Eric Little of Ottawa : Does Ontario Need an English Language Commissioner?

I understand that Ontario does not have an English Language Commissioner; perhaps this is an oversight as we have a French Language Services Commissioner only.  We also do not have a Ministry of Anglophone Affairs or this item would have been noticed. At issue, is the recent French Language Services Commissioners report to the Ministry of Francophone Affairs.  Link below.

The document shows Ontario government entities, agencies and various arms are being granted “designated status” under the French Language Services Act (FLSA), and on the surface appears there must be a need. In 2009, the Ministry of Francophone Affairs changed the definition of Francophone to include more people. This raised the percentage of Ontario’s Francophone community to 4.8% from 4.2% and the majority of that small percentage can also speak English, showing only a very few people who actually need service in French, but we continue to enshrine rights to meet the perception of needs being created. Most people would agree to help the people that need help of course.

Hamilton Ontario has become the 6th legal entity in Ontario to sign onto the FLSA. Ontario has 4 townships that have laws in place forcing a business to have bilingual signage. Russell Township had over 70% of the business community posting bilingual signs before the law, but that was not enough for a few people involved in pushing more French services. 5 French only clinics. However we do not have an increase in bilingual people in Ontario, so where are these workers coming from, and more importantly, where will English or French only speakers work to pay more and more taxes? Ontario lists over 97% of business operate in English and have for years.

With many dedicated government employees whose only job is to “assist” departments become more French, 25 designated zones, a dedicated French Language Commissioner going beyond the mandate of “monitoring the progress made by government departments” and more than 210 government institutions who have been actively approached and signed onto the FLSA, are getting special treatment since funding is GUARENTEED.  During a time of constraint, should GUARENTEED funding be given?  How fair is to all the Ontarians who are paying for this exercise?  During a time when people are looking for jobs, the “bilingual” or French person will be given special treatment for employment so the institution can keep the designation. There is no such guarantee for, or are there, English only entities.

We need a discussion in this province and country on bilingualism! Some of the questions should revolve around actual need, actual numbers and costs involved with both taxpayer money and human related costs, soon!  254 admissible complaints for the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner, tells us that Francophone’s are not hard done by, but with guaranteed funding for French services, money from core services we have all come to expect could be at risk.  See section 1.3.1 among others – Naturally, designation acts as a political and legal shield by providing quasi-constitutional protection against the potential reduction or discontinuation of programs and services.

Denis Hubert-Dutrisac, Sudbury

Eric Little – Ottawa Ontario

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  1. ERIC ,

    YES Ontario does need a English language commissioner ,it would be deemed fair.

  2. My opinion is that Ontario does not need neither French nor English language commissioners. The current office of the French language commissioner and the Francophone Affairs ministry should be closed and the FLS Act repealed. These are Liberal excesse$. All francophones in Ontario speak English, and it’s time for them to acknowledge they are part of a bigger family. Stop being CLICKISH (I am special, you are not).

  3. A teacher who is a very close friend of mine, wrote the french test 3 times…….that is called determination and the will to succeed!!! Rather then sit back and complain, she bit the bullet and it paid big time..**s**

  4. stellaby:

    YOUR teacher was unique. A hero or heroin to YOU perhaps but you don’t indicate how she/he did or if she wrote the English test as well. You sound very proud of her, yet stellaby, most people or the average IQ person doesn’t care, whether they are unilingual English OR French. By the by, did she get the job? Or was it a strictly ‘volunteer’ effort, as all desires for a second language SHOULD BE, or was she FORCED INTO IT in order to get the job she did it for? Also stellaby, did she pay for her French lessons or was it paid for by the English tax account by some government department that gaave her a year off at our expense for language indoctrination?

  5. DaveW…

    Nope the teacher was not unique….all teachers had to take the french test. These teachers are from the french catholic schoold board, no need to take the english test because everything is in French. She was already teaching when she took the test. The cost was her responsibility Will finish later…..Dave got an important phone call

  6. OK….

    Like I said she paid out of her own pocket, no loss time, therefore your tax dollars did not go towards any cost of the french exam. I guess it is safe to say if one chooses to teach in a french school, they must be french. **s**

    Let me say this Dave, if the average person does not care if they are unilingual, so be it, it is their choice. However, in a country where the official languages are french and english, the wise choice would be to learn both so that when good paying job opportunities come up, you have a better chance.

    To be honest with you, I find this language issue ridiculous and troubling at the same time.

  7. Yes Stella very troubling.

    But let’s Canadians decide that by referendum,
    Canadians never wanted language laws ,the descision was never up to them ,one political party pushed it through.
    What would one say if a political party had overwhelming majority and voted on capital punishment or other “hot issues”.
    Yet the population did not want it?
    The same cod be said about the official languages act.

  8. I keep reading this constant mantra, “this country has two official languages.” However, the decision for this gawd awful state we find ourselves in today WAS NOT a decision made by the majority Anglophones of this country. It was rammed down our throats —

    (mind you with the complacency and decency of the Anglophones who believed in, “some degree of fairness to make up for ‘certain’ events from the past,” which ended up with the French taking advantage (a trait that befalls many if not most of them) of the English and their kind heartedness)

    — by over zealous French language supremacists who happened to take power at a certain time in our history where these kinds of things were easier to “slide by.”
    so in reality the notion of two official languages is — COMPLETELY INVALID — and should be rescinded.

    With a minority of perhaps 4-8% Francophones outside of the “province” of Quebec there is absolutely NO NEED for it (and btw no desire for it either.) Furthermore, with such small numbers it should be the minority that learns the language of the majority instead of the other way around.

    – As for the Language commissioner question. I COMPLETELY agree with Helga.

    Helga September 15, 2012 at 10:54 am — Helga said,
    “My opinion is that Ontario does not need neither French nor English language commissioners. The current office of the French language commissioner and the Francophone Affairs ministry should be closed and the FLS Act repealed. These are Liberal excesse$. All francophones in Ontario speak English, and it’s time for them to acknowledge they are part of a bigger family. Stop being CLICKISH (I am special, you are not).”

    Yes, yes, yes and yes again. Bravo Helga. Well said.

    What are those two “official” languages in the “province” of Quebec by the way? Last I heard one of them was not so “official” as it has been made illegal. Oh and, the Canadian flag was removed also. Just a friendly reminder of the continuous double standard that the “other side” refuses to admit, respond to and or acknowledge. And I have good idea why 😉

  9. edudyorlic, me thinks the Trudeau Charter should be scarped entirely, along with its annex of the OLA. Today, we have a Constitution in law, but perhaps not in spirit, because people were not given a right to approve it.

  10. Yes helga, abolish the french language. lets all promote english, lets all dress the same talk the same. Lets build the perfect race.. maybe we should only keep the people with blond hair and blue eyes.. NAH.. someone else tried that before, but he was almost successful.

  11. Hey Patrick,

    Langauge is not a Religion it does not need to be defended as such,but taught to your young rather then force it on remaining population.

    Can’t talk logic with this FANATIC,HIS GOD IS LANGUAGE.

  12. Patrick, did you not read the trouble MPP Jim got into because of a “possible” reference to Hitler?

    Most English have little trouble with providing the few French speakers who need help, with help. This working in the language of your choice/being supervised in the language of your choice is not very customer focused. Not evey goverrnment job needs to be bilingual!

  13. @Patrick B.
    You really don’t see it do you Patrick? You really really don’t have any clue of “the other side,” do you? I find it so amazing that you can say the things you say while the “reality and the truth” are staring you straight in the face the way they are.
    Patrick wrote: “Yes helga, abolish the french language.”
    Fact (you do know the word “fact” right?) Well, the FACT is Patrick, Helga did not recommend “abolishing the French language” at all. She said we should do away with an unjust language commission position and unjust Francophone affairs ministry as these things are things THAT ARE “trying to ‘abolish’” English citizens rights. And, the thing I find odd and so ironic about this is that the only people that TRULY do want to “get rid of the other group” is the French wanting to get rid of the English in Quebec. They are not just saying they don’t want the English language around in words, (as you falsely accuse Helga of saying,) they are ACTUALLY DOING IT in actions. THEY are the ONES that have passed a law that makes English illegal in that “province.” What is it about that kind of stupid, unjust law that you don’t understand to be stupid and unjust? Wouldn’t you say THAT passing a law that makes English illegal is a tad more “offensive and akin to abolishing a certain group” than Helga’s argument against some ministry that is only trying to make life difficult for the majority English citizens of this country? Seriously… You cannot be that blind or ignorant. After all, you seem to be able to put sentences together in a decent fashion so you must have some intelligence. At least enough to see that IT IS “THE FRENCH”, and the French ONLY, who are trying to “abolish” the English language in the “province” of Quebec by using laws that make the English language illegal. NO ONE has passed a law that makes the French language illegal anywhere. As a matter of “fact” (there’s that word again, “fact”) there are several laws that help promote the French language well beyond what should be considered to be a normal degree.

  14. Oh and, one more thing Patrick. And yes, it’s another thing I find VERY HARD to believe you can say while the “reality and the truth” are staring you straight in the face the way they are.

    It is so ASTONISHINGLY IRONIC that you would use this “lets build the perfect race.. maybe we should only keep the people with blond hair and blue eyes.. NAH.. someone else tried that before, but he was almost successful” analogy considering we all know what you are referring to and what “HE” did, or tried to do. FACT IS (yup, there’s that word again, “FACT”) FACT IS this comparison you make is about AS CLOSE to what the French are doing right now in the “province” of Quebec as one could possibly get to what transpired back in the time you are referring to without it being the exact same thing.

    That kind of comparison just drips with a VERY SAD irony. SAD in the sense that YOU either don’t even realize it, or you do, and you’re just being an id*&%#$t and yankin our chains but, either way I take pity on you as you deserve it for the profound depth of mindless irony.

    Oh and remember, have a nice “ironic” day eh 🙂

  15. @Helga. We are definitely ON THE SAME PAGE. A toast to fairness. I have a feeling we’d have no problem at all sharing a drink and a chat 🙂

  16. Helga, Eric, Highlander, edudyorlik, Dave W., you folks and I and a few others, I believe are all on the same or very similar page and that is of the majority opinion in Canada. Contrast that with Patrick and Stellababy and a few others typifies the nos. for and against this cultural climax.

    The only thing that I would like to see and am envious of the french, is that they can now read all the details on the side of a can of peas. Perhaps one day we should be so lucky as we grow older, aye.

    Just saying.

  17. Maybe we do need an English Commisioner with this news….


    Commissioners Fraser and Boileau join forces to better protect Canadians’ language rights
    Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, and Ontario’s French Language Services Commissioner, François Boileau, signed an agreement today that will allow their organizations to optimize their support to the citizens and communities they serve.

    The memorandum of understanding signed by commissioners Fraser and Boileau is unprecedented in Canada. It will allow their two offices to share information about investigations that fall under both jurisdictions and to work together on promotional initiatives and studies on how their respective governments are meeting their language obligations.

    “The Official Languages Act and the French Language Services Act apply to separate and well-defined jurisdictions, but the citizens who contact us don’t always know which services fall under the federal government and which fall under the provincial government,” said Commissioner Fraser. “Better communication between our offices will help us to react more quickly and efficiently to problems identified by the public.”

    “We are taking a step forward for all Francophone communities in Ontario today,” said Commissioner Boileau. This memorandum will give Francophones more direct access to our respective services and expertise, which will allow us to better respond to their needs and concerns in terms of their language rights.”
    The memorandum of understanding was signed in the Toronto offices of French-language public television channel TFO.

    “Establishing strong partnerships is one way in which organizations can fully contribute to the vitality of Francophone communities,” said Glenn O’Farrell, President and CEO of TFO. “GroupeMédia TFO recognizes the value of these initiatives and is proud to participate in the development of the Francophonie in Ontario and in Canada.”

  18. Eric……That is great!!!

    Being that Canada has two official languages, this will greatly help the students…..wonderful!!!! Having the proper tools, guidance and making sure the programs are in place for them to learn both languages will help them find better jobs!!!

    Thanks for sharing **smile**

  19. It is great stellabystarlight. The problem is in over 43 years there have not been enough students learning English, no wait, Ontario lists 97.1% in the 2011 census as being able to speak English.

    The way this other official language is being presented, is expensive, very divisive and not really helping very many people, even though all pay for it.

    So the people between 18 and 65, the majority are English speaking taxpayers, are just out of luck to find government work, pay taxes and raise families then? Where is this taking us?

  20. I wonder if Graham Fraser will do the same in Quebec so that the other little know official language (English) have the same push (support) as that what exists in the rest of Canada for French.

    I do find it funny that Graham Fraser does not support English in Quebec,out of the 2.4 billion spent yearly for official bilingualism ,50 million spent on bilingualism (English ) in Quebec.

    If we are to truly have bilingualism and have a french languages services commissioner we need to have an English language services commissioner :for if we only have one that means the other is not represented through legislation.

    Does Quebec have an English language services commissioner as Ontario has french services language commissioner being English in Quebec is 300% MORE THEN THERE ARE FRENCH IN ONTARIO?

    Why not? Do we not have 2 official languages in Canada and Quebec is still part of Canada.

    So what Agenda is being pushed !!!!

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