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Source: Government of Canada – MIL OSI National News

Statement

OTTAWA, September 7, 2019

Today we mark the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act.

On September 7, 1969, the Official Languages Act entered into force. It supported our vision of an inclusive society in which the two major language communities work together to build a strong and united Canada.

The Official Languages Act has provided us with a model of coexistence that is admired internationally. The Act, however, is much more than just recognition of the equal status of French and English in our institutions. It provides us a framework for expressing our great diversity. It is a symbol of some of our most cherished values as Canadians: respect, openness and equality.

The past 50 years have seen the emergence of new generations of Canadians who are proud of their first language and know that our linguistic duality is an important economic, social and cultural asset. Beyond our borders, the immense reach of French and English promotes trade and helps strengthen the leadership, prestige and influence of Canadian diplomacy in the world.

This year, Canada is proud to celebrate this important anniversary and begin looking at ways to modernize the Official Languages Act so that it can continue to have a positive effect for many years to come. Issues have arisen in the course of the 50 years since its entry into force that are making us take another look at the Act: we want to protect official-language minority communities and ensure their vitality; increase the rate of bilingualism among the Anglophone majority outside Quebec; and adapt the Act to new technologies that are changing means of communication and the work environment in federal institutions, as government becomes more and more open. It is important for this law—so essential to our shared identity, our social cohesion and our prosperity—to be able to serve our citizens and meet their needs.

From March to May, I toured the country to meet Canadians and start a process of reflection about our official languages and modernization of the Act. I was delighted to find thousands of engaged citizens, academics and leaders of official-language communities from all across the country coming out to join the conversation. A summary of what was said is now available online.

As Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women who teach our official languages, the artists who contribute to their vitality, and everyone who cares about our languages. I invite you to join me in celebrating your love for French and English, our official languages for the past 50 years.

Contacts

For more information (media only), please contact:

Jérémy Ghio
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie
jeremy.ghio@canada.ca

MIL OSI Canada News