Bilingual Canada 'works well'

After more than three decades, Canada's policy of bilingualism in federal government is working well – with the exception of one area, the head of the country's civil service has said.

    Federal signs and papers appear in both English and French

    President of the Treasury Board Lucienne Robillard said on Monday the only losers appeared to be English-speaking bureaucrats employed by the government in the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec.

     

    “As a whole, the work forces subject to the act are reflective of both official language communities in Canadian society,” said Robillard, presenting an annual report on the state of bilingualism in the federal government.

     

    Outside the Ottawa-Gatineau region, only 7.6% of federal government employees are Anglophone even though 12.9% of Quebec's entire population is comprised of native English speakers, said Robillard.

     

    Language laws

      

    Nationwide, native English-speakers make up 75% of the overall population and 72% of public service employees, while native French speakers accounted for 24% of the population and 27% of federal bureaucrats.

     

    The Official Languages Act, introduced in the 1970s, was designed to ensure Canadians could receive federal government services in either English or French - especially in Canada's predominantly English-speaking regions.

     

    Overall, Robillard reported that 81% of all federal civil servants with supervisory duties were sufficiently bilingual - down slightly from the 82% reported last year.

    SOURCE: AFP


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