Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ottawa says it intends to guarantee the right to work in French within all federally regulated private businesses with more than 50 employees in Quebec and in predominantly French-speaking communities across Canada.

The measure is among 56 proposals to modify the Official Languages Act that were introduced Friday by Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly in a working paper titled, English and French: Towards a Substantive Equality of Official Languages in Canada.

The federal government says the growth of digital technology and international trade is encouraging the use of English, and it’s time to reinforce the place of French in Canada. Ottawa says it will create a group of experts to analyze the 56 proposals and come up with recommendations before an eventual bill is tabled in the House of Commons.

Story continues below advertisement

Revitalizing the French language in the country “is a priority” for the Liberals, Ms. Joly said in an interview with The Canadian Press, ahead of the document’s release. She said the working paper is “ambitious, it is a reform that is robust and it will continue to be a priority. This is not a consultation document, it is a game plan.” Ms. Joly says her plan is to table legislation this year.

The right to work in French within federally regulated companies such as banks and railways is a demand nationalists in Quebec have been making for years.

Ottawa says about 73,000 people in Quebec work in federally regulated companies that employ at least 50 people and that are not covered by the province’s language law, known as Bill 101.

“The Government of Canada considers it important to act upon these companies to promote and protect the use of French as a language of service and work,” the working paper says.

Ms. Joly is proposing to modify the Official Languages Act to oblige those employers to communicate with employees in French in Quebec and in parts of the country that are mostly French-speaking. The law would also prohibit discrimination against an employee who does not have sufficient knowledge of English.

Another one of Ms. Joly’s proposals is to enshrine into law the requirement that Supreme Court of Canada justices be bilingual. The federal Liberals had already promised to appoint only functionally bilingual judges, but Ms. Joly says the law should be amended to ensure future governments do the same.

The working document also commits to increasing immigration to maintain the demographic weight of francophones outside Quebec at around 4.4 per cent of the country’s population.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Joly’s proposals were generally well received on Friday. Jean Johnson, president of a minority languages group, Federation des communautes francophones et acadienne, said he hoped a bill is adopted before the next election.

Senator Rene Cormier from New Brunswick, who is head of the Senate committee on official languages, said he hopes to meet with Ms. Joly “as soon as possible” to talk about the process to update the country’s officials languages law.

Know what is happening in the halls of power with the day’s top political headlines and commentary as selected by Globe editors (subscribers only). Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies