The Enumeration of Rights-Holders Under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Toward a Census that Supports the Charter

The House Standing Committee on Official Languages (LANG) this morning presented its fifth report related to the enumeration of rights-holders under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The QCGN and the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) appeared together as witnesses on February 16, during the report’s study phase. The report makes the following recommendations, which support our community’s interests.

Recommendation 1: That, pursuant to section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Government of Canada work with the provincial and territorial governments, official-language minority school boards and other community stakeholders to develop and fund a national awareness and outreach campaign to inform Canadians about their constitutional rights in education and the language options available for their children’s schooling.

Recommendation 2: That the Government of Canada recognize it is responsible for collecting complete data on rights-holders subject to section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and commit to obtaining a complete portrait of rights-holders by 2021.

Recommendation 3: That the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development ask Statistics Canada, as part of its preparation for the 2021 Census, to establish an advisory committee specifically mandated to examine the enumeration of rights-holders under section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Recommendation 4: That the Government of Canada require Statistics Canada to include questions in the 2021 Census that would allow for the enumeration of all rights-holders under the broadest interpretation of paragraphs 23 (1) (a) and (b) and subsection 23 (2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Recommendation 5: That, as part of the next official languages action plan, the Government of Canada:

  1. mandate Statistics Canada to conduct a new post-censal survey on the vitality of official language minorities based on data from the 2021 Census; and
  2. provide Statistics Canada with the necessary funding to conduct this survey, analyze the data and distribute products derived from the survey.

Recommendation 6: That, as part of the new survey on the vitality of official language minorities, Statistics Canada establish an advisory committee that would include representatives from anglophone and francophone minority communities.

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