After careful consideration and wide-ranging consultations, a group of Francophone organizations working at the local, provincial and national levels has proposed #BilingualOttawa, a pragmatic approach that allows municipal officials to officially recognize the bilingual nature of the City of Ottawa.
The #BilingualOttawa project is simple yet innovative. It seeks to build on existing foundations and recognizes the level of French language services already offered by the City of Ottawa. As stated by Mayor Jim Watson, the Policy on Bilingualism and the Bilingualism By-law (No. 2001-170) currently in place have been working reasonably well since 2001. Consequently, they should be maintained with the addition of some clarifications and safeguards to ensure their continuity for future generations.
- Above all, #BilingualOttawa wants to protect the Policy on Bilingualism by incorporating it into the Bilingualism By-law, a legal tool that is both stronger and more difficult to amend.
- The City of Ottawa is regulated by a provincial law, the City of Ottawa Act, 1999. This act stipulates that the City of Ottawa must have a Policy on Bilingualism. The project #BilingualOttawa proposes to modify the City’s enabling law so that it officially recognizes the equal status of French and English in the City of Ottawa. The project members also want the City of Ottawa to adopt a Bilingualism By-law rather than a policy. To do so, city council will have to adopt a resolution asking the Province of Ontario to enact these changes.
The #BilingualOttawa project is proposed by the following organisations :
- Association des communautés francophones d’Ottawa (ACFO)
- Association Richelieu Fondateur
- Fédération des aînés et retraités francophones de l’Ontario (FARFO)
- Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada (FAAFC)
- Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO)
- Movement for an officially bilingual capital of Canada (MOCOB)
- Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien (RÉFO).
The group’s main purpose is to ensure the continuity of the French language services currently offered by the City of Ottawa.
This group of organizations invites the community to support #BilingualOttawa! After all, this is 2016… and 2017 is fast approaching! What a great way to welcome the entire world to our capital during Canada’s 150th anniversary and to celebrate our heritage, our diversity and our culture.