Depending on where you live in Canada, you have a range of language rights in your relations with the various levels of government.
For example, Canada and New Brunswick both guarantee the right to use English or French to communicate with or receive services from their government institutions. This right applies to all federal and New Brunswick public institutions, government departments and offices, Crown corporations (such as VIA Rail, the CBC and NB Energy), organizations and corporations acting on behalf of the government, and even some private corporations (such as Air Canada).
Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island have enacted legislation and taken other measures to ensure active offer of government services in French to their francophone minorities.
The Northwest Territories and Nunavut guarantee the provision of government services not only in English and French but also in certain indigenous languages. Nunavut has adopted an ambitious scheme to revitalize Inuktut and make it a prime language of public service in the territory.
In accordance with its statutory obligations, the City of Ottawa guarantees Ottawa residents equal access to municipal services in both official languages.
Some public institutions, such as the University of Ottawa, Laurentian University and the Law Society of Ontario, in addition to having statutory obligations, have adopted internal regulations and policies guaranteeing access to services in French.
All of these governments and institutions have created entities (commissioners, secretariats, offices, etc.) responsible for overseeing the implementation of the applicable language norms through a mechanism for dealing with language complaints.
A language complaint is a report by an individual of a specific incident in which a law, regulation or policy guaranteeing the offer of services in an official language or languages was not followed.
A complaint is therefore an official mechanism to communicate a person’s dissatisfaction or concerns about the absence of services in the official language of their choice, the inadequate quality of the services, or the lack of personnel to respond to the official language minority community’s needs.
For example, a complaint could be about:
This means that you can file a complaint at any time when you believe your language rights have not been respected.
It is very important to inform the competent authorities of any violations of language rights:
Planctus allows you to submit language complaints to 12 different competent authorities with responsibility for protecting your language rights; they are:
Well done! When a complaint is submitted via planctus, it is dealt with by the commissioner’s office or complaints office in question. Normally, you should receive an email acknowledging receipt. The competent authority will then determine whether the complaint is admissible (that is, whether it was sent to the right authority) and, if so, will initiate an investigation to discover the causes of the problems and will work with the government department or the institution or office concerned to find a solution. Each competent authority operates by its own service standards, but you can generally expect to receive a follow-up email within a few weeks after you file your complaint.
your right to receive
services in the
official language of your
a problem that
the people responsible
were not aware of
governments and institutions
about the requirements of
the applicable language laws,
regulations and policies.
Let me guide you through filing your language complaint.
Do you know which language commissioner, or which office, you should address your complaint to?