Brief Submitted to the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages
Study on Canadians’ Views about Modernizing the Official Languages Act
Founded in 1995, the QCGN is a not-for-profit organization linking more than 56 English- language community organizations across Quebec.
The Quebec Community Groups Network (“QCGN”) welcomes this opportunity to contribute to this Committee’s study on modernizing the Official Languages Act (“the Act”). In the spirit of modernization, the QCGN takes this opportunity to present a picture of the contemporary English-speaking community of Quebec. As this Committee noted in 2011, there are certain widely-held myths regarding this community. The QCGN hopes to contribute to a modernized understanding of this community and its role as a unique and important official language minority community in Canada. In this regard, the QCGN puts forward three propositions:
- 1) The English-speaking community of Quebec is a unique official language minority community;
- 2) The English-speaking community of Quebec has transformed into a diverse, bilingual and resilient community, but public perception has not kept pace;
- 3) The vitality of the English-speaking community of Quebec does not threaten French in Quebec.
The Official Languages Act is a lifeline for English-speaking Quebec. The Act is the only language rights legislation that protects the interests of English-speaking Quebecers as a community. The Act sets out quasi-constitutional rights for English-speaking Quebecers, including the right to access federal services in English, the representation of English-speakers in the federal public service, and the right to work in English in the federal public service. Further, the Act provides the framework for much-needed financial support for the community’s institutions and networks.
In this brief, the QCGN presents proposals for a modernized Act.
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