. 29.
Marginal note:Consultation and negotiation with the provinces

 Any minister of the Crown designated by the Governor in Council may consult and may negotiate agreements with the provincial governments to ensure, to the greatest practical extent but subject to Part IV, that the provision of federal, provincial, municipal and education services in both official languages is coordinated and that regard is had to the needs of the recipients of those services.

PART VIIIResponsibilities and Duties of Treasury Board in Relation to the Official Languages of Canada

Marginal note:Responsibilities of Treasury Board
  •  (1) The Treasury Board has responsibility for the general direction and coordination of the policies and programs of the Government of Canada relating to the implementation of Parts IV, V and VI in all 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 and Parliamentary Protective Service.

  • Marginal note:Powers of Treasury Board

    (2) In carrying out its responsibilities under subsection (1), the Treasury Board may

    • (a) establish policies, or recommend policies to the Governor in Council, to give effect to Parts IV, V and VI;

    • (b) recommend regulations to the Governor in Council to give effect to Parts IV, V and VI;

    • (c) issue directives to give effect to Parts IV, V and VI;

    • (d) monitor and audit federal institutions in respect of which it has responsibility for their compliance with policies, directives and regulations of Treasury Board or the Governor in Council relating to the official languages of Canada;

    • (e) evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of policies and programs of federal institutions relating to the official languages of Canada;

    • (f) provide information to the public and to officers and employees of federal institutions relating to the policies and programs that give effect to Parts IV, V and VI; and

    • (g) delegate any of its powers under this section to the deputy heads or other administrative heads of other federal institutions.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 46;
  • 2004, c. 7, s. 29;
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 24;
  • 2015, c. 36, s. 148.
Marginal note:Audit reports to be made available to Commissioner

 The Chief Human Resources Officer appointed under subsection 6(2.1) of the Financial Administration Act shall provide the Commissioner with any audit reports that are prepared under paragraph 46(2)(d).

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 47;
  • 2005, c. 15, s. 3;
  • 2010, c. 12, s. 1676.
Marginal note:Annual report to Parliament

 The President of the Treasury Board shall, within such time as is reasonably practicable after the termination of each financial year, submit an annual report to Parliament on the status of programs relating to the official languages of Canada in the various federal institutions in respect of which it has responsibility under section 46.

PART IXCommissioner of Official Languages

Office of the Commissioner

Marginal note:Appointment
  •  (1) The Governor in Council shall, by commission under the Great Seal, appoint a Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada after consultation with the leader of every recognized party in the Senate and House of Commons and approval of the appointment by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons.

  • Marginal note:Tenure

    (2) Subject to this section, the Commissioner holds office during good behaviour for a term of seven years, but may be removed for cause by the Governor in Council at any time on address of the Senate and House of Commons.

  • Marginal note:Further terms

    (3) The Commissioner, on the expiration of a first or any subsequent term of office, is eligible to be re-appointed for a further term not exceeding seven years.

  • Marginal note:Interim appointment

    (4) In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Commissioner or if that office is vacant, the Governor in Council may appoint any qualified person to hold that office in the interim for a term not exceeding six months, and that person shall, while holding office, be paid the salary or other remuneration and expenses that may be fixed by the Governor in Council.

  • 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 49;
  • 2006, c. 9, s. 111.
Marginal note:Rank, powers and duties generally
  •  (1) The Commissioner shall rank as and have all the powers of a deputy head of a department, shall engage exclusively in the duties of the office of the Commissioner and shall not hold any other office under Her Majesty or engage in any other employment.

  • Marginal note:Salary and expenses

    (2) The Commissioner shall be paid a salary equal to the salary of a judge of the Federal Court, other than the Chief Justice of that Court, and is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses while absent from his or her ordinary place of residence in the course of his or her duties.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 50;
  • 2002, c. 8, s. 157.
Marginal note:Staff

 Such officers and employees as are necessary for the proper conduct of the work of the office of the Commissioner shall be appointed in the manner authorized by law.

Marginal note:Technical assistance

 The Commissioner may engage, on a temporary basis, the services of persons having technical or specialized knowledge of any matter relating to the work of the Commissioner to advise and assist the Commissioner in the performance of the duties of his office and, with the approval of the Treasury Board, may fix and pay the remuneration and expenses of those persons.

Marginal note:Public Service Superannuation Act

 The Commissioner and the officers and employees of the office of the Commissioner appointed under section 51 shall be deemed to be persons employed in the public service for the purposes of the Public Service Superannuation Act.

  • R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 53;
  • 2003, c. 22, s. 225(E).
 
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