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Results: 1 - 15 of 15
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-04-04 12:55
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Prémont and Ms. Champagne, welcome to my province of Ontario.
I'm also a lawyer in Ontario. I simply want to understand. In Quebec, bills are adopted in French, then translated. Is that how the process works? Texts are translated afterward, and they may contain errors.
Claudia P. Prémont
View Claudia P. Prémont Profile
Claudia P. Prémont
2017-04-04 12:56
No. In fact, we don't really agree on how the process works exactly.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-04-04 12:56
I want to understand better. It's important.
Sylvie Champagne
View Sylvie Champagne Profile
Sylvie Champagne
2017-04-04 12:56
The bills are available in both languages. The parliamentary commissions study them, and the commissions often make amendments. The amendments aren't always available in both languages. However, when the bill is passed, the version in both languages is passed.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-04-04 12:56
I understand.
You also mentioned that errors sometimes occur. In the past, errors were made in the translation of legislation, and these errors took years to correct. Has this caused problems? When legislation is first written in French then translated into English, the English version may contain errors. Do you think this has caused problems in certain cases where people relied on the English interpretation of the legislation?
Sylvie Champagne
View Sylvie Champagne Profile
Sylvie Champagne
2017-04-04 12:57
Certainly, when lawyers prepare their cases, in both Quebec and Ontario, they read the two versions of the legislation. They can make arguments based on the fact that a section doesn't have the same meaning in English and French. At that point, the issue must be brought before the court to determine the actual intention of the legislator. Obviously, the fact that the two versions don't have the same meaning causes issues.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-04-04 12:57
This boils down to your lawyer colleagues' ability to translate. In response to my colleague's question, you said there was no school or environment that supported this type of work. Where are your lawyer colleagues, the ones who do translation, trained?
In the federal government, it's a specialty. Some lawyers do only translation. Some translate from English to French, and others specialize in translating from French to English to ensure consistency. This capacity also exists in Ontario. What about in Quebec?
Claudia P. Prémont
View Claudia P. Prémont Profile
Claudia P. Prémont
2017-04-04 12:58
The Quebec government tells us that it's extremely difficult to find jurilinguists because the real jurilinguists work on the Ontario side, in Ottawa. They aren't necessarily interested in working in Quebec. It's a very real difficulty that must be dealt with.
In this context, the people who are currently translating legislation don't necessarily have jurilinguist training. They're translators, but not necessarily lawyers, or they're perfectly bilingual lawyers, but not necessarily translators.
I referred to an agreement earlier. The Bar of Montreal is even ready to consider that a perfectly bilingual civil lawyer would be able to do a good job. We're not talking about someone who has translation training, but about an anglophone civil lawyer.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2017-04-04 12:59
The federal government and other provinces, especially New Brunswick and Ontario, have created this capacity and expertise. However, in Quebec, work still needs to be done. You said that, in Quebec, some lawyers still do translation even though they don't have any translation training, and that some translators do a bit of legal translation even though they don't have any legal training.
Claudia P. Prémont
View Claudia P. Prémont Profile
Claudia P. Prémont
2017-04-04 12:59
From what I understand, it's very difficult to recruit people who have this training.
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Paul Lefebvre Profile
2016-06-08 16:21
Great.
In addition, you wrote that only a very small proportion of the legal proceedings instituted over the past quarter of a century, including under the court challenges program, had led to the adoption of legislation intended to clarify federal institutions' language obligations or to the development of guidelines for implementing decisions.
Could you give us examples of bills you promote or could suggest?
Graham Fraser
View Graham Fraser Profile
Graham Fraser
2016-06-08 16:21
I'm a bit out of ideas. I will ask Pascale whether there are any examples of bills. She is telling me that there aren't. We will certainly talk about this in more detail.
There are four bills related to Air Canada that died on the Order Paper, but that does not concern the language rights support program.
Another element I mentioned in this report disappointed me a bit. I am talking about the number of times official language minority communities have instituted legal proceedings against a province or a territory and found that the Department of Justice was not on their side. I don't know whether we need a government decision, regulations or a bill, but I think it's unfortunate for the federal government to intervene in order to oppose the claims of official language minority communities.
Graham Fraser
View Graham Fraser Profile
Graham Fraser
2016-06-08 16:35
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Yesterday morning I submitted my special report, “Air Canada: On the road to increased compliance through an effective enforcement regime”, to the offices of the Speakers of the Houses of Commons and the Senate. The report describes the means used by me and my predecessors to ensure that Air Canada fully complies with its language obligations under the Official Languages Act.
It also contains options for Parliament to modernize the enforcement scheme for Air Canada. I reiterate that certain legal voids must be filled that have persisted since Air Canada was restructured in 2003-2004.
Finally, the report contains a single recommendation to Parliament, that this report be referred to one of the two standing committees on official languages for study.
Created by Parliament in 1937, Air Canada has always been a symbol of Canadian identity because it was built with public funds and because it has Canada in its name and the maple leaf on its logo.
Air Canada has been subject to the entire Official Languages Act for nearly 50 years, first as a crown corporation under the 1969 Official Languages Act and then under section 10 of the Air Canada Public Participation Act after the airline was privatized in 1988.
Since its privatization, Air Canada has gone through many financial and commercial transformations. However, as a national airline that was built with public funds, Air Canada must reflect the bilingual nature of the country and continue to meet its official languages obligations.
After 10 years as Commissioner, I believe it is important to provide an overview to Parliament of the ongoing problem regarding Air Canada's compliance with the Official Languages Act.
Of all the institutions subject to the act, Air Canada is, and has always been, among those that generate the largest number of complaints processed every year by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. With respect to the public, a number of investigations showed that in-flight and ground services are not always of equal quality in both official languages at all points of service and on all bilingual routes.
Despite the passing years and repeated interventions by successive commissioners of official languages, the situation has not changed much. Some of those infractions involve routes where providing bilingual services would seem to be obvious, like Montreal-Bathurst or Toronto-Quebec City.
After hundreds of investigations and recommendations, after an in-depth audit and after two court cases—including one that went to the Supreme Court of Canada—the fact remains that my numerous interventions, like those of my predecessors, have not produced the desired results.
From 2005 to 2011, four successive bills were introduced to resolve the application issues caused by Air Canada's restructuring in 2003-04. Unfortunately, all of them died on the Order Paper.
This is only the second time in the history of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages that a commissioner has submitted a special report to Parliament. I believe that this issue is important enough to be considered independently of my annual report, and I wanted to provide parliamentarians with a full account of our persistent efforts over many years. This is not a single-year issue. I also had many other matters to address in my annual report, including two important recommendations to government.
I think it is now no longer enough to make recommendations following investigations or audits, nor is it enough to report on Air Canada's compliance in annual reports to Parliament. This special report is the last tool I have at my disposal, which is why I submitted it to Parliament today. It's now up to Parliament to make the necessary legislative changes. The status quo is not working.
I therefore recommend that Parliament refer this special report for study on a priority basis to one of the two standing committees on official languages. In the report, I propose different options to modernize the enforcement scheme for Air Canada in order to help guide official languages parliamentary committees in their examination of this report.
In particular, the Air Canada Public Participation Act must be amended in order to uphold the language rights of the travelling public and Air Canada employees in the airline's current structure, and enforcement of the Official Languages Act must be strengthened in order to improve Air Canada's compliance.
Air Canada says that its obligations under the Official Languages Act put it at a disadvantage compared to its competitors. Air Canada believes that the solution is to make the act applicable to all airlines.
In my view, a better indicator of success would be a more effective enforcement scheme for the act that is better adapted to Air Canada's reality. However, despite our disagreements, Air Canada and I are in agreement on one thing: the government should act.
As I near the end of my time in office, I think it is important to bring this issue to Parliament's attention and to propose possible solutions. It is now up to parliamentarians to address the issue.
This special report clearly demonstrates that despite the interventions of the commissioners of official languages since 1969, the problems persist.
Therefore, I ask that the government make this a high priority in order to protect the language rights of the travelling public and Air Canada employees.
Thank you.
I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
View Bernard Généreux Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Dion is now part of the government.
Were the most recent proposals in his bill effective and appropriate?
Graham Fraser
View Graham Fraser Profile
Graham Fraser
2016-06-08 16:45
Yes, I think so. I think it was a response to a problem he had seen. As a former minister, he thought that the Supreme Court's interpretation was not consistent with the government's intentions when it voted for the Montreal Convention. The government never thought that the Montreal Convention would take precedence over the Official Languages Act. His bill was therefore intended to ensure that the Official Languages Act would take precedence over the Montreal Convention.
We had indicated our position on this. We maintained that, as a quasi-constitutional law, it already took precedence, but a majority of the Supreme Court held the opposite. It said that the Montreal Convention, as an international agreement, took precedence.
His bill was a response to that decision, and that response was consistent with the position we argued before the Supreme Court.
Results: 1 - 15 of 15

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