Imagine walking into a Service Ontario location and being served. Now imagine sitting in a comfortable chair and having a voice/video link with a government office. Now imagine speaking in one of say 5 main languages with a real person just like at a counter. Using technology to help people is not new, you can even get an app on your smart phone to detect where your metal property line marker is. Of course that app would not help to get your new license plates or help order a new health card but there is technology that can.
Surely with a bit of planning and will, we can create something to help more people get things done in a manner that concentrates on citizens needs. Some bank machines already provide several languages to use, there are 9-1-1 call centers that instantly connect to translation services that can cover 140 languages and we have had hearing/speech impaired interfaces for years.
Why can’t we have a central station in say Toronto with round the clock operators that can provide assistance in several languages? Assistance for health cards, some translation and real time support. If after a hundred plus years of language issues that no one seems ready to discuss and work towards solutions, the least we can do is help people that need it, is that not what multiculturism & bilingualism was about? Language duality is a wonderful concept but really, after 40 plus years of the Official Languages Act, 26 years of the Ontario French Languages Services Act and billions of dollars, the percentage of bilingual Canadians has remained stagnant outside of Quebec, but let’s put technology to work for the benefit of all Canadians even as a trial, each Ontario ministry already has a language coordinator, give them technology as well,and stop saying why we can’t do something, ask your MP and MPP how we can!
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