Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé announced the details of his plans to fill the role of French Language Services Commissioner within his office.
Mr. Dubé will choose the new commissioner with the assistance of an expert panel: Michel A. Carrier (Interim Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick), and Linda Cardinal (University of Ottawa professor and internationally recognized authority on language rights).
Under provincial legislation that took effect on 1 May, the Ombudman was given the responsibility of the formerly independent office of the French Language Services Commissioner, and required to create a position of commissioner at the level of deputy Ombudsman.
"My office takes our new responsibility for protecting and promoting the French langauge righst of Ontarians very seriously," Mr Dubé said. "The new commissioner, who will report directly to me, will be someone who has strong knowledge of and credibility within the franco-Ontarian community, as well as a keen sense of equity and fairness." The full job posting can be found HERE.
The new commissioner is expected to be chosen by late fall, Mr. Dubé said. In the interim, the Ombudsman will serve as the commissioner, following the departure on August 15 of Acting Commissioner Jean-Gilles Pelletier, who was executive director of the former Office of the French Language Services Commissioner (FLSC) and continued to lead that office’s staff after they became the Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit as of May 1.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Jean-Gilles for his work in steering the team through a challenging transition period, which included successfully hosting the International Association of Language Commissioners’ annual conference in Toronto in late June,” Mr. Dubé said. “He has also been invaluable in helping us identify key ongoing issues of importance to the francophone community, and ensuring uninterrupted service to the public.”
The Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit, consisting of staff from the former FLSC, continues to respond to complaints and work on ongoing investigations. Since May 1, Mr. Dubé has met with several key stakeholders from Ontario’s francophone community and officials charged with the promotion of language rights across Canada and around the world. He is committed to fostering productive relationships that will help promote Ontarians’ rights under the French Language Services Act.