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

Act current to 2015-11-16 and last amended on 2015-06-23. Previous Versions


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.


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.
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.