Community of Official Languages/Consultation Corner
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The Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations are the instrument for applying Part IV of the Official Languages Act. They enable institutions to determine whether a federal office must provide its services in English, in French, or in both official languages.
The Regulations and the Directive on the Implementation of the Official Languages (Communications with and Service to the Public) Regulations prescribe two scenarios where an institution must communicate with official language minority communities:
1. When applying the principle of proportionality
An institution must offer bilingual communications and services in a number of offices equal to, or greater than, the proportion (%) of the minority in a region when it has more than one office offering the same services in that region.
When the number of offices to become bilingual has been determined, the institution must take into account the mandate of the offices, the distribution of the minority, and the advice received after consultation with the minority to choose which one (s) will be bilingually designated among the offices involved in the calculation.
Example: if 3 offices offer the same services in a region where the linguistic minority is 22,4%, the calculation would be: 3 x 22,4% = 0,672. A fraction has to be rounded up to the next whole number, therefore 1 of these 3 offices must be bilingual. In consultation with the communities served, the institution must determine which of these 3 offices should be designated bilingual.
2. When some bilingually designated offices become unilingual
The institution has up to 2 years to inform the minority served by the office(s) of the scheduled date for the discontinuation of bilingual services and the way in which they will now be able to receive services in their official language.