Strengthening Access to Justice in French
Ottawa Courthouse to Pilot Seamless French Language Services
Ontario is implementing a pilot project to provide seamless French language services at the Ottawa courthouse.
The year-long pilot aims to reduce challenges for French-speaking litigants, lawyers and others using the Ontario court system in Ottawa. This project responds to a number of recommendations set out by the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory committee in the 2012 report, Access to Justice in French.
The pilot will be based on the concept of active offer and will ensure that francophones receive appropriate services and support from the moment they enter the courthouse. The use of technology, such as videoconferencing, may also be explored to provide French services remotely.
A project team has been created to implement the pilot, which is expected to begin in spring 2015.By improving the delivery of French-language justice services, the Ontario government is working with its partners to build a more inclusive, accessible and responsive justice system for all Ontarians.
- According to the 2011 census, 42.2 per cent of Ontario francophones live in eastern Ontario. The remaining population is distributed across central (30 per cent), northeastern (20.8 per cent), southwestern (5.7 per cent) and northwestern (1.2 per cent) Ontario.
- Ottawa is a region designated under both the French Language Services Act and the Courts of Justice Act.
- Providing services in French is a requirement, where applicable, under the Criminal Code of Canada, the Courts of Justice Act, and the French Language Services Act.
- Learn more about French language services in Ontario’s justice sector.
“As Ontario’s first female francophone Attorney General, I know firsthand the importance of Ontarians having appropriate access to justice in French. This project will help raise awareness and understanding of French language rights and services, and inform our government’s future planning.”
“I look forward to seeing the results of this important initiative for Ottawa’s French-speaking community. The concepts tested here will help us determine how we can continue to improve justice services for the francophone population in courts across Ontario.”
The Honourable George Strathy
“This pilot responds, in a holistic and co-ordinated way, to the recommendations in the Access to Justice in French report, and will create seamless French-language services for the francophone community in Ottawa. I am proud that the Superior Court of Justice is partnering with the ministry on this unique initiative.”
The Honourable Heather Forster Smith
“I applaud the authors of the Access to Justice in French report for identifying ways we can continue to strengthen services for French-speaking clients. Together, with the ministry, we are taking the next steps in implementing this important advice.”
The Honourable Annemarie E. Bonkalo