Is Canada Truly Bilingual?

Both French and English are official languages of Canada which “have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their usage in all institutions of the Parliament and Government of Canada,” according to Canada’s constitution.
However, Canada’s provinces and territories have adopted widely diverging policies regarding minority-language services. Given the wide range of services, ranging from policing, health care and education, that fall under provincial jurisdiction, these divergences have considerable importance.

Hopefully, I can simplify this by showing you how each province and territory work with this.

Alberta uses both English and French in Parliament/Legislature. Their laws and regulations are in English only. Their courts can be bilingual in oral submissions, but not in written form.

British Columbia uses only English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations are in English only, and their courts are in English only.

Manitoba uses both English and French in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

New Brunswick uses both English and French in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Newfoundland and Labrador use only English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Nova Scotia uses only English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Ontario uses both French and English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Prince Edward Island only uses English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Quebec uses both French and English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Saskatchewan uses both French and English in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Yukon uses both French and English, as well as Yukon aboriginal languages, in Parliament/Legislature, their laws and regulations and in their courts.

Northwest Territories uses both French and English, and any of the other nine official territorial languages, in Parliament/Legislature. A person can also use one of the other nine official languages for oral submissions in their courts. The other nine official languages are Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey and Tłı̨chǫ.

Nunavut uses both French and English, as we the Inuit language, in Parliament/Legislature, and their laws and regulations and are also the Inuit language in their courts.

 

8 comments

  1. Here in the USA we mostly speak gibberish, when we are not out-right lying. In the Southern states, the norm is to smile to your face and then stab you in the back. Civility? Oui? – Ouscuier

    P.S. I see that you are back to posting. I’ll be checking in more often now.

    Like

  2. Another wrinkle in the bilingual fabric of Canada: although the Constitution guarantees equal status of French and English, the majority of constitutional documents are enacted only in English. The Constitution Act, 1982, required French versions of constitutional documents to be prepared and enacted “as expeditiously as possible.” They were tabled in Parliament in 1990, but never enacted. A hot political potato … ou une patate chaude.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I posted this blog post on a FaceBook genealogy group page what originates from UK and has members from all over the world. Below are three comments that were post on the FB page.

    Norene -: That about sums it up. The government is definitely bilingual and a lot of parents choose French immersion for their kids. This is great for government jobs and the cultural aspect falls in with the vision of a bilingual country. Quebec has wanted to be a distinct society or separate for many years. You can tell by the article which provinces disagree. I’m surprised my redneck Alberta includes French. I took eight years of French in school but we never used it except to bug our parents. At least it was an easy grade for the most part.

    · Reply · 1h

    Jackie -: Norene -: go to Richmond, B.C. and almost every sign is in Mandarin. Lots of English speakers not happy about it either, but that’s another story.

    · Reply · 38m
    Norene -: Jackie -: wow, I had no idea. We’re such a mixed pot here but I don’t see anything but English and french signage. Or I don’t notice being in my small town bubble. We still have Christmas concerts here!
    B.C. must have a lot of far East influences from being a Pacific port.

    Liked by 1 person

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