A federal bill aimed at modernizing the Official Languages Act is proposing radical changes that will have adverse impacts on the interpretation of this quasi- constitutional law and Quebec’s English-speaking community. That was the message the Quebec Community Groups Network took to parliamentarians examining Bill C-13 on Monday.
The Quebec Community Groups Network is calling on the Government of Canada to immediately remove all reference to Quebec’s Charter of the French Language from Bill C-13, the proposed legislation amending the Official Languages Act, and creating a new law that will impose language of work and service obligations for French only on federally regulated businesses.
For more than a year, the QCGN has been doing its best to convince the Quebec government of the shortcomings of Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec. Unfortunately, our concerns as well as those of countless Quebecers including organizations representing our business, education, health and social services, human rights and legal sectors, have been ignored.
Bill C-13 is not the bill that the official language minorities asked for. In Bill C-13, the federal government is poised to abandon half a century of official language policy and turn the OLA into legislation aimed at the protection and promotion of one official language.
MONTREAL, April 14, 2022 – English-speaking Quebecers are deeply disappointed that the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government has refused to correct an ill-advised measure in Bill 96 that would impact the educational success of our youth.
The QCGN presents its overview of Bill C-13, An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada’s Official Languages, introduced in the House of Commons on March 1, 2022.
Today, Minister Petitpas Taylor’s Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, was tabled in the House of Commons. Like its predecessor C-32, an Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act, that died on the order paper before the last election, the new legislation contains some positive measures. However, it must also be acknowledged that in several areas the federal government has abandoned 50 years of commitment to the national vision of linguistic duality and equality in federal law between our official languages from sea to sea to sea.
More members of Quebec’s English-language community have in recent days added their voices to reject the plan by Premier François Legault to limit government services in English to his restrictive definition of “historic anglophones” – only persons eligible to attend primary and secondary school in English in Quebec.
The Quebec Community Groups Network is utterly dismayed with the Quebec government’s decision to cancel funding for construction a new pavilion at Dawson College.
The long-planned and long-delayed proposal to build a new facility to house Dawson College’s seven health-care training programs on the college’s campus was quashed on Friday when administrators received an unexpected call from Danielle McCann, minister of Higher Education. She urged Dawson to explore other options, including leasing. McCann also remarked that the government aims to “prioritize the needs of Francophone students.”
Despite strong objections from the English-speaking community that included a 4,500-name petition tabled in the National Assembly, the Quebec government has eviscerated the Provincial Committee for the Provision of Health Services and Social Services in the English Language. The government is now recruiting replacement members.
“Two days before the petition was tabled in the National Assembly on Dec. 10 – in the middle of a public health emergency during which the population is fully fixated on COVID-19 – the government stealthily enacted a new regulation governing the provincial committee,” says Marlene Jennings, president of the Quebec Community Groups Network.