Ministry of the Attorney General Français
Ministry of the Attorney General

Enhancing Access to Justice in French: A Response to the Access to Justice in French Report

The French Language Services Bench and Bar
Response Steering Committee

Ministry of the Attorney General

September 2015

Table of Contents

  1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  2. OVERVIEW
  3. SECTION 1: BACKGROUND
    1. 1.1 Issues Addressed by the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee in the First Report
    2. 1.2 Access to Justice in French Report Recommendations
    3. 1.3 Creation of the FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee
      1. 1.3.i Terms of Reference/Structure for the Response Steering Committee
      2. 1.3.ii The “Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project”
    4. 1.4 Section Highlights
  4. SECTION 2: OBJECTIVES FOR ENSURING ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH
    1. 2.1 Service Objective
      1. 2.1.i The FLS Service Standards
    2. 2.2 Defining the Active Offer Objective
      1. 2.2.i Definitions
      2. 2.2.ii Guiding Principles
      3. 2.2.iii Government Response
    3. 2.3 Section Highlights
  5. SECTION 3: RESPONSE TO REPORT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
    1. 3.I – FRAMEWORK FOR FRENCH LANGUAGE RIGHTS IN ONTARIO
      1. 3.I.1 Identifying the Challenges in the Existing Legislative Framework
        1. 3.I.1.i Statutory Review of Part XVII of the Criminal Code - Language of the Accused Section
        2. 3.i.1.ii Review of Access to French Language Bail Hearings
        3. 3.I.1.iii Harmonisation of Provincial Statutes
        4. 3.I.1.iv Consistent Access to FLS in Provincial Offences Act Proceedings
      2. 3.I.2 Regulatory Framework
        1. 3.I.2.i Additional FLSA Designated Areas
        2. 3.I.2.ii Regulation - Third Party Service Providers
      3. 3.I.3 Policy Framework
        1. 3.I.3.i. Directives/Guidelines
        2. 3.I.3.ii Policies/Procedures/Standards
          1. 3.I.3.ii.a Ministry
            1. FLS Strategic Plan
            2. Service Standards
            3. Signage
          2. 3.I.3.ii.b Justice Partners and Others
            1. Legal Aid Ontario
            2. Law Society of Upper Canada
            3. Ontario Provincial Police Policies Recognising the Importance of FLS
            4. Enabling Quebec Lawyers to Offer Legal Services in Ontario
      4. 3.I.4 Section Highlights
    2. 3.II – FRENCH EDUCATION AND AWARENESS OF FRENCH LANGUAGE RIGHTS
      1. 3.II.1 Judiciary
        1. 3.II.1.i Education/Training in French and Creation of Awareness of Language Rights
        2. 3.II.1.ii Resources
        3. 3.II.1.iii Bilingual Mentoring Programs
        4. 3.II.1.iv Section Highlights
      2. 3. II. 2 Lawyers
        1. 3.II.2.i Education/Training in French, Professional Development and Creation of Awareness of Language Rights
          1. Law Society of Upper Canada
          2. AJEFO
          3. Réseau national de formation en justice
        2. 3.II.2.ii Mentoring for Lawyers
        3. 3.II.2.iii Courses to Train Law Students in French
          1. Common Law Study in French
          2. Exchanges
          3. French Legal Education
          4. Alternative Articles in French
          5. AJEFO Initiatives
        4. 3.II.2.iv Section Highlights
      3. 3.II.3 Ministry
        1. 3.II.3.i Education/Training in French, Professional Development and Creation of Awareness of Language Rights
          1. Court Services Division
          2. Criminal Law Division
          3. Agency and Tribunal Relations Division
          4. Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division
            1. Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
            2. Ontario Victims Services
        2. 3.II.3.ii French Language Training
        3. 3.II.3.iii Section Highlights
      4. 3.II.4 Delivery of FLS through Municipal and Justice Sector Partners
        1. 3.II.4.i Municipal Partners
        2. 3.II.4.ii Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
          1. Ontario Provincial Police
          2. Ontario Police College
        3. 3.II.4.iii Legal Aid Ontario
        4. 3.II.4.iv Section Highlights
      5. 3.II.5 Increasing Public Awareness of French Language Rights
        1. 3.II.5.i Sources of Information Available to the Public
          1. Justice Sector Electronic Information
          2. Ontario Courts Website
          3. Other Justice Partner Websites
          4. Other Information Materials
        2. 3.II.5.ii Outreach
        3. 3.II.5.iii Other Initiatives
          1. Rights of Accused/Litigants
          2. Pilot Project
        4. 3.II.5.iv Section Highlights
    3. 3.III – ATTAINING ADEQUATE BILINGUAL CAPACITY
      1. 3.III.1 Judiciary
        1. 3.III.1.i Ontario Court of Justice
        2. 3.III.1.ii Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal
        3. 3.III.1.iii Section Highlights
      2. 3.III.2 Lawyers
        1. 3.III.2.i Law Society of Upper Canada
        2. 3.III.2.ii AJEFO
        3. 3.III.2.iii Law Faculties and Practice Programs
        4. 3.III.2.iv Section Highlights
      3. 3.III.3 Ministry of the Attorney General
        1. 3.III.3.i Court Services Division
        2. 3.III.3.ii Criminal Law Division
        3. 3.III.3.iii Office of the Coordinator of FLS
        4. 3.III.3.iv Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division
          1. Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee
          2. Victim/Witness Assistance Program
        5. 3.III.3.v Section Highlights
      4. 3.III.4 Justice Sector Partners
        1. 3.III.4.i Legal Aid Ontario
        2. 3.III.4.ii Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
          1. Ontario Provincial Police
          2. Ontario Police College
        3. 3.III.4.iii Section Highlights
    4. 3.IV – COORDINATION/DELIVERY of FLS in ONTARIO
      1. 3.IV.1 Judiciary and Ministry
        1. 3.IV.1.i FLS Regional Committees
        2. 3.IV.1.ii Pilot Projects
          1. Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project
          2. Toronto South Detention Centre Pilot Project
          3. Small Claims Court E-Filing Project
        3. 3.IV.1.iii Innovation
          1. Daily Court Lists Online
          2. E-Orders
        4. 3.IV.1.iv Section Highlights
      2. 3.IV.2 Ministry of the Attorney General
        1. 3.IV.2.i Court Services Division
          1. Staffing
          2. Communication
        2. 3.IV.2.ii Criminal Law Division
        3. 3.IV.2.iii Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division
        4. 3.IV.2.iv Section Highlights
      3. 3.IV.3 Municipal and other Justice Partners and the Ministry
        1. 3.IV.3.i Provincial Offences Act
        2. 3.IV.3.ii Ontario Provincial Police and other Police Forces
        3. 3.IV.3.iii Legal Aid Ontario
        4. 3.IV.3.iv Section Highlights
      4. 3.IV.4 Lawyers and Paralegals
        1. 3.IV.4.i Law Society
          1. Protocol
        2. 3.IV.4.ii Ontario Bar Association
        3. 3.IV.4.iii AJEFO
        4. 3.IV.4.iv Section Highlights
  6. SECTION 4: SEAMLESS ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH PILOT PROJECT
    1. 4.1 Pilot Project Background
    2. 4.2 Pilot Project Objectives and Scope
    3. 4.3 Pilot Project Team
    4. 4.4 Specific Challenges to be Addressed by the Pilot Project
      1. 4.4.i Providing FLS Based on Active Offer
      2. 4.4.ii Bail Hearings
      3. 4.4.iii Timing of the Communication of French Language Rights
        1. 4.4.iii.a Awareness of French and Bilingual Proceedings
        2. 4.4.iii.b Communicating French Language Rights in Different Areas of the Law
      4. 4.4.iv Delays
      5. 4.4.v Partner Collaboration – Judiciary
      6. 4.4.vi Recruitment and Retention of Bilingual Court Staff
      7. 4.4.vii Stakeholder Collaboration
      8. 4.4.viii Statistics and Tracking
      9. 4.4.ix Training
    5. 4.5 Best Practices arising from the Pilot Project/Review
    6. 4.6 Section Highlights
  7. SECTION 5 - CONCLUSIONS and SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT
    1. 5.1 Access to Justice in French Report and the Response Steering Committee
    2. 5.2 Results
    3. 5.3 Suggestions for Further Improvement
    4. 5.4 Section Highlights
  8. APPENDICES

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

OVERVIEW/BACKGROUND

The primary role of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee was to develop a plan for the implementation of the recommendations of the 2012 Access to Justice in French report to the Attorney General.

This response report, in fact, goes beyond mere implementation planning and outlines solutions that have actually been or are being implemented to further enhance the French language rights of Ontarians and access to the justice system in French. It also introduces the “Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project”.

OBJECTIVES FOR ENSURING ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH

The 2012 report outlined two overarching objectives: the need for a renewed commitment to deliver French language services based on the concept of the “active offer” and a clearly defined Ministry of the Attorney General “service objective” for French language services in Ontario.

Following the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, the Office of Francophone Affairs developed guidelines for the “active offer”, the most significant component of providing services to French-speaking clients, and determined that Ontario government staff must actively offer French language services such that the onus is not on the clients to request services in French. Moreover, those services offered must actually be available in that location and of equivalent quality to those in English.

New online training modules on the “active offer” are currently being prepared for all Ontario Public Service employees.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has also drafted and is finalising its own specific service standards for the provision of French language services, which once approved will assist the Ministry to continue to meet its obligations and measure its success against tangible benchmarks.

RESPONSE TO REPORT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

FRAMEWORK FOR FRENCH LANGUAGE RIGHTS IN ONTARIO

The legislative, regulatory and policy framework for Ontario’s French language rights developed gradually over many years, resulting in a scheme that is complex and frequently presents challenges for justice professionals and litigants.

To help address these challenges, the Office of Francophone Affairs has initiated a process to explore the harmonisation of the relevant provisions of the two provincial statutes that confer language rights in Ontario courts, the Courts of Justice Act and the French Language Services Act.

At the same time, the Ministry’s Court Services Division has recruited bilingual staff volunteers to support French-speaking clients remotely in areas not currently covered by the French Language Services Act.

As for federally legislated rights, the Criminal Code currently does not provide for French bail hearings; however, Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has recommended consultation with the provinces to determine whether it is advisable to broaden the scope of the Criminal Code to include bail hearings and, if so, to explore appropriate solutions.

While that longer-term work by the federal government continues, Ontario will be providing French bail hearings at the Ottawa courthouse as part of the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project.

FRENCH EDUCATION AND AWARENESS OF FRENCH LANGUAGE RIGHTS

Promoting education in French and awareness of French language rights is essential and numerous steps have been taken to address this.

There has been significant progress in the areas of French language and language rights education and availability of language resources for Ontario judges and justices of the peace, and all three courts in Ontario now have mentoring programs for their newly-appointed bilingual members.

The Law Society of Upper Canada and others offer continuing professional development programs and events in French for lawyers, including training on common law terminology. In fact, the licensing process now requires that lawyer candidates successfully demonstrate knowledge of language rights. Moreover, a new Law Practice Program, an alternative to traditional articles, is being offered in French at the University of Ottawa.

The Ministry of the Attorney General provides various French language and language rights training opportunities for staff. For example, the Criminal Law Division and the Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services lead a French Language Institute for Professional Development, an intensive training program for bilingual justice professionals working in the area of criminal law, while the Courts Services Division has created new tools and resources and made them easily available to its staff through a new desktop icon that appears on every computer.

The Strategic Plan for the Development of French Language Services in the Justice Sector has, for some years, provided a framework for the Justice Sector ministries to consult regularly with Francophone stakeholders and partners with respect to progress made and new initiatives. This useful practice is now being transformed into a permanent initiative that will continue to set benchmarks and improve the delivery of French language services in the Justice Sector.

Finally, to enhance public awareness of language rights and of available services, the justice ministries, the judiciary and justice partners have also made available a broad collection of public information materials and new online sources.

ATTAINING ADEQUATE BILINGUAL CAPACITY

Adequate bilingual capacity in Ontario’s justice system is crucial in all of the justice professional groups with which the public interacts – the judiciary, private sector lawyers and government officials. Insufficient bilingual capacity within any one group will lead to issues in accessing justice in French.

Effective recruitment and formal language assessment of bilingual judicial candidates continues to be needed at all levels of Ontario courts. While the appointment processes for Superior Court and Ontario Court of Justice judges are unchanged, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice continues to indicate to the Minister of Justice a preference for the appointment of a French-speaking judge whenever she identifies that need; the Office of the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice has committed to appointing a bilingual judge to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee and to encouraging it to seek out bilingual candidates.

The Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee actively considers French language needs and applies official French standardised language testing.

Properly-trained bilingual judicial officials also require a corresponding French-speaking bar accessible to Ontario Francophones. The Law Society of Upper Canada has modified its annual reporting requirements to include questions relating to lawyers’ abilities in French.

The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario continues to actively promote French language justice rights and to attempt to ensure that Ontario has adequate numbers of bilingual justice professionals.

This is aided by a new national agreement enabling Quebec lawyers to practise more easily in Ontario.

To ensure adequate numbers of bilingual lawyers in the future, various law faculties in Ontario are considering the feasibility of offering law programs in French and some already do so.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has made progress with various bilingual employee recruitment strategies and a review of designated bilingual positions. Ongoing language training, work resources, and other tools assist staff with readying themselves for French proficiency testing. The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has also taken steps to enhance its bilingual hiring and retention strategies.

A new tool to determine current and future “Designated Bilingual Position” needs allows managers in both ministries to conduct an analysis of existing positions, identify gaps, and implement strategies to ensure adequate bilingual capacity.

Legal Aid Ontario has an effective strategy for the recruitment and retention of bilingual staff and often exceeds the basic bilingual designation requirements.

To better face the existing challenges with bilingual recruitment and any anticipated shortage of bilingual justice professionals in the coming years, the newly formed Réseau national de formation en justice brings together various partners to determine current and future training needs, develop training initiatives, and ensure ongoing appropriate bilingual capacity in the justice ministries.

COORDINATION/DELIVERY OF FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES IN ONTARIO

The judiciary, the justice ministries and other justice partners and stakeholders have collaborated to improve the coordination of French language services in Ontario.

Most significantly, new French Language Services Regional Committees will have broad representation from the affected groups and will be an invaluable tool to improve the coordinated delivery of bilingual and French proceedings on a regional and provincial basis by offering an ongoing, stable forum for discussion of French language services issues and best practices.

Many of the recommendations in the Access to Justice in French report were directed to the Court Services Division, and a bilingual French Language Services Coordinator was appointed by that division to ensure that it meets its language obligations, provides appropriate tools and support, and considers French language services in new divisional initiatives.

The Criminal Law Division also has two provincial co-leads for French language services to provide leadership to all provincial Crown Attorneys.

The Provincial Offences Act Table French Language Services Subcommittee, with its judicial and stakeholder representation, continues its excellent work and has been recognised by the French Language Services Commissioner and the Deputy Minister of Francophone Affairs as a model for other clusters.

Various lawyers’ associations have also focussed on French language justice initiatives. For example, the Commissioner and the Law Society of Upper Canada launched a protocol to address complaints received about the Law Society's French language services in a transparent manner.

The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario launched its Ottawa Legal Information Centre, which provides free legal information and referral services in French and English to residents of the Ottawa region. This is the first bilingual legal information centre of its kind outside Quebec.

SEAMLESS ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH PILOT PROJECT

To enable the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Chief Justices to put in place and test existing and new practices for the delivery of French language services, they have announced a groundbreaking joint initiative to provide seamless access to French language services to justice clients at the Ottawa courthouse. The Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project began at the end of May 2015 and is scheduled to last at least one year.

This initiative will bring together those justice players actively involved in the courtroom process and invite participation by all those present in the Ottawa courthouse.

The “active offer” of French language services is a primary component of the project. All Ottawa Court Services Division staff and select other Ministry staff have received training on French language rights and obligations and on the “active offer”.

It is anticipated that the pilot project will lead to additional improvements to justice in French for Ottawa residents that the Ministry and the Chief Justices may choose to replicate in other areas of the province.

CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT

The Ministry should create a long-term mechanism, such as a French language services oversight committee, to monitor and measure ongoing progress in the province and ensure the implementation of recommendations in this report, and those flowing from the Pilot Project and from the French Language Services Regional Committees.

The significant energy and resources committed to French language services in Ontario since the publication of the Access to Justice in French report have resulted in an increased awareness of French language rights and enhanced provision of French language services in the justice system.

Despite the many improvements, there is still work to be done. It is critical to maintain the momentum of the positive changes detailed in this report and to continue and finalise some of the new initiatives mentioned.

It is hoped that those individuals and organisations that have been so actively involved in the work of this French Language Services Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee will continue to consider additional ways to improve French language services in Ontario, request ongoing language rights education and awareness, and engage with each other - while being proud promoters of French language services.

In this way, access to justice in French will continue to be enhanced and Ontario will truly have meaningful and effective access to justice in French.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

ADAG

Assistant Deputy Attorney General

AFMO

Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario

AJEFO

Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario

AOcVF

Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes

ATRD

Agency and Tribunal Relations Division

CJA

Courts of Justice Act

CLD

Criminal Law Division

CPD

Continuing Professional Development

CSD

Court Services Division

e-FLIPD

electronic- French Language Institute for Professional Development

FAFO

Fédération des aînés et des retraités de l’Ontario

FBB

Franco Bulletin Board

FESFO

Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne

FL

French language

FLIPD

French Language Institute for Professional Development

FLS

French language services

FLSA

French Language Services Act

IALR

Informing Accused of Language Rights

JAAC

Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee

JD

Juris Doctor

LAO

Legal Aid Ontario

LPP

Law Practice Program

MCSCS

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

NJI

National Judicial Institute

O. Reg.

Ontario Regulation

OBA

Ontario Bar Association

OCFLS

Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services

OCJ

Ontario Court of Justice

OFA

Office of Francophone Affairs

OPGT

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

OPP

Ontario Provincial Police

OPS

Ontario Public Service

OVS

Ontario Victims Services

PCC

Provincial Communications Centre

PID

Policy and Innovation Division

POA

Provincial Offences Act

R.S.C.

Revised Statutes of Canada

RSJ

Regional Senior Justice

RSJP

Regional Senior Justice of the Peace

R.S.O.

Revised Statutes of Ontario

SCC

Small Claims Court

SCJ

Superior Court of Justice

V/WAP

Victim/Witness Assistance Program

VISiON

Victim Information System of Ontario

VVPD

Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division




French Language Services
Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee

Report to the Attorney General of Ontario

OVERVIEW

This report is the response of the French Language Services (FLS) Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee to the 2012 Access to Justice in French report of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General (first report). This second report:

This report is structured into five sections.

  1. BACKGROUND: The first section provides a background to and summary of the key recommendations of the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee’s Access to Justice in French report. It also outlines the creation of the FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee and its mandate, terms of reference, and structure.
  2. OBJECTIVES FOR ENSURING ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH: In this second section, the two overarching principles that emerged from the Access to Justice in French report are discussed.

    The service objective seeks to ensure “…litigants receive services of an equivalent quality to those provided in English … without greater cost or delay than proceeding in English.”[1]

    The active offer objective is a set of measures aimed at ensuring that French language services are:

    • clearly visible;
    • readily available;
    • easily accessible;
    • publicised; and,
    • of a quality equivalent to that of services offered in English.
  3. The RESPONSE TO REPORT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS section articulates specific responses to the recommendations of the report. This detailed response section is further broken down into four subsections.
    1. The Framework for French Language Rights in Ontario subsection reviews the statutory, regulatory and policy framework changes and suggests further improvements to French language rights in Ontario.
    2. The French Education and Awareness of French Language Rights subsection looks at the steps taken by the judiciary and lawyers’ associations, and the Ontario government to educate and raise awareness of French language rights and issues.
    3. Attaining Adequate Bilingual Capacity addresses steps taken by the judiciary, lawyers’ associations and law faculties, and the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ministry) to attract and maintain an appropriate bilingual complement.
    4. Coordination/Delivery of FLS in Ontario lists improvements to the coordination and delivery of FLS in Ontario and the progress made by the judiciary, the Ministry, municipal partners, lawyers’ associations, and other justice partners.
  4. The fourth section describes the SEAMLESS ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH PILOT PROJECT, and its objectives, structure and implementation strategies.
  5. The final section outlines CONCLUSIONS and SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT.

SECTION 1: BACKGROUND

French and English are the official languages of Ontario’s courts. There are longstanding federal and provincial statutory provisions – set out in the Criminal Code, the Courts of Justice Act, and the French Language Services Act[2] - that grant litigants in the courts fundamental access to justice in both official languages.

However, in 2009, in his second annual report, the FLS Commissioner of Ontario, François Boileau, indicated that his office had received numerous complaints relating to difficulties in accessing justice in French in Ontario. The FLS Commissioner also suggested that the “entire administrative structure of the justice system” needed to be coordinated.

As a result, the Commissioner recommended that the “Attorney General of Ontario engage the judiciary and the bar, including practitioners from the Francophone community, to establish a bench and bar committee”[3] to address the issues raised.

1.1 Issues Addressed by the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee in the First Report

In response to the FLS Commissioner’s annual report findings, then Attorney General Chris Bentley established the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) in 2010, co-chaired by Justice Paul Rouleau of the Court of Appeal for Ontario and Paul Le Vay, then Vice-President of the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO).

The Attorney instructed the Advisory Committee to address two key issues:

  1. “…Recommend ways to actively increase the knowledge of all members of the judiciary in Ontario regarding French language rights in the justice system, and
  2. Propose concrete and concerted steps to address the shortage of bilingual judges in Ontario.”[4]

1.2 Access to Justice in French Report Recommendations

In the summer of 2012, the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee co-chairs delivered their report, Access to Justice in French, to then Attorney General John Gerretsen.

The Advisory Committee concluded that accessing justice in French in Ontario can be “more difficult, time consuming and expensive than accessing justice in English”.[5] Nevertheless, there was recognition of the goodwill and efforts to maintain and improve FLS in the province.

The Advisory Committee found that further steps were necessary to ensure that French-speaking Ontarians have effective, meaningful and consistent access to justice in French.

The report also expressly recognised the economic challenges faced by the Ontario government. The authors suggested that many of the recommendations necessary to bring about much needed improvements to FLS in the Ontario justice system could be implemented in large part by a more efficient use of existing resources, with improved coordination, communication and planning among the participants in the justice system, and stronger accountability mechanisms to ensure compliance with the French language rights framework.

The final report contained 17 recommendations to address the nine conclusions drawn and quoted below:

  1. “Two objectives [service objective and active offer objective] are essential in order to achieve equal access to justice …in French.”[6]
  2. “The judiciary may not be adequately informed of French language rights.”
  3. Current access to “French language rights [does] not ensure that all points of contact during the course of a proceeding are in French.”
  4. “Proceeding in French can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive.”
  5. “Procedures under the Provincial Offences Act do not allow for seamless and easily accessible service in French.”
  6. “The linguistic abilities, number, and placement of bilingual judges and justices of the peace are not necessarily determined in accordance with the need to ensure access to justice for French speakers.”
  7. “There is a need for a greater coordination of bilingual court staff and enhanced awareness of French language rights.”
  8. “There is a need to improve coordination within the [Ministry], and between the judiciary and the [Ministry], regarding the delivery of bilingual or French proceedings on a regional and provincial basis.”
  9. “There is inadequate coordination of the delivery of bilingual and French proceedings with the legal profession.”[7]

Two overarching objectives were outlined in the report: the need for a clearly defined Ministry of the Attorney General service objective for FLS, and the commitment to deliver FLS based on the concept of the “active offer” such that services in French would be of equivalent quality to those offered in English.

The specific recommendations were directed to the Ministry, the judiciary, court personnel, counter staff, and partners in the provision of legal services, including lawyers, the Law Society of Upper Canada, Legal Aid Ontario, municipal courts, and the police.[8]

There were also recommendations directed to the federal Minister of Justice with respect to federal appointments of bilingual judges and possible amendments to the Criminal Code in respect of French bail hearings.

As these last recommendations are in the sole purview of the federal government, the Attorney General provided the Access to Justice in French report to then federal Minister of Justice, Rob Nicholson. The Attorney General also invited the federal Minister of Justice to nominate a Department of Justice representative to sit on the committee charged with reviewing the report recommendations.

1.3 Creation of the FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee

In November 2012, then Attorney General John Gerretsen established a steering committee, with representatives from the Justice Sector and related organisations, to “review and develop an implementation plan that responds to the recommendations outlined in the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee’s report, Access to Justice in French”.[9]

The FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee (Response Steering Committee) is chaired by Justice Julie Thorburn of the Superior Court of Justice and by Elizabeth Bucci, Crown counsel in the Ministry’s Court Services Division.[10] Both were active members of the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee that produced the report, Access to Justice in French.

The Response Steering Committee has representation from the three Ontario courts, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the Office of Francophone Affairs, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association, the AJEFO, the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee, the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee, and others.

[SEE APPENDIX 1 for a full list of the Response Steering Committee members.]

On April 30, 2013, the Response Steering Committee approved terms of reference based on an anticipated two-year term.

1.3.i Terms of Reference/Structure for the Response Steering Committee

The primary role of the Response Steering Committee was to develop a plan for the implementation of the report recommendations and to propose other related strategies to the Attorney General.[11]

[SEE APPENDIX 2 for the Response Steering Committee Terms of Reference.]

1.3.ii The “Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project”

The Response Steering Committee created a subcommittee to examine the feasibility of a Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project (Pilot Project) to:

On April 29, 2014, the Response Steering Committee co-chairs, Justice Julie Thorburn and Elizabeth Bucci, provided a draft pilot project proposal to the Attorney for her consideration. The Attorney General, Madeleine Meilleur, approved the pilot project, which officially launched on May 29, 2015, in Ottawa.[12]

The Ministry implementation team is led by Danielle Manton, the Director of Court Operations for the East Region, with judicial leads Justices Julie Thorburn and Johanne Lafrance-Cardinal for the Superior Court of Justice, Justice Diane Lahaie for the Ontario Court of Justice and Regional Senior Justice of the Peace Linda Leblanc. Representatives from the Corporate Services Management, Court Services, Criminal Law, Legal Services and Victims and Vulnerable Persons Divisions, the Communications Branch and Legal Aid Ontario are also involved.

The implementation team is coordinating efforts with the Ministry of Community and Correctional Services, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, and numerous other partners and stakeholders in the Ottawa courthouse.

There is also a Legal Community Engagement Committee, chaired by the Office of Francophone Affairs’ Assistant Deputy Minister Kelly Burke, whose primary role is to develop strategies to ensure maximum community exposure to and use of the Pilot Project.

Current fiscal realities are recognised and specific measures are being examined to determine the most cost-effective and personnel-neutral means to obtain seamless FLS delivery in Ottawa.

1.4 Section Highlights

SECTION 2: OBJECTIVES FOR ENSURING ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH

As clearly set out in the first report, two objectives are necessary for access to justice in French for Ontarians:

2.1 Service Objective

When the first report was written, the authors concluded that there was no adequate, clear and coherent French language service objective for Ontario’s justice system. They suggested that, as a starting point, the Ministry and other players in the justice system adopt a two-part service objective: the choice to proceed in French must be offered at the earliest opportunity and, once a litigant or accused chooses to proceed in French, that choice should not result in greater cost or delay than proceeding in English.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has implemented service standards in a variety of business areas to describe the service experience a client can expect when dealing with the Ministry. These standards are published on the Ministry’s public website, which stipulates that:

“Service standards are a government commitment to provide high quality service that includes the principles of accessibility, responsiveness, reliability, caring and accountability.”[14]

2.1.i The FLS Service Standards

The Government of Ontario is committed to offering French language services equivalent to those services available and provided in English. The Ministry of the Attorney General has therefore drafted and is finalising specific and clear service standards for the provision of French language services.

The FLS service standards - once finalised, approved and adopted - will assist the Ministry to meet these French language obligations and commitments and will address the recommendations in the Access to Justice in French report.

In drafting the proposed FLS service standards, the Ministry has attempted to incorporate existing Ministry FLS policies and initiatives, such as the Strategic Plan for the Development of French Language Services in the Justice Sector that involves consultation with Francophone stakeholders, promotes the concept of active offer, and has been identified as a best practice for the delivery of FLS.

Consideration is also being given to incorporating the FLS service standards as part of the Strategic Plan process, which is transforming into a permanent Justice Sector process. (Further information about the Strategic Plan process is provided in sections 3.I.3 and 3.II.3.)

The proposed Ministry of the Attorney General FLS service standards are a five-part document that includes the essential elements for service standards set out in the Ministry’s public-facing website:[15]

Once finalised, approved and adopted, these service standards will be responsive to the first report’s recommendations, but more importantly, will enable the Ministry to measure certain aspects of its FLS success against tangible benchmarks.

Furthermore, the performance objectives in the FLS service standards are not meant to be stagnant once adopted: they should evolve and expand on a regular basis and as needed to address the needs of Ontario’s French-speaking population and to reflect improvements in the justice system.

2.2 Defining the Active Offer Objective

In accordance with the French Language Services Act (FLSA), French-speaking clients have the right to receive services in French from:

In the legislated areas, these services should be equivalent to the services provided in English.

The active offer objective is certainly the most important component of providing services to French-speaking clients in Ontario. Without an active offer of FLS, the onus to seek out and then request services in French would rest with the clients of the justice system: equivalence with the services offered in English would not be achievable.

2.2.i Definitions

“French-speaking clients” refers to any individual, organisation, or business that seeks to exercise the right to use French when dealing with the Ontario government.[16]

“Services”[17] are defined as any service or procedure provided to the public by a government ministry or agency, or a third party offering services on their behalf, and include any communications for that purpose. All such services in French are to be delivered based on the concept of “active offer”.[18]

In 2006, the Ontario government’s [Ontario Public Service] OPS Framework for Action: A Modern Ontario Public Service, first mentioned the concept of active offer:

“High quality modern public services also include an active offer and delivery of FLS to Ontario’s Francophone community. The OPS is effective in fulfilling its obligations under the FLS Act when Francophone members of the public are informed about available services in French, have access to these services and are satisfied with the quality of these services.”[19]

In 2008-2009, the Chaire de recherche sur la francophonie et les politiques publiques of the University of Ottawa was tasked by the Ministry to conduct a study on the “mechanisms of offer” and the demand for FLS in the Justice Sector.[20]

Following the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, the Office of Francophone Affairs (OFA) developed “Guidelines for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government” and defined the active offer as:

“…the set of measures taken by government agencies to ensure that French language services are clearly visible, readily available, easily accessible and publicized, and that the quality of these services is equivalent to that of services offered in English. This includes such measures as all communications, i.e. signs, notices, social media and other information on services, as well as the initiation of communication with French-speaking clients.”[21]

In essence, staff must actively offer French language services such that the onus is not on the clients to request services in French. This can be achieved through simple methods such as having a bilingual sign clearly displayed that reads, “Bonjour. Puis-je vous aider? Hello. May I help you?”, bilingual telephone menus, business cards, etc. Beyond actively offering or advertising FLS, the French services must actually be available in that location and be of equivalent quality to the services offered in English, with no breaks in the active offer.

2.2.ii Guiding Principles

Four “active offer” guiding principles have been established by the Office of Francophone Affairs to assist the government in its effort to meet or exceed the service needs and expectations of French-speaking clients:

2.2.iii Government Response

The Ontario government recognises the critical importance of the active offer and, in response to the Access to Justice in French report, has taken numerous steps to promote the awareness and promotion of the active offer, including the following:

[SEE APPENDIX 5 for relevant CSD quarterly newsletter articles.]

Finally, the Ministry is implementing the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project at the Ottawa courthouse, which will see French language services delivered with a strong emphasis on the concept of active offer. This pilot project should help identify additional measures and means to enhance the active offer of service.

These and other Ministry of the Attorney General efforts to promote and maintain the concept of the active offer are outlined in greater detail in the “Response to Report Findings and Recommendations” section that follows.

2.3 Section Highlights

SECTION 3: RESPONSE TO REPORT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

3.I – FRAMEWORK FOR FRENCH LANGUAGE RIGHTS IN ONTARIO

As noted in the Access to Justice in French report, the legislative, regulatory and ensuing policy framework for Ontario’s French language rights developed gradually and expanded in stages over several decades. As a result of this “étapisme”, the legislative and regulatory scheme is complex and frequently presents challenges for lawyers, accused persons and litigants. “These problems foster the perception that language rights are not delivered in a consistent manner, or not given equal status in all courts”.[25]

The first report therefore recommended harmonising the framework for French language rights.

It also recommended a review of the feasibility of providing French (or bilingual) bail hearings to everyone who has a right to a French (or bilingual) trial pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code. In the absence of federal legislative amendments to that end, the Ministry was urged to consider voluntarily adopting a policy to make these French or bilingual bail hearings consistently available.

3.I.1 Identifying the Challenges in the Existing Legislative Framework

The following pieces of legislation comprise the statutory framework for French language rights in the justice system:

3.I.1.i Statutory Review of Part XVII of the Criminal Code - Language of the Accused Section

In May 2013, Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (Standing Committee) undertook a statutory review (Statutory Review) of Part XVII of the Criminal Code, the section dealing with the language of the accused.

The Standing Committee held several meetings and consulted with provincial and territorial ministers of justice, the Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law, the Language Rights Support Program, the Commissioner of Official Languages, lawyers and journalists. The report of the Standing Committee[31] was tabled in April 2014 and outlines the main issues raised by those consulted.

The Statutory Review is relevant to the provision of FLS in Ontario, as it recommends that:

3.i.1.ii Review of Access to French Language Bail Hearings

The fact that the Criminal Code does not require that an accused be provided with a French bail hearing was also highlighted in the Access to Justice in French report. In fact, the authors of the first report recommended that the Ministry seek the necessary amendments to the Criminal Code from the federal government, or alternatively, that the Ministry voluntarily adopt a policy to make French bail hearings consistently available. (The Ministry communicated with the federal government shortly after the first report had been released and the Attorney General recently followed up with her federal counterpart with respect to federal initiatives that are responsive to the recommendations in the first report.)

In the absence to date of federal Criminal Code amendments legislating French bail hearings, the Ministry has nevertheless explored options to offer them in the context of the “Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project” in Ottawa. (These options are discussed in more detail in section 4 that follows.)

3.I.1.iii Harmonisation of Provincial Statutes

The designated areas in which French language rights are conferred in Ontario’s courts are not identical. As such, the service regime can be difficult to understand and, as the first report suggested, Ontarians might perceive that service anomalies and inconsistencies exist.

In order to address these perceptions and to allow for more consistent and more readily understood FLS provisions, the Office of Francophone Affairs has initiated a process to engage other government ministries to explore harmonisation of the designated areas under the Courts of Justice Act and the French Language Services Act. While this harmonisation exercise is still very much in the preliminary stages, it would be beneficial for the OFA to strike a working group to address the specific development and implementation of this harmonisation process.

It is anticipated that such an exercise would require significant personnel, collaboration between government ministries and entities, and time in order to come to fruition: the inconsistencies developed over decades of incremental changes and, as such, a perfunctory approach will not suffice to address the issues properly.

In the meantime, the Court Services Division has compiled and made available to all court staff a list of bilingual staff volunteers to support French-speaking clients remotely in areas not currently covered by the FLSA. (A more fulsome discussion of this CSD FLS Volunteer Program can be found in subsection 3.IV that follows.)

3.I.1.iv Consistent Access to FLS in Provincial Offences Act Proceedings

The Access to Justice in French report recommended that the Ministry work together with the judiciary, municipal partners, police services, lawyers’ associations, and users of the court to implement procedures to ensure consistent and easy access to FLS in Provincial Offences Act proceedings.

The Provincial Offences Act (POA) outlines the processes for prosecuting offences under provincial legislation, provincial regulations and municipal by-laws. These procedures are set out in Memoranda of Understanding (between the Ministry and its municipal partners), through which the Ministry delegated responsibility for the administration of POA matters to the appropriate Ontario municipalities. These municipally-administered courts are commonly referred to as POA courts.

The first report succinctly elaborated the various difficulties encountered by Ontario’s Francophone community in exercising the right to a bilingual proceeding and, generally, in obtaining associated French language services in POA courts:

“Notwithstanding the fact that they are entitled to a bilingual proceeding, litigants in POA Courts may have limited or no rights to counter services in French at some municipal court offices... [S]ome municipalities are not designated under the FLSA and may not have passed a bylaw creating the same French language service obligations as the Act. Thus, any dealings related to Part II provincial offences (for example, fine payment of parking infractions) in those undesignated areas may be done only in English. Notices related to parking infractions are a municipal responsibility, and may be delivered exclusively in English. The [defendant] is only entitled to a bilingual proceeding if he or she decides to dispute the parking infraction by requesting a trial and thus becomes involved in a judicial process administered by the POA Court office pursuant to the CJA.”[35]

Currently, municipalities do not have an obligation to provide FLS in the context of the parking ticket regime: however, a person who disputes a parking ticket has the right to a bilingual proceeding. The first report’s recommendation nine suggested that the Ministry “propose working with municipal partners to develop seamless out-of-court services in French for the payment of parking infraction notices”.[36] The implementation of this recommendation is still a work in progress. The Ministry is exploring new and innovative ways for Ontarians to challenge traffic tickets and other POA charges.[37]

In the same vein, the Law Commission of Ontario reviewed the processes and procedures relating to the administration of POA matters in its report, Modernizing the Provincial Offences Act: A New Framework and Other Reforms.[38] The Commission recommended that, once Ministry consultation with municipalities has occurred and once appropriate Information Technology mechanisms are in place, the POA be amended to remove the prosecution of Part II parking infractions from the Ontario Court of Justice.

The Ministry is considering a number of the Law Commission of Ontario’s recommendations for modernising the Provincial Offences Act. As changes are implemented, the Ministry will be mindful of the report’s recommendation to ensure that proactive measures are available for French speakers to understand the availability of French and bilingual services in POA courts.

The policy group leading the considerations of the Law Commission’s POA modernisation recommendations should specifically address FLS issues, and make efforts to verify and assess the success of any initiatives, and to implement further changes, as necessary.

3.I.2 Regulatory Framework

3.I.2.i Additional FLSA Designated Areas

The Office of Francophone Affairs recently received two requests for the designation of the cities of Markham and Oshawa under the French Language Services Act. Such designation has traditionally required that French-speaking residents of the area seeking designation comprise at least 10 per cent of the population or, in the case of urban centres (such as the cities currently making the requests), the number of French-speaking residents exceed 5,000 persons.

However, when an area does not meet these criteria, as in Kingston, which was the last area to be designated in 2006, significant community support is critically important. The concept of “community support” requires written letters of support for designation from all Members of Provincial Parliament representing the region being considered for designation, regardless of their political affiliation.

Before an area can receive a designation under the FLSA, the government must conduct a “gap analysis”. This process, which is currently being undertaken for Oshawa and Markham, entails a review (at the local level) by all Ontario government ministries represented in the area applying for designation. The ministries must determine whether a gap, if any, exists between the current FLS capacity (including bilingual staff, bilingual signage and resources) and the capacity that would be required to provide services in French to the public equivalent to those offered in English.

3.I.2.ii Regulation - Third Party Service Providers

On July 1, 2014, a regulation (O. Reg. 284/11) came into full force and effect[39] requiring that every government agency that retains third parties to deliver services on its behalf ensure that they be in compliance with the FLSA, and take into account the French-language services obligations of the Government of Ontario to Francophone communities. The impact of this regulation is far reaching: for example, where third party service providers deliver Mandatory Information Program sessions on behalf of the Ministry in designated areas, they must do so based on the concept of active offer.

3.I.3 Policy Framework

While the legislative and regulatory framework establishes the primary French language services delivery criteria, Ontario’s policy framework affects the provision of French language services on a daily and routine basis.

3.I.3.i. Directives/Guidelines

Provision of Accurate Statistics re: French Language Proceedings

In addition to the Office of Francophone Affairs’ comprehensive “Guidelines on the Active Offer”, earlier discussed in section 2, other directives and guidelines have been put into place by the Ontario government. For example, the Assistant Deputy Attorney General (ADAG) of the Ministry’s Court Services Division requested that a directive be issued with respect to the appropriate and consistent data inputting of French-language and bilingual proceedings.[40] This July 2014 directive, followed by an email from the CSD ADAG stressing its importance, was broadly shared in the division in an effort to improve the statistics relating to French language and bilingual proceedings in both the FRANK and ICON electronic database systems.[41]

[SEE APPENDIX 6 for the July 8, 2014 directive (CSD Directive 2014/16) to all CSD staff.]

Moreover, for the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project, a specific review of the statistics at the Ottawa courthouse is continuing to occur to determine any gaps or inaccuracies, and to develop other methods of obtaining data that will assist with the Pilot Project.

A system to direct and track courthouse clients requesting counter service in French will also be introduced as part of the Pilot Project. This ticket system, once fully installed and programmed, should track clients requesting French language counter services in the family, civil and criminal business lines as well as those at the Family Law Information Centre.

3.I.3.ii Policies/Procedures/Standards
3.I.3.ii.a Ministry
FLS Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan for the Development of French Language Services in Ontario’s Justice Sector (FLS Strategic Plan) is a consultation process initiated in 2006 to bring together French-speaking stakeholders and senior management of the Justice Sector ministries[42] during the “Annual Stakeholders Meetings” to discuss the justice needs of the Francophone community in Ontario.

The FLS Strategic Plan, considered a best practice in the Ontario Public Service, strives to:

[SEE APPENDIX 7 for a list of all FLS Strategic Plan Advisory Committee members.]

The FLS Strategic Plan will continue, on a permanent basis, to assist the Justice Sector ministries to better understand and respond to the needs of French-speaking justice clients.[43]

Service Standards

In 2014, the Court Services Division introduced new service standards with a performance objective, which provides that, “It is our commitment to make all of our court forms and guides available in French and English.” [44]

In addition, the OPS Common Service Standards[45], which set the level of service the public can expect from all government offices, apply equally to services provided in French and English.

Signage

The courthouse “WayFinding” signage standards in designated areas are now bilingual: these new courthouse signage standards require use of English and French in all new and retrofitted courthouses.

3.I.3.ii.b Justice Partners and Others
Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) develops its FLS strategies in accordance with the FLS Strategic Plan, which requires that FLS be integrated into:

LAO is also currently formally integrating FLS in its internal auditing process.

Law Society of Upper Canada

Since the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, the Law Society of Upper Canada (Law Society) has taken several steps to ensure appropriate FLS, most recently including the following:

Ontario Provincial Police Policies Recognising the Importance of FLS

Since its introduction in 2003, the “[Ontario Provincial Police] OPP Strategy for the Delivery of French Language Services” has set out the common understanding of legislated responsibilities for the delivery of French language services, at all levels of the organisation.

The 2012-2015 OPP FLS strategy establishes a framework of commitments for the OPP to fulfill and provides a mechanism for regular progress reports to FLS partners and stakeholders. The approaches outlined in the strategy will continue to be regularly reviewed.

The OPP Strategic Direction, 2012-2015, reads:

“… [T]he OPP will continue its focus on the strategic priorities of Personnel, Development and Outreach and establish new goals to further the OPP’s vision for French Language Services.”

Enabling Quebec Lawyers to Offer Legal Services in Ontario

A new “National Mobility Agreement” was signed by Quebec in 2014 to extend the mobility provisions to permit lawyers, under certain circumstances, to transfer between Quebec and the common law provinces, thereby increasing the number of lawyers able to offer legal services in French in Ontario.

Having a clear, consistent and appropriate legislative, regulatory and policy framework is but the first step in ensuring adequate French language services in Ontario: there also needs to be sufficient bilingual capacity, both in the public and private spheres, as discussed in depth later in this report.

3.I.4 Section Highlights


Response to Report Findings and Recommendations

3.II – FRENCH EDUCATION AND AWARENESS OF FRENCH LANGUAGE RIGHTS

The Access to Justice in French report notes the importance of promoting education in French and awareness of French language rights on the part of the judiciary, lawyers, the Ministry, the public and others. The report suggests a lack of knowledge about French language rights, which can lead to problems in the administration of French and bilingual proceedings in Ontario. Numerous steps have been taken by the judiciary, lawyers’ associations, and the government Justice Sector and its related partners, to address these concerns.

3.II.1 Judiciary

… [T]he judge or justice of the peace, as a powerful and sometimes first point of contact between a party and the justice system, has a critical role to play. In order for the judiciary to offer high quality services in French, adequate knowledge of French language rights is essential for all members of the judiciary, whether or not they are bilingual.[48]

The subsection below highlights the significant progress made by the “Judiciary and Education” Response Steering Committee work group in the areas of French language education, knowledge of language rights, and availability of language resources for Ontario judges and justices of the peace.

3.II.1.i Education/Training in French and Creation of Awareness of Language Rights

In response to recommendations in the first report, the Ontario judiciary has created a variety of educational opportunities for judges to improve their French language proficiency and to improve the awareness of all judges as to the language rights of French-speaking people in Ontario.

The Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice has implemented each of the recommendations directed to her in the first report and has championed the active offer within the Superior Court.

At the request of this Committee, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice now ensures that newly-appointed Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) judges receive a letter informing them of French language rights. A meeting is scheduled at each semi-annual conference to identify and discuss issues of common interest among judges who sit in French to confront challenges, and develop common practices.

From time to time, presentations are given to all judges (both English- and French-speaking) regarding French language rights at the biannual conference of Ontario judges. The Chief Justice of the Superior Court has indicated her willingness to provide a forum to address French language rights on a regular basis. This serves to remind judges of the importance of French language rights - whether they are French language or English language judges. Most recently, a French language rights presentation was made to all SCJ judges by Justices Thorburn and LaFrance-Cardinal in May of 2014 and the first French language article on the subject of French language rights was included in the Superior Court newsletter.

The Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) has also instituted a session for bilingual judges to review French language issues at the regular regional meetings of the OCJ judiciary.

Bilingual justices of the peace are invited to an annual multi-day education program conducted in French, and newly-appointed justices of the peace receive language rights education. At a recent conference, justices of the peace were reminded of their obligations under the Criminal Code to advise accused, at the first appearance, of their right to a French trial. Doing this annually would ensure that all justices of the peace are aware of this important obligation.

In terms of ongoing education, the National Judicial Institute[49] (NJI) offers judicial education courses in both official languages. However, at present, no sessions have been devoted to addressing French language rights. The NJI has been approached to consider adding a component to its New Judges course to address this issue. This is an area of federal jurisdiction outside the scope of this report.

Anglophone judges seeking to improve their language skills can attend judicial French language training programs offered by the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada. French-speaking judges outside Quebec may attend a one-week intensive French language seminar on a variety of topics. It would be useful to offer more judicial education to French-speaking judges outside of Quebec who preside over French-language proceedings. However, this is also an area of federal jurisdiction outside the scope of this report.

Judicial members of the Ontario Court of Justice are able to participate in French judicial education programs offered by their New Brunswick counterparts or in the program offered to federally appointed judges in Quebec City.

3.II.1.ii Resources

Numerous resources and tools have been made available to the judiciary since the publication of the Access to Justice in French report.

All judges who preside over French language or bilingual proceedings are issued relevant French statutes.

Furthermore, an extensive list of resources and tools relating to French language and French language rights - including lexicons, writing guides, grammar tools, legal precedents and information in French on various legal topics - was prepared and posted on the Judicial Library website by library staff and Justice Thorburn. This list is shared with all bilingual judicial members in Ontario and will be updated periodically. A set of jury charge precedents in French is being prepared.

The list also includes a link to the AJEFO JURISOURCE portal,[50] which is available to all justice professionals working in French. [See section 3.II.2.i for additional information on this comprehensive resource.] Judges presiding over French language cases may have Antidote (French language software) installed on their computers.

3.II.1.iii Bilingual Mentoring Programs

A mentoring program for new judges and justices of the peace was recommended in the first report. All three courts in Ontario now have mentoring programs for their newly-appointed bilingual members to receive guidance and support from their more experienced colleagues.

In the same vein, the Chief Justices of the SCJ and OCJ have appointed regional FLS judicial leads, including justices of the peace, to be responsible for reviewing and addressing ongoing FLS issues and providing language rights assistance and support to their respective colleagues.

3.II.1.iv Section Highlights

3.II.2 Lawyers

The first report highlighted the need for all members of the legal profession to understand the obligation to advise clients of their French language rights, and to ensure there is a sufficient number of trained bilingual lawyers in Ontario. It noted that, with the exception of the AJEFO’s language rights programs, there was little available to the legal profession on this subject.

The Law Society of Upper Canada[51], in collaboration with the AJEFO and the Ontario Bar Association (OBA), has been particularly responsive in this regard.

These three organisations offer continuing professional development (CPD) programs and events in French in person and online, including training on common law terminology. Recently, the Law Society (in collaboration with the AJEFO and the OBA) has offered at least two CPD programs per year entirely in French and for which participating Law Society members receive required “professionalism” hours.

3.II.2.i Education/Training in French, Professional Development and Creation of Awareness of Language Rights
Law Society of Upper Canada

As a direct result of the recommendations in the first report, the Law Society’s rules of professional conduct for both lawyers and paralegals now stipulate that clients must be advised of their right to proceed in French. This has been stressed in the following new materials:

The Law Society licensing process now requires that lawyer candidates successfully demonstrate knowledge of language rights, as recommended in the first report.

The Law Society has collaborated with the Ontario Bar Association, the Toronto Lawyers Association, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Advocates’ Society and the Paralegal Society of Ontario, among others, to promote available French legal resources and has offered conferences on French language rights as well as legal education in the French language.

AJEFO

The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario[54] has developed numerous programs and resources to create awareness, and inform and educate the public about the justice system including French language services.

The AJEFO partnered with the federal Department of Justice to launch its Jurisource website in March 2013. This is a legal and jurilinguistic resource portal for justice professionals - including lawyers, judges, language professionals, court officers, support staff and law students - working in Canada’s official language minority communities.

The Jurisource virtual library contains a variety of legal and training materials for French-speaking lawyers, including lexicons, statutes, court decisions, documents, templates, and glossaries. Substantial additional multi-year federal funding has been obtained to update and expand the site.

In March 2014, the AJEFO provided training to 33 lawyers, including 14 from Legal Aid Ontario and 11 stakeholders, during the second annual multi-day family mediation training program funded by Justice Canada. The AJEFO’s third training session in family mediation will focus on ethno-cultural aspects.

Réseau national de formation en justice

The Réseau national de formation en justice, a national network for justice training funded by the Department of Justice, was created in February 2014. It includes, among others:

The Réseau brings together various partners and stakeholders to determine needs and priorities for training within the broader justice sector. It also establishes partnerships and identifies opportunities for collaboration. Its primary purpose is to coordinate, share and develop justice training materials.

To ensure appropriate bilingual capacity throughout the justice system, and to serve all the bilingual legal service needs of minority communities, the Réseau seeks to eliminate duplication by sharing training materials nationwide and to develop new national training programs to ensure that appropriate bilingual justice sector professionals are available. All of the partners have expertise in the development of legal and jurilinguistic tools and some have specific expertise in technology and development of online courses. As a result of its expertise in the development of professional training programs, the Ministry is part of this Réseau.

The Réseau collaborates with colleges, universities, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, court officials, jurilinguistic centres, law enforcement and correctional services and others. It is currently looking to create a course (or courses) in French and English on the language rights guaranteed by s. 530 of the Criminal Code. Each course will be specific to the particular profession such that, for example, the course for police officers will be different than the course for probation officers. This is in keeping with one of the purposes of the Réseau to avoid duplication and to work with all partners who are able to reach practitioners in the justice field.

3.II.2.ii Mentoring for Lawyers

Notwithstanding the above programs, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association and the AJEFO advise that there is a shortage of French-speaking lawyers, particularly those trained in criminal law.

The “Judiciary and Education” work group developed a survey for lawyers’ associations, which was distributed through the Law Society, to determine the level of interest in mentoring programs for bilingual lawyers and to solicit mentors. The survey response indicated some interest in mentoring. Additional information is being sought on an informal basis.

In addition, the Ontario Bar Association currently has a practice of promoting exchanges between Anglophone and Francophone members, to assist Anglophone members with their French skills.

3.II.2.iii Courses to Train Law Students in French

Taking steps to ensure that there will be sufficient numbers of well-trained bilingual lawyers is a key recommendation in the first report.

Law Society courses, documents and examinations are offered in French, and language rights knowledge is now formally assessed in the licensing process.

Common Law Study in French

The University of Ottawa currently offers the only common law program in French in Ontario. Various English-language law faculties in Ontario are now discussing the feasibility of offering law courses on language rights in French (to bilingual students) and are working with the Réseau national de formation en justice in this regard.

Exchanges

Several Ontario universities also offer exchanges that allow their law students to study in French.

Osgoode Hall Law School, through partnership agreements with universities in North America and in Europe, offers its students the opportunity to spend a term or a full-year abroad studying at preeminent law faculties, some of which offer courses in French.[55]

Similarly, the International Exchange Program at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law allows students to spend one semester studying in French at some of the top law schools in the world.[56]

French Legal Education

The University of Western Ontario (Western) offers two French legal education options for its law students:

The Diplôme de français juridique is a three-year limited enrolment program offered in conjunction with the Juris Doctor (JD) program, administered by Western’s Faculty of Law in collaboration with Western’s Department of French. (Diplôme studies are only open to students registered full-time in Western’s Faculty of Law, who have a background in French, and who wish to achieve a high level of fluency in “legal” French.)

The program is designed to be completed at the same time as the JD program. Students who successfully complete the Diplôme program and the JD program are entitled to receive the JD degree and the Diplôme de français juridique. Throughout the program, a student is registered in the Faculty of Law.

Western, McGill and l’Université Laval also offer students the opportunity to obtain both common law and civil law degrees after a combined four years of study at the institutions. This facilitates the students’ entry to both the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Barreau du Québec.

Alternative Articles in French

As part of the lawyer licensing process, a new Law Practice Program (LPP) has been approved as an alternative to traditional articles to obtain accredited “lawyer” status, and is being offered in French at the University of Ottawa.

AJEFO Initiatives

The AJEFO has been collaborating with faculty of the University of Ottawa’s Law Practice Program and will place LPP students in 2015. Similarly, Legal Aid Ontario will hire two bilingual students in 2015 from the University of Ottawa’s LPP.

The AJEFO is working on a comprehensive review of the CliquezJustice website, including the “Careers in Justice” section, which is aimed at bilingual persons who may be considering different career options, including those in justice. It provides information in an accessible, interactive and simple format.

3.II.2.iv Section Highlights

3.II.3 Ministry

3.II.3.i Education/Training in French, Professional Development and Creation of Awareness of Language Rights

The Strategic Plan for the Development of FLS in the Justice Sector, a planning initiative of the Justice Sector ministries to consult regularly with Francophone stakeholders[57] and partners with respect to new FLS initiatives, has been in place since 2006 and reflects the high level of commitment by the ministries to provide access to justice in French.

The FLS Strategic Plan Advisory Committee meets twice a year, to guide initiatives undertaken in the context of the FLS Strategic Plan and develop solutions to respond to the needs of the Francophone community. During these meetings, participants:

The Strategic Plan Advisory Committee membership has expanded recently to include the Ontario Police College, the Ontario Fire College and the newly-created Agency and Tribunal Relations Division.

The Justice Sector ministries’ ongoing participation on the Strategic Plan Advisory Committee is a strong incentive for them to develop and report on training and language rights awareness initiatives and aligns with the recommendations in the Access to Justice in French report.

The Ministry has developed and made available various FLS training opportunities for staff, including a new FLS Orientation Package for all new staff and managers. In addition, FLS is integrated into the Ministry’s mandatory “onboarding” program for staff.

A “FLS and You” training video is now mandatory viewing for all Ontario Public Service staff; a new online training module on the active offer is also currently being prepared for all OPS employees. Other active offer awareness programs, developed by the Office of Francophone Affairs, are available through the Centre for Leadership and Learning.

Francophones are one of the five targeted groups in the OPS “Diversity Mentoring Partnership Program”, which pairs deputy ministers with staff currently underrepresented in senior management. This program offers French-speaking Ministry staff the opportunity to network and learn from the most senior government managers.

Details are provided below regarding the steps taken by several Ministry divisions.

Court Services Division

For the first time, FLS awareness training for all divisional directors, managers and supervisors occurred in spring 2014. Other training initiatives taken in response to the Access to Justice in French report include:

CSD has recently expanded its intranet FLS section to provide all CSD staff with easy access to FLS information and resources through a new FLS desktop icon that appears on every CSD employee computer. This icon was recognised as a “noteworthy initiative” in the FLS Commissioner’s 2014-2015 Annual Report.[58]

New materials now available on-line include:

[SEE APPENDIX 8 for excerpts from the CSD FLS icon materials.]

The quarterly CSD e-newsletter, CSD Connection, has a regular bilingual FLS section to ensure that staff’s knowledge remains current and to provide reminders regarding language rights and the active offer of service.

Finally, a new central CSD FLS internal email address enables staff to obtain answers quickly when they have questions relating to French language issues. This email is monitored daily and responses for non-urgent matters are sent within 48 hours. For urgent matters, the CSD FLS coordinator is available to staff during regular business hours.

Criminal Law Division

The Criminal Law Division (CLD) works closely with the Justice Sector’s Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services (OCFLS) and with the AJEFO, to offer a French Language Institute for Professional Development (FLIPD) for Crown Attorneys, federal Crowns, Ontario Provincial Police officers, Legal Aid Ontario duty counsel, and staff from various government ministry divisions.

The FLIPD is a one-week intensive language and language rights training program for bilingual justice professionals working in the area of criminal law. Hundreds have participated in this popular and award-winning project sponsored by Justice Canada and the Ministry.

CLD representatives are instrumental in updating the curriculum and in developing and facilitating the FLIPD workshops. Most recently, the division assigned eight facilitators and approved the participation of 23 employees in the FLIPD training session held in October 2014. In 2014, for the first time, Criminal Law Division administrative staff attended the fall FLIPD session in Ottawa. Also for the first time, in 2014, a new workshop was specifically developed for LAO lawyers attending the FLIPD.

For those unable to attend FLIPD in person, an electronic program, e-FLIPD, has been created and is accessible to all Ministry staff through the intranet site. It is also posted on JurisourcE. These two initiatives are coordinated by the OCFLS, which is also responsible for securing the requisite funding from the federal government.

Subsequent to the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, CLD has provided and participated in a variety of training sessions on FLS issues.

In 2012:

In 2013, CLD led two major FLS learning initiatives:

In 2014, CLD, in collaboration with the Ministry’s OCFLS, participated in and presented at the meeting of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages.

Finally, CLD FLS co-leads provide ongoing legal knowledge, expertise and advice to the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project.

Agency and Tribunal Relations Division

The Ministry has administrative oversight over its 18 adjudicative tribunals (arranged by cluster).[59] The Agency and Tribunal Relations Division (ATRD) provides the Ministry with strategic leadership on agency and tribunal-related issues, while focussing on relationships and governance in a manner that balances oversight and accountability.

Federal funding under the Canada-Ontario Agreement has been secured to develop and provide FLS awareness training and tools for adjudicative tribunals.

An education subcommittee[60] has now been put in place and its objectives include:

The education subcommittee (a subset of the Justice Sector’s FLS Strategic Plan Advisory Committee) met in September 2014 to create an inventory of existing tools and identify needs. Since then, it has facilitated the creation of a lexicon of French terminology for adjudicators.

Furthermore, FLS presentations have been given to the Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario and the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to raise awareness among staff with respect to FLS issues.

Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division

The Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD) is a provider of direct services to vulnerable clients through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee[61] (OPGT) and Ontario Victims Services.

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

A FLS awareness session, offered in person and electronically, was delivered in October 2014 by the OCFLS to 85 regional OPGT staff from Hamilton, Ottawa, Sudbury, London and Thunder Bay.

The OPGT also works with the OCFLS to obtain licences for the French-language writing software, Antidote, which is a complete set of software reference tools for writing French that includes an advanced grammar checker with smart filters, a collection of dictionaries, and a set of interactive language guides. OCFLS provides Antidote licences to all Ministry divisions that show a demonstrated need for the product.[62]

Ontario Victims Services

In November 2014, the Ontario Victims Services (OVS) FLS lead made presentations to regional managers and regional staff with respect to the guidelines for the development of partnerships between Anglophone and Francophone agencies and cooperation protocols for agencies fighting violence against women. These guidelines contain information on the active offer, a list of factors to consider when implementing partnerships, and practical tips.

OVS partners with Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF) to deliver various training initiatives, including specific training for family court support workers on FLS best practices to provide better services to French-speaking clients. Funding has been extended for this program, the main activities of which are developing resources, moderating an online forum, and ensuring the delivery of the program through technology.

Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP) staff receive French language rights awareness training at staff meetings and remotely through a variety of methods, including video training. Some of the specific local initiatives include a review of the historical evolution of French language rights in Ottawa, using library resources.

3.II.3.ii French Language Training

The Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services provides resources and tools to employees of the two Justice Sector ministries and, on a regular basis, develops new programs and updates existing materials. Individual ministry divisions also create targeted FLS materials for their own staff. The OCFLS supports individual Justice Sector ministry divisions in their efforts to create these targeted FLS materials for their own staff (such as the 911 Ontario Provincial Police emergency communicators’ training). It also provides regular FLS awareness training to all new Ontario Police College recruits, and to all new probation and parole officers at the Ontario Correctional Services College four times per year.

The Justice Sector ministries encourage staff to participate in French training and professional development offered by the OCFLS, such as Pour l’amour du français and the French Lunch Hour Forum conversational sessions. These classes are not restricted to bilingual employees: non-Francophone staff wishing to learn French or improve their existing language skills are encouraged to participate.

All of the Ministry divisions and offices mentioned have enrolled staff in the OCFLS French language training initiatives discussed above.

The OCFLS is also assisting in the organisation of French training sessions for selected Ottawa courthouse staff as part of the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project.

3.II.3.iii Section Highlights

3.II.4 Delivery of FLS through Municipal and Justice Sector Partners

The Access to Justice in French report recommended that the Ministry continue to work, through CSD, with municipal partners and others to improve the delivery of FLS in all areas, including municipally-administered Provincial Offences Act courts.

3.II.4.i Municipal Partners

The POA Table FLS Subcommittee[63], which meets quarterly to discuss items with a FLS component, ensures that municipal courts are aware of their FLS obligations, and that Francophones are advised of their rights in a POA context. This subcommittee also promotes the active offer of service, and provides training, develops tools and otherwise supports municipal courts.

The new Contraventions Act agreement, effective April 1, 2014, provides federal funding that will allow Ontario to offer new FLS training to municipal employees who deal with federal regulatory offences.

The POA Table FLS Subcommittee is currently pursuing the adaptation of various FLS training initiatives used elsewhere for POA courts using funding available through the Contraventions Act agreement with the federal government:

Members of the POA Table FLS Subcommittee delivered presentations to the Municipal Court Managers’ Association in May 2014 and May 2015. These presentations highlighted recent FLS accomplishments and were extremely well received by the participants.

Continuing efforts will be made to ensure that there is an active offer on the part of municipalities and that specific FLS objectives are outlined and addressed.

3.II.4.ii Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The Justice Sector’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has developed several training initiatives for its employees with respect to French language and French language rights awareness and requirements:

Ontario Provincial Police

All Ontario Provincial Police Communications Centres civilian staff members are required to complete mandatory online training on the Communications in French directive. All other OPP employees have been encouraged to familiarise themselves with this directive.

Bilingual emergency communicators (who respond to 911 calls) have also had three professional training sessions in various locations, most recently in Sudbury in February 2014 and in North Bay in early 2015, with respect to:

Other OPP learning initiatives include:

Lastly, funding under the Canada-Ontario Agreement allowed the OPP to organise a provincial communications symposium in Orillia in March 2014, which emphasised the benefits of bilingualism. There were 32 participants, nine of whom were bilingual.

Ontario Police College

The Ontario Police College’s inventory of online courses has expanded and the College is looking to increase those courses offered in French. Translation of a new course on “Excited Delirium” was finalised in May 2014, with the help of Royal Canadian Mounted Police partners.

3.II.4.iii Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario is committed to creating awareness of French language rights and obligations and has taken numerous steps to advance this awareness:

LAO continues to build strong relationships with Ontario colleges and universities in order to help develop legal training:

Participation in all substantive law and language programs promoted by LAO is very high.

3.II.4.iv Section Highlights

3.II.5 Increasing Public Awareness of French Language Rights

The French language rights and French language education and awareness initiatives mentioned above - directed to judicial officials, justice partners and government staff - ultimately lead to a more effective Ontario justice system in both official languages and to improved public awareness of French language rights.

Generally, a coordinated effort should be made to ensure that those interested in availing themselves of FLS know who can provide them with these services and where they can be found. Such initiatives as notices on court websites, courthouse screens such as the ones in the Ottawa courthouse and written materials may assist in that regard.

The Justice Sector Strategic Plan for the Development of FLS aims to continue the consultation process and further inform and educate the Francophone population about its French language rights.

The federal government provides funding to this end under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on FLS (2013-2018), to support projects that contribute to the development and vitality of the Francophone community in Ontario. As an example, the Court Services Division’s current project, Improve and Modernize Access to Justice in French, focusses on Ministry staff training, public awareness and modernisation.

3.II.5.i Sources of Information Available to the Public

The Access to Justice in French report contains several recommendations that relate to the need to increase public awareness of the right to French and bilingual proceedings, as community groups and legal professionals have long stressed the importance of making plain language legal information available to the public so that better use can be made of the justice sector’s resources.[64]

A broad collection of public information materials is now available from the Justice Sector ministries, the judiciary and justice partners, electronically or in hard copy form.

Justice Sector Electronic Information

The Ministry’s public website is fully bilingual and has a section dedicated to the French-speaking community that sets out the rights of French-speaking individuals in the Ontario justice system including the following:

The “Justice in Both Languages” section of the Ministry website[66] is a particularly useful site that provides updated, detailed information on:

  1. The Right to a Trial in the Accused’s Official Language of Choice for Criminal Cases
  2. The Right to a Bilingual Court Proceeding for Family, Non-Jury Civil and Provincial Offences Act ses
  3. The Right to a Civil Jury Trial with a Bilingual Jury in Certain Areas of the Province
  4. The Right to Bilingual Administrative Tribunal Hearings
  5. The Right to File Documents in French
  6. The Right to Make a Contract in French
  7. The Right to Make a Will in French
  8. Legal Resources Available to French-Speaking Residents of Ontario
  9. A Brief History of Access to the Justice System for French-Speaking Residents of Ontario

Ministry division-specific information is also available on several Justice Sector sites. For example, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer website contains Questions and Answers in French with detailed information on family law and civil cases.

LAO has made significant strides in updating and improving the French language rights and information components of its online materials for clients and other members of the public:

Community Legal Education Ontario, LAO’s ‘Public Legal Education’ clinic, has pamphlets on French language rights available in print and online. In 2014, the clinic also developed a webinar, Les droits des francophones en Ontario.

Ontario Courts Website

The three Ontario courts have a fully bilingual three-part website created and maintained by the Judges’ Library. The website has a wealth of information in French, including:

Other Justice Partner Websites

AJEFO is updating and further expanding its websites, CliquezJustice and JURISOURCE. CliquezJustice, available in French (with some English), is a website that explains Canada's legal system (together with simulated trials), and matters relevant to all areas of the law including employment law, family law, immigration, contracts, wills and powers of attorney. It has specific sections for children, youth, teachers and the general public.

Other Information Materials

All Ministry information materials for the public are available in English and French, and new bilingual pamphlets – produced by the Law Society and the Ministry to inform the public of their language rights and to assist them in finding a French-speaking lawyer or paralegal – have been printed and broadly distributed throughout the province, including in all courthouses.

Individual divisions and offices have also produced materials in order to better inform the public. For instance, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer has recently prepared and distributed a new brochure in French to explain its role and services.

3.II.5.ii Outreach

Outreach to Ontario’s French-speaking communities, important to promote public awareness, is evidenced in numerous and varied exercises, including but not limited to:

In the last few years, LAO’s clinic specialised in legal information and education, CLEO, has been working extensively with Francophone community stakeholders and partners to improve access to legal information and education in French. In 2014, CLEO:

Similar initiatives should continue to be encouraged in other areas of the province.

3.II.5.iii Other Initiatives
Rights of Accused/Litigants

The first report recommended that the Ministry, in consultation with justice system partners, develop and implement procedures to ensure that persons are informed of their language rights at the earliest opportunity.

A Northeast Region committee, established by the Regional Senior Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice and chaired by a justice of the OCJ, considered and recommended for that region various ways of informing accused of their language rights, including an announcement in open court, a sign posted outside all courtrooms, and a notice given in writing to accused at their first appearance.

A Response Steering Committee subgroup has reviewed the feasibility of a uniform and consistent approach to advising accused persons of their language rights at the time of arrest, such as including language rights information on release forms.[67] This exercise will be especially beneficial to accused individuals who may not be aware of their right to have their criminal trial in the official language of their choice: in this way, accused persons will be able to retain a French-speaking lawyer from the outset of their criminal matter, if they so choose.

The Ministry is also considering options to inform civil and family law litigants of their French language rights at an early opportunity and in a uniform manner. One of the specific options being considered is recommending that originating process forms be revised to include information about French as an official language of the courts of Ontario.

Pilot Project

The Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project, (discussed in Section 4 of this report), which was implemented in the Ottawa courthouse in May 2015, will deliver French language services with a strong emphasis on public awareness of language rights and the concept of active offer. The best practices developed may later be expanded for use province-wide.

3.II.5.iv Section Highlights

RESPONSE TO REPORT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

3.III – ATTAINING ADEQUATE BILINGUAL CAPACITY

Adequate bilingual capacity in Ontario’s justice system is a critical requirement for the justice professionals in all three of the groups with which the public interacts – the judiciary, private sector lawyers and government officials. Insufficient bilingual capacity within any one of those groups inevitably leads to challenges in accessing justice in French in a timely way, and, in some instances, can lead to an inability to access justice in French at all.

3.III.1 Judiciary

The first report concluded that, in order to increase the confidence needed by Ontario’s Francophones to exercise their right to access the justice system in French, there had to be a clear way both to measure the need for bilingual judicial appointments and to assess the bilingual qualifications of potential candidates:

“The courts would benefit from a formal process for fully and objectively assessing the bilingual capacity and actual language skills of judicial candidates when an appointment is made…The adequacy and placement of bilingual judges and justices of the peace must be assessed in a more formal way, with the objective of ensuring equal access to justice in a timely and cost-effective manner, throughout the province.”[68]

The first report quoted excerpts from the Environmental Scan: Access to Justice in Both Official Languages report and the Commissioner of Official Languages in the Final Investigation Report on the Institutional Bilingual Capacity of the Judiciary for the Superior Courts in Nova Scotia and Ontario, 2011[69], both of which reached similar conclusions about the necessity of a more stringent process of language competency evaluation.

In August 2013, after the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, the federal Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, Ontario’s FLS Commissioner, François Boileau, and the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, Katherine d’Entremont, published Justice in Both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary.[70]

The study concludes that the judicial appointment process for superior court judges does not guarantee sufficient bilingual capacity to respect the language rights of Canadians at all times. “This finding [was] based on three key observations:

The Commissioners recommended that there be a systematic, independent and objective evaluation of the language skills of all Superior Court judicial candidates who had identified as bilingual on their application form.

The Statutory Review of Part XVII of the Criminal Code, tabled in April 2014, recommended that the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages put on the agenda of its next meeting:

It is clear that recruitment and formal language assessment of bilingual judicial candidates are needed.

3.III.1.i Ontario Court of Justice

The appointment process for judges to the Ontario Court of Justice remains largely unchanged since the publication of the first report: advertisements for judge candidates to the Ontario Court of Justice bench clearly state when bilingual candidates are required[72] and any candidate applying for such a bilingual position is interviewed in English and French. (There is no formal linguistic assessment based on established government standards and there is no written evaluation.)

The OCJ judicial appointment process continues to be in contrast to the process for prospective justices of the peace: the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee actively considers French language needs throughout the entire justice of the peace application process. Prospective candidates undergo official French language testing, according to the province’s established standards, and require a ‘superior’ proficiency level to be considered for one of the bilingual appointments.

Since the first report, there has been a substantial increase in the numbers of bilingual judges and justices of the peace within the OCJ: there has been a 10 percent increase in bilingual OCJ judges and an 19 percent increase in bilingual justices of the peace.

[SEE APPENDIX 9 for the numbers of bilingual OCJ judges and Justices of the Peace as of April 1, 2015.]

Attempts are being made to address the contrasting practices between the Ontario Court of Justice appointments processes for justices and justices of the peace: subsequent to the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, the then Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice committed to appointing a bilingual judge to the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC) and to encouraging JAAC to seek out bilingual candidates. The first report recommended that the process followed by the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee be considered for the appointment of Ontario Court of Justice judges.

3.III.1.ii Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal

With respect to the appointment and assignment of federally-appointed judges, the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice can indicate a preference for the appointment of a bilingual judge and has done so in each case where the need for a French-speaking judge has been required to fill a specific vacancy. The Minister of Justice is not required to satisfy this preference but has done so on each occasion when requested to do so by the Chief Justice of the Superior Court.

Furthermore, neither the federal nor the provincial judicial appointment process in Ontario uses a single or consistent definition of what constitutes a bilingual judge, continuing the resulting trend of differing levels of French proficiency among Ontario’s “bilingual” judges.

The Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee for federal appointments does not specifically advertise for or seek out French-speaking candidates: its application form simply asks whether a candidate is able to hear and conduct a trial in French. There is no French interview of candidates who purport to have the ability to conduct a trial in French. As a result, prospective Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal candidates continue to self-identify as bilingual with no independent oral or written assessment. Federal judicial appointments do not classify a successful candidate as a specifically appointed bilingual judge.

Since the publication of the Access to Justice in French report, while there have been no changes to the recruitment or assessment processes used in the federal appointments of Ontario’s bilingual judges, there has been a twelve percent increase in the number of bilingual SCJ judges.

[SEE APPENDIX 10 for the numbers of SCJ bilingual judges as of April 1, 2015.]

3.III.1.iii Section Highlights

3.III.2 Lawyers

The presence of appropriately-trained and sufficiently bilingual judicial officials is meaningless unless there is also a corresponding French-speaking bar accessible to Ontario Francophones. As noted in the first report, from a practical point of view, if a Francophone Ontarian is only able to find, retain and instruct an Anglophone lawyer – especially in a criminal matter – then the likelihood that the matter will proceed in French is extremely small.

The first report recommended that “[the legal profession…] take steps to ensure that there will be sufficient numbers of well-trained bilingual lawyers available to French speakers”[73] and suggested that the Law Society, as the regulatory body for lawyers and paralegals in Ontario, is best placed to take a leadership role in ensuring sufficient numbers of appropriately trained French-speaking lawyers.

3.III.2.i Law Society of Upper Canada

The Law Society currently assesses language rights knowledge in the licensing process and has modified its annual reporting requirements to include the following optional questions:

The Law Society advises that almost 14 percent of its membership has self-identified as being able to offer legal services in French. As previously described, in subsection 3.II.2.i on Education/Awareness, the Law Society continues to make strides in providing French language and French language rights training in its licensing process courses and its Continuing Professional Development programs.

As noted above, the Law Society recently entered into a National Mobility Agreement to enable some Quebec lawyers to offer legal services in French in Ontario and has instituted a process that requires lawyer candidates to demonstrate knowledge of language rights.

Services in French are also offered for members accessing a variety of Law Society departments and services. For example, the Law Society Tribunal, launched in March 2014, an administrative tribunal that processes and adjudicates regulatory cases relating to Ontario lawyers and paralegals under the Law Society Act and associated regulations, and applies the Rules of Practice and Procedure passed by Convocation, is chaired by a bilingual lawyer and has internal resources available to offer services in French. The Law Society has also increased the number of lawyers, paralegals and non-lawyer adjudicators who can hear claims in French.

In addition to the Tribunal, the Law Society has significant internal capacity in French in its call centre, practice management helpline and reference service, and on its senior management team.

The Law Society liaises with and supports several legal associations in their efforts to promote awareness of French language rights and provide French language training, all in an effort to ensure sufficient numbers of bilingual lawyers in Ontario.

3.III.2.ii AJEFO

Perhaps not surprisingly, the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario, with almost 800 French-speaking members, is one of the legal associations most active in promoting French language justice rights and attempting to ensure that Ontario has adequate numbers of bilingual justice professionals to allow Francophones to proceed (and choose to proceed) in the justice system in French.

Part of the AJEFO website is devoted to enabling justice professionals (including aspiring justice professionals such as law students) to consider job opportunities and ultimately discover their desired career in justice in French in the province. AJEFO’s CliquezJustice site also offers information to prospective lawyers, paralegals, police officers, court officials and other justice professionals.

Since 2010, the AJEFO has sponsored annual “Careers in Justice” scholarships of $1,000 to two students studying in French in the field of justice. The scholarships not only assist with tuition costs but also serve to promote the notion of practising law, or working in the justice system, in French in Ontario.

3.III.2.iii Law Faculties and Practice Programs

As previously discussed, in the section on education and awareness, various law faculties in Ontario are considering the feasibility of offering law programs in French while others already do so. Furthermore, a new Law Practice Program has been approved and is being offered in French at the University of Ottawa.

These opportunities to study law and “article” in French have the potential to engage students, promote career choices and open doors to actual justice jobs and careers in French.

3.III.2.iv Section Highlights

3.III.3 Ministry of the Attorney General

“[The Ministry’s] capacity to offer French language services in the courts of Ontario relies, in large part, on the manager’s ability to recruit and retain the appropriate French-speaking staff in designated bilingual positions...

Recruiting and retaining individuals with the appropriate oral and written French language skills for… designated bilingual positions is inevitably more challenging and complex than recruiting for non-designated positions…

As a result, it is not uncommon to find situations where a designated bilingual position is either left unfilled or is occupied by someone who does not have the appropriate level of French language skills.”[74]

In response to these issues, the Ministry has redoubled its recruitment and retention strategy efforts. Apart from the ongoing work of the Justice Sector’s Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services, the Court Services, Criminal Law, and Victims and Vulnerable Persons Divisions have made progress with their various bilingual employee strategies.

All Ministry job advertisements and postings for bilingual positions, including detailed specifications, are in English and in French and, to increase outreach to the Francophone community, are posted on the Franco Bulletin Board, a recruitment tool for bilingual staff developed in collaboration with a number of community stakeholders across the province and used successfully to recruit staff for designated positions.

3.III.3.i Court Services Division

The Court Services Division of the Ministry has an “Ambassador Program” in place to assist with its talent search for Anglophone and bilingual staff by focussing its recruitment efforts on colleges, universities, and career fairs.

For those already employed in CSD, a FLS self-assessment tool has been designed to be completed every three years by court managers to ensure compliance with language rights legislation and to assist in a review of staffing levels. (The FLS icon, available on all CSD computers, also includes information on designated bilingual positions.)

The division is reviewing its designated positions and the language competency levels of bilingual staff. The OFA recently introduced two new language competency levels that, when fully integrated into new and existing job specifications, will assist in recruiting for designated positions and in optimising the placement of bilingual staff by ensuring that staff are hired for the jobs that are most appropriate to their language proficiency levels. CSD is also analysing FLS implications due to changes in business processes and is developing an implementation strategy that takes these changes into account.

CSD and OCFLS are developing test preparation materials to assist staff with readying themselves for new oral and written French proficiency testing, and to assist all new applicants for bilingual positions.

3.III.3.ii Criminal Law Division

By providing ongoing language training, work resources, and tools, the Criminal Law Division provides a work environment that is conducive to the retention of bilingual staff.

CLD has also taken steps to broadly advertise designated positions in media that reach the French-speaking community to ensure that qualified candidates apply for and fill vacancies: it has advertised in the smaller Francophone newspapers such as Le Voyageur, Le Rempart, and L’Express, as well as in larger publications such as le Droit in Ottawa.

3.III.3.iii Office of the Coordinator of FLS

The Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services, in conjunction with the Ministry’s Human Resources Branch, assists individual divisions, such as the Court Services Division, to review job descriptions and ensure they reflect the required French language skills, thereby enhancing the Ministry’s ability to attract staff.

To enhance the bilingual recruitment process, the OCFLS attends “Engagement Meetings for Designated Bilingual Positions” and proposes new recruitment methods and outreach strategies, such as the Franco Bulletin Board (FBB).

Again in collaboration with the Human Resources Branch, the OCFLS has created a tool to determine current and future “Designated Bilingual Position” needs, which allows managers of all Ministry and Justice Sector divisions to:

3.III.3.iv Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division
Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

The OPGT is actively engaged in a review of designated bilingual positions. The Regional Manager, Sudbury and North Bay, is undertaking a review of bilingual positions in the North Region using the needs assessment tool developed by the OCFLS.

The objective is to compare the number of existing designated bilingual positions with the number required to ensure an active offer of French language services. A number of strategies will be used to enhance bilingual capacity and ensure that designated positions are filled with staff who have the requisite language skills in French. Once the North Region has completed its review, similar reviews will be undertaken in other regions in the province.

Victim/Witness Assistance Program

The Victim/Witness Assistance Program, with strong leadership from the local Ottawa office, is also advancing the bilingual recruitment and retention cause by:

3.III.3.v Section Highlights

3.III.4 Justice Sector Partners

3.III.4.i Legal Aid Ontario

Legal Aid Ontario has demonstrated a strong commitment to implementing an effective strategy for the recruitment and retention of bilingual staff in which bilingualism is generally considered a preferred competency or an asset in hiring, primarily with lawyer hires. Thus, LAO often exceeds the basic bilingual designation requirements by also hiring bilingual staff for non-designated positions.

Numerous practices address French language recruitment and retention issues. With respect to students and interns, LAO:

With respect to lawyers, LAO developed a mentoring strategy for its staff lawyers and the private bar in 2014. The program (announced on the LAO website) includes funding for lawyers to obtain hands-on court experience, and a more formal matching program to pair bilingual mentors and mentees.

Finally, in 2015, two new positions of senior legal counsel in criminal law were created. This is a pilot project in which senior litigators who are assigned to especially complex cases mentor less experienced lawyers.

3.III.4.ii Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), as the other Justice Sector ministry, benefits from the tools and resources developed and provided by the OCFLS. MCSCS has taken several steps to enhance its bilingual hiring and retention strategies, including the following:

In addition, two subcommittees have been established to develop outreach strategies and professional training for bilingual staff and employees in designated positions. Presentations will be arranged for the community and linkages will be established as part of a project with the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick to attract more qualified bilingual candidates.

Ontario Provincial Police

The Ontario Provincial Police continue to conduct an evaluation of their needs related to designated bilingual positions, an evaluation including but not limited to frontline services.

Furthermore, a project funded under the Canada-Ontario Agreement is moving forward to target the promotion of careers in the Justice Sector, with emphasis on strategies for recruitment and retention of qualified bilingual staff in Provincial Communications Centres (PCCs).

PCCs work in partnership with Francophone educational institutions and community agencies to build linkages in support of bilingual staff recruitment. For example, in 2014, PCCs in Smiths Falls hosted three job fairs and information sessions while North Bay PCCs hosted four similar sessions.

In addition, uniform recruiters have hosted 130 recruitment events, all of which had French-speaking recruiters in attendance to interact with Francophone candidates participating in the sessions. In addition, 19 outreach sessions in 2014 were specifically targeted to the Francophone community.

Ontario Police College

Adequate bilingual capacity is a priority for the Ontario Police College, which will evaluate needs for designated bilingual positions using resources developed by the OCFLS. (A receptionist position and a position in the Registrar’s office have already been identified for this review.)

Significant strides have been made and much work continues in order to ensure sufficient bilingual capacity in Ontario for those groups of justice professionals who interact with Ontario’s Francophone community. Sufficient bilingual capacity is clearly also an integral part of the coordination and delivery of French language services in the province, which is the topic of discussion in the final subsection that follows.

3.III.4.iii Section Highlights

RESPONSE TO REPORT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

3.IV – COORDINATION/DELIVERY of FLS in ONTARIO

One of the overarching themes for improvement highlighted in the Access to Justice in French report relates to increased coordination and clearly-defined responsibilities.[75] For the delivery of French language services in Ontario to be fair and appropriate, effective coordination is required at several levels within all Justice Sector partner entities and between combinations of those partners, including the judiciary, the Ministry, and municipal and other justice partners.

Subsequent to the publication of the first report, the judiciary, the Justice Sector ministries and other justice partners and stakeholders have come together to find ways of collaborating better to improve the coordination of FLS in Ontario.

3.IV.1 Judiciary and Ministry

3.IV.1.i FLS Regional Committees

The Access to Justice in French report recommended that the Attorney General:

The report also recommended that the Chief Justices consider designating a judge in each region and at each level of court, and a justice of the peace in each region, to be responsible for French language or bilingual proceedings.

The Response Steering Committee has discussed the importance of these recommendations and has in fact already taken the next steps to develop a collaborative and ongoing approach to address regional FLS issues and to promote regional best practices for the delivery of FLS.

FLS Regional Committees have been proposed with broad representation from the affected groups. The Chief Justices of the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice have appointed judicial regional FLS representatives to be point persons in their respective regions for FLS issues involving the judiciary. The OCJ has appointed representatives for its judges and for its justices of the peace. The Court of Appeal is also represented.

The judicial FLS representatives already meet on a regular basis.

The three Ministry divisions represented on the Response Steering Committee - the Court Services, Criminal Law, and Victims and Vulnerable Persons Divisions - have also appointed regional FLS representatives to be point persons in their respective regions for FLS issues.

Each FLS Regional Committee will select a judicial and a Ministry co-chair, and will meet twice a year, and as required, to identify best practices and discuss regional FLS issues. Each member court and division will also choose from its regional FLS representatives a Provincial FLS Lead. Discussions are also ongoing with respect to including other regular members, such as from LAO or the municipal courts.

Terms of Reference have been drafted. The mandate for each FLS Regional Committee is to:

The Terms of Reference also provide specific roles and responsibilities for the committee co-chairs, the members, the Provincial FLS Leads, as well as the CSD FLS Coordinator. (Some of the representatives have already been active in their new roles.) In addition, mechanisms are being put into place to ensure that best practices identified in one area will be shared and promoted in a provincial exchange of ideas.

The fact that the various courts and divisions have different regions for their daily operations has been taken into account.

[SEE APPENDIX 11 for the FLS Regional Committee draft Terms of Reference.]

Once fully operational, these FLS Regional Committees will become an invaluable tool to improve the coordinated delivery of bilingual and French proceedings on a regional and provincial basis. They will offer an ongoing, stable forum for discussion of relevant and current FLS issues and best practices.

The existence of the Response Steering Committee has permitted the judiciary, the Ministry and other related justice partners and players to come together and discuss broadly FLS coordination and delivery issues. The Terms of Reference for the new regional committees also provide for other justice partners to be involved in the meetings, as required. In many ways, once the Steering Committee work largely concludes, with the delivery of this report to the Attorney, the FLS Regional Committees are poised to take over and expand on this collaborative work.

3.IV.1.ii Pilot Projects
Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project

The Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project launched in the Ottawa courthouse at the end of May 2015. The Chief Justices and the Ministry will provide seamless French language services to justice clients with a strong emphasis on the concept of active offer.

This groundbreaking joint initiative will not only bring together those players actively involved in the courtroom process but will also invite participation by all those present in the Ottawa courthouse.

Ongoing dialogue between the pilot project judicial leads and the broader pilot project implementation team will help the Ministry respond to any coordination issues identified in Ottawa and identify possible best practices that could then be made available to other court locations across the province.[77]

The feasibility of offering French bail hearings has been considered as part of the pilot project. Video technology, where available, may also be considered.

Toronto South Detention Centre Pilot Project

In that regard, the new Toronto South Detention Centre is equipped with the technology to provide bail hearings by video, and a pilot project is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Small Claims Court E-Filing Project

The Small Claims Court (SCC) E-Filing Project, commenced in August 2014 in four Ontario locations including Ottawa, is a new bilingual e-filing service to enable Ontarians to file a claim electronically for amounts up to $25,000 (for disputes involving fixed amounts, such as debts owing under a contract, unpaid accounts for goods and services and unpaid rent).

In its first six months of operation, the SCC E-Filing pilot has seen more than one thousand SCC claims filed online. It may be useful to promote this pilot specifically to the Francophone community in Ottawa so as to encourage its use in French. This SCC pilot project complements the broader Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project.

On March 2, 2015, the SCC E-Filing project expanded to Toronto; by the end of the same month, the pilot had expanded province-wide.

3.IV.1.iii Innovation
Daily Court Lists Online

The Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice now publish their daily court lists on the Ontario Courts website, which is a bilingual site.[78]

E-Orders

The Ontario Court of Justice has also introduced electronic versions of court orders for certain types of criminal matters, ensuring that the most common criminal orders are available to accused persons, offenders, sureties and justice service providers in plain and simple language. The E-Orders initiative contains a French language template and the orders themselves are in the original language, either English or French.

3.IV.1.iv Section Highlights

3.IV.2 Ministry of the Attorney General

The Ministry’s goal is to provide consistency in the provision of uniform court services across the province. As such:

In addition, CSD conducts annual client satisfaction surveys that are available in both English and French, and that include questions related to service delivery. Responses provided in French are reviewed by the Corporate Planning Branch and help to inform future service delivery. Results are reported annually in the CSD Annual Report and on the Ministry public website.

3.IV.2.i Court Services Division

The Ministry’s Court Services Division provides a range of services that coordinate the delivery of services and otherwise support Ontario’s family, civil and criminal courts. More than 250 court offices around the province serve the judiciary, lawyers and other justice participants.

The majority of the recommendations in the Access to Justice in French report touch on, and many are specifically directed to, the Court Services Division. As a result, the division has taken the lead for the Ministry in responding to the report. It also created its own divisional Bench and Bar Response Committee, to review and move forward with those recommendations targeting the division. This CSD Response Committee includes CSD representatives from all regions.

[SEE APPENDIX 12 for the Terms of Reference of the CSD Response Committee.]

Staffing

In September 2012, a month after the release of the first report, a bilingual CSD FLS Coordinator[79] was appointed. Her role is to:

The first report recommended that the Ministry:

“Consider using technology to provide access to assistance from qualified French-speaking staff when court users seek to file court documents in French, by right or by agreement, in areas that are not designated under the FLSA… [and]

Consider ways of making French language services readily available in areas that are not designated under the FLSA.”[80]

To respond to these recommendations, CSD has recruited French-speaking staff, on a volunteer basis, to assist those non-designated court locations with the provision of French language services.

These dozens of FLS volunteers provide assistance by phone. As these court sites are not designated under the FLSA, there may be no French-speaking counter staff to provide this front-line service.

The recruitment of these volunteers has benefited FLS in Ontario and, particularly in this time of budget constraints, may help to further the objectives of this report.

In addition, CSD has developed a FLS survey to be completed every three years by court managers that includes a review of staffing levels to ensure compliance with language rights legislation and an active offer of FLS.

CSD is working to ensure that designated bilingual positions are properly staffed with incumbents who have the requisite French language skills for their positions, and that the division has adequate bilingual capacity.

Communication

Other CSD initiatives to respond to the first report’s recommendations and to improve communication within the division with respect to FLS include the following:

3.IV.2.ii Criminal Law Division

Even though the Criminal Law Division was not specifically referenced in the recommendations of the first report, it has nevertheless been an active participant on the Response Steering Committee and its subcommittees and related work groups, and has been responsive to recommendations directed to the Ministry:

3.IV.2.iii Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division

As discussed above, the regulation relating to third party service providers and the provision of FLS has been fully implemented in the Ministry as of July 2014. All Ministry divisions, including VVPD, have submitted compliance reports for their third parties to the OFA, and continue to report on new agreements.

VVPD’s service providers have been particularly proactive in providing support and guidance, have demonstrated an impressive commitment toward the active offer, and have achieved concrete results with the support provided by the Ontario Victims Services regional staff. Compliance with the regulation on third parties remains a priority for the OVS, and work with community agencies continues. All agencies are required to complete an active offer compliance checklist.

OVS organised a meeting in March 2014 with staff in regional offices to discuss best practices related to the active offer of FLS in the context of the regulation implementation.

Additionally, VVPD’s Victim/Witness Assistance Program has put in place an active offer of FLS by sending its introduction letters to all its clients in both languages.

Furthermore, the rollout of V/WAP’s Victim Information System of Ontario (VISiON) module is underway. The VISiON application provides a centralised data base that is accessible from any OVS computer on which it is installed and helps increase efficiency by replacing many manual processes.

V/WAP staff use VISiON to produce reports on services, workloads and other key performance indicators and to create customised correspondence. VISiON not only creates standard letters automatically in French for all areas in the province, but also saves these letters and is able to track clients’ preferences with respect to the language of service (English or French).

VVPD’s Assistant Deputy Attorney General and the FLS leads responsible for the prevention of violence toward women portfolio organised a meeting with the Executive Director and Board of Directors of Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes in October 2014.

The meeting was productive and OVS has committed to scheduling regular meetings with AOcVF to share ideas on how to improve services for Francophone women who are victims of violence in Ontario.

This ongoing partnership with AOcVF includes a project for children exposed to domestic violence, funded under the Canada-Ontario Agreement, with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

3.IV.2.iv Section Highlights

3.IV.3 Municipal and other Justice Partners and the Ministry

3.IV.3.i Provincial Offences Act

CSD’s POA Table FLS Subcommittee has successfully developed relationships between the division, and municipal and Francophone stakeholders. The Subcommittee is involved in outreach, ensuring that municipal courts are aware of their obligations, that Francophones are advised of their rights and that there is appropriate signage and an active offer of FLS.

The POA Table FLS Subcommittee, with support from the Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services, is focussed on continued collaboration with municipal partners and FLS stakeholders to further improve FLS delivery in municipal courts by developing and sharing best practices, tools and resources.

The POA Table FLS Subcommittee has been recognised by the FLS Commissioner and the Deputy Minister of Francophone Affairs as a model for other clusters.

Two POA Table FLS Subcommittee members were members of the POA Best Practices Committee. The mandate of this committee consisted in identifying best practices in order to improve the use of provincial offences court time and reduce the number of matters that collapse on a scheduled trial date. The POA Table is reviewing the final report of the POA Best Practices Committee and is determining required next steps.

Other initiatives of the CSD POA Unit and the POA Table FLS Subcommittee include:

3.IV.3.ii Ontario Provincial Police and other Police Forces

Police services in Ontario are provided by local municipal forces or, in their absence, by the Ontario Provincial Police. While the OPP[82] is subject to the provisions of the FLSA, municipal police forces may not be, although a municipality may choose to offer bilingual services and have those services also offered by its police force. In the absence of such a decision by the municipality, a police force has no specific legal obligation to provide services in French.

The sixth recommendation in the Access to Justice in French report envisioned the Ministry’s working with the police and others to ensure that accused “are informed of their language rights at the earliest opportunity; and that French legal services are offered and made available at the same time as English legal services”.[83]

To that end, the “Informing Accused of Language Rights” (IALR) subgroup was created, and is an excellent example of justice partners working together.

The IALR subgroup was composed of representatives from:

In 2014, the IALR subgroup met on a regular basis and discussed existing practices and various options for informing accused persons of their language rights with a view to finding a uniform approach to doing so at the earliest opportunity.[84]

Such a uniform approach will be especially beneficial to accused individuals who may not be aware of their right to have their criminal trial in the official language of their choice: in this way, accused persons will be able to retain a French-speaking lawyer from the outset of their criminal matter, if they so choose. A list of French-speaking lawyers in various practice areas could also be compiled so that the right to retain a French-speaking lawyer at the earliest opportunity can become a practical reality. The Law Society has commenced work on this initiative and could assist in furthering this objective.

3.IV.3.iii Legal Aid Ontario

Recommendation 17 of the first report suggested that the Attorney propose to Legal Aid Ontario that it “carry out a review of the availability and delivery of French language services, informed by the findings and recommendations in [the] report”.[85]

As noted in the previous subsection, LAO continues to identify requirements for the active offer of FLS through ongoing reviews of designated position requirements and of its models of service delivery.

In 2014, LAO increased its FLS summary legal advice staff in the Customer Service Centre, adding three new family law staff lawyer positions, and created a dedicated French-language telephone line.

LAO considers and integrates FLS requirements in the following areas:

Legal Aid Ontario established and continues to fund the “Brydges Hotline”, which allows accused persons to talk to a French- or English-speaking Legal Aid lawyer, over the telephone from a police station, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is always a French-speaking lawyer available: a panel of five bilingual criminal lawyers provides services on a fixed schedule as well as an on-call basis. Should the need arise, the Brydges Hotline also has access to other French-speaking criminal lawyers.

This service is available to all Ontarians, not merely those who are otherwise financially eligible for legal aid services.[86] The Hotline is available in English and French, as well as in any other language through an interpreter.

The Brydges Hotline advises approximately 55,000 people annually.[87] In 2013, there were 534 calls made in French. This represents almost one percent of the total volume of calls made annually. Further investigation could be undertaken to understand whether there are any existing impediments to FLS. A youth-specific line, with services also available in French, was launched in 2014.

Police duty books provide information on the Brydges Hotline, which is also covered in training for provincial and municipal police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and security guards.

In addition, Legal Aid Ontario funds 76 community legal clinics throughout the province, 35 of which provide services in French. Each clinic is a not-for-profit legal centre governed by an independent board of directors, representative of the community it serves. Clinics employ lawyers, paralegals and administrative staff to provide information, legal advice and representation.

In the course of 2012-2013, LAO carried out a review of services delivered through the clinic system, as part of the environmental scan required in the compliance process of the third party service provider regulation (discussed above).

LAO also has a number of initiatives that target specific groups:

The above points not only illustrate LAO’s efforts to be responsive to the first report but also demonstrate its willingness and ability to exceed expectations with respect to FLS.

Facilitating access to French-speaking lawyers and paralegals was another recommendation in the first report that sought the collaboration of LAO and the Ministry, as well as lawyers’ associations.

3.IV.3.iv Section Highlights

3.IV.4 Lawyers and Paralegals

3.IV.4.i Law Society

The first report suggested that the Law Society, as the regulatory body for both Ontario lawyers and paralegals, was well placed to take a leadership role, especially as it has a duty to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario:

While legal associations such as AJEFO, the Ontario Bar Association, and others can assist, the Law Society is in the best position to lead and coordinate these tasks.[89]

As already discussed, the Law Society has been responsive and proactive in this regard:

WAIT TIMES

French

English

Resource Centre

28 seconds

21 seconds

Complaints

39 seconds

18 seconds

Reception

25 seconds

20 seconds

Protocol

The Office of the FLS Commissioner of Ontario and the Law Society of Upper Canada, in October 2014, launched a protocol to address complaints received about the Law Society's French language services.

The protocol is an access to justice initiative that allows the Law Society to address complaints about its French language services in a transparent manner. The protocol brings the Law Society into a collaborative relationship with the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner.[90]

3.IV.4.ii Ontario Bar Association

The Find a Lawyer tool on the OBA website has expanded functionality, enabling the public to search for a lawyer by language, including French.

3.IV.4.iii AJEFO

Founded in 1980, the Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario has been a voice for lawyers, judges, justice administrators, law professors, law students and others who work to promote access to justice in French and English.

In January 2015, the AJEFO launched its Centre d’information juridique d’Ottawa, or Ottawa Legal Information Centre, which provides free legal information and referral services on a confidential basis in French and English to residents of the Ottawa region and its surrounding areas.

The Ottawa Legal Information Centre, funded by the federal Department of Justice through the “Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund”, represents another focussed French language justice initiative, and is the first bilingual “neighbourhood” legal information centre outside Quebec.

The Centre will undoubtedly complement the Ottawa Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project, discussed in detail in the next section of this report.[91]

3.IV.4.iv Section Highlights

SECTION 4: SEAMLESS ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN FRENCH PILOT PROJECT

4.1 Pilot Project Background

The Response Steering Committee created a subcommittee to examine the feasibility of a pilot project to respond, in a coordinated and focussed manner, to several of the recommendations in the first report.

[SEE APPENDIX 13 for a list of the Pilot Project Subcommittee members.]

In April 2014, the co-chairs of this Committee presented a draft pilot project proposal to the Attorney General, Madeleine Meilleur, for her consideration. In the summer of 2014, the Attorney approved the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project (Pilot Project), which launched in May 2015 in Ottawa.[92]

Seamless access to FLS will be delivered in Ottawa for the duration of the Pilot Project with a view to providing services at the Ottawa courthouse in the most cost-effective and personnel-neutral manner possible.

4.2 Pilot Project Objectives and Scope

The primary objectives of the Pilot Project will see the Chief Justices and the Ministry:

The Pilot Project is scheduled to last at least one year. It will align with the Justice Sector’s FLS Strategic Plan, calling for the development of modern and innovative services and for optimal allocation of bilingual human resources.

The Pilot Project will also align with the Office of Francophone Affairs Guidelines for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government and with various recommendations in the French Language Services Commissioner’s annual reports.

See below an excerpt relating to a pilot project initiative from the FLS Commissioner’s Annual Report, Rooting for Francophones.

RECOMMENDATION 4

The commissioner recommends that the Attorney General implement a pilot project improving access to justice in French based on the recommendations and intentions contained the report Access to justice in French. This pilot project should:

  1. Be assigned to a senior and influential civil servant within the Ministry of the Attorney General
  2. Be conducted according to a schedule that at a very minimum includes planning and implementations steps
  3. Encompass a region as much as possible, reflecting the diversity of access to justice in French in Ontario, including areas designated under the French Language Services Act, non-designated areas, urban centres and rural areas.
  4. Be clearly focused on a final objective of broadening access across the province – as evidenced by the priority and resources assigned to the project, its timely implementation, and its active search for solutions to the issues raised by the report Access to Justice in French.

The Pilot Project will provide a discreet area within which to examine and identify additional issues, and develop new solutions to ensure seamless access to justice in French.

While the successful implementation of the Pilot Project may require the development of new policies, practices and directives pertaining to the provision of FLS in the Ottawa area, the Pilot Project will operate within the existing legislative and regulatory framework.[93]

4.3 Pilot Project Team

In order to ensure the success of the Pilot Project, this Committee recommended that the direction and coordination of the Pilot Project rest with an experienced, senior bilingual Court Services Division employee.

Danielle Manton, the Director of Court Operations for the East Region, who is familiar with the challenges in accessing justice in French, is the Executive Lead for the Pilot Project Ministry implementation team. Justice Johanne Lafrance-Cardinal of the Superior Court of Justice, Justice Diane Lahaie of the Ontario Court of Justice and Regional Senior Justice of the Peace Linda Leblanc are the Pilot Project judicial leads in the East Region.

Representatives from the Corporate Services Management, Court Services, Criminal Law, Legal Services, and Victims and Vulnerable Persons Divisions, the Ministry’s Communications Branch and Legal Aid Ontario, are also involved in the planning and implementation of the Pilot Project.

A Legal Community Engagement Committee, under the direction of Office of Francophone Affairs’ Assistant Deputy Minister, Kelly Burke, has regular teleconference calls to ensure all representatives are aware of ongoing challenges and are part of the discussion regarding the coordinated effort to support the Pilot Project. Senior members of the Ottawa bar also participate in the discussions.

Danielle Manton, Justice Thorburn, Co-Chair of this Committee, and the three local judicial Pilot Project leads, are also actively involved in the Pilot Project and are members of the Legal Community Engagement Committee.

4.4 Specific Challenges to be Addressed by the Pilot Project

The Pilot Project Executive Lead has identified nine priorities for the Pilot Project, which are outlined in parts 4.4.i through 4.4.ix below.

The information that follows is not exhaustive but outlines some of the initiatives that were considered prior to the May 2015 launch of the Pilot Project. It is possible that the Pilot Project team will ultimately determine that some of these initiatives are neither viable nor desirable; they may also consider other alternatives.

4.4.i Providing FLS Based on Active Offer

In order to ensure the Ministry recommitment to delivering FLS based on the concept of the active offer, informal active offer checks on Ministry staff – including on voicemail, telephone responses, counter service – will be conducted. There will also be a signage audit to ensure the quality, clarity and strategic placement of signs, including temporary signs.

Interactive “active offer” training has been developed and delivered to all staff in the courthouse, whose annual performance plans will now include a section on their ability and willingness to ensure an active offer of service in French.

Tenants of the Ottawa courthouse were invited to participate in active offer training, and French language information materials are available to all at the courthouse.

Examples of new active offer visual tools include: « Je parle français » badges to be worn by designated CSD counter staff, large screens displaying French language rights information and new signage.

4.4.ii Bail Hearings

The Pilot Project team has reviewed the feasibility of providing French (or bilingual) bail hearings, in response to a recommendation to that effect in the first report, and continues to look at the current practices and the challenges related to expanding those practices in Ottawa. Work is underway with the Criminal Law Division to develop protocols for the provision of bail hearings in French in Ottawa, and that division has undertaken to ensure that Crown Attorneys will be available for French bail hearings for the duration of the Pilot Project.

4.4.iii Timing of the Communication of French Language Rights

4.4.iii.a Awareness of French and Bilingual Proceedings

The Pilot Project team is examining an enhanced active offer to include information with respect to French language rights on signs and electronic screens, and is looking to ensure that informational documents on language rights are accessible to the general public.

4.4.iii.b Communicating French Language Rights in Different Areas of the Law

Methods of improved French language rights communication are being examined in criminal, family and other matters.

In criminal law matters, the Ottawa Police have been consulted to determine whether French language rights information is sufficiently provided prior to releasing accused persons.

As part of the Pilot Project, and following up on the work of the subgroup that reviewed options for informing accused of their language rights, information with respect to language rights is being added to the following criminal law forms:

Specifically, at the bottom of each form, this wording appears in bold in English and French:

“If you are French speaking, you have the right to have your trial heard in French (or possibly as a bilingual proceeding). You must exercise that right by requesting that your trial be held in your official language of choice. If you wish to proceed in French, you should advise the judicial officer or duty counsel when you attend court. Duty counsel or a lawyer of your choice can explain your language rights more fully.”

Consultations have occurred with the bilingual defence bar in Ottawa, including the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa. Tip sheets and training on FLS requirements in the Criminal Code have been developed and delivered to Ottawa criminal line staff as well as V/WAP and administrative CLD staff.

In the area of family law, the Pilot Project team is working with Mandatory Information Program service providers to ensure an understanding of French language rights and appropriate delivery of FLS. Such third party service providers have a regulatory obligation to provide an active offer of service. There has been area-specific development and delivery of FLS requirements training for all Ottawa family line staff. Family law French language rights tip sheets have also been developed and delivered to family line staff and LAO family duty counsel office staff.

Similar materials and training have been developed and provided for civil matters (including estates and Small Claims Court).

4.4.iv Delays

In order to address any issues of delay, the Pilot Project team has been reviewing FLS protocols at all Ottawa courthouse counters to determine whether delays in obtaining access to French-speaking personnel are more likely to occur at certain counters and/or at certain times.

An electronic “Q-matic” ticket system is being used to alert courthouse staff when a French-speaking person is coming forward to access counter services. (Additionally, this “Q-matic” system will serve to track French counter statistics.)[94]

The Executive Lead is interviewing bilingual lawyers in Ottawa to determine whether they have experienced delays and, if so, why.

The local judicial leads have advised that they have experienced significant delays in the provision of French transcripts of proceedings.[95] Arrangements are being made to address this issue.

4.4.v Partner Collaboration – Judiciary

Regular meetings with the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice judicial leads (or their representatives) are being held on an ongoing basis to determine whether any particular coordination issues exist in Ottawa and to identify possible solutions and best practices.

4.4.vi Recruitment and Retention of Bilingual Court Staff

An internal Ministry review of designated bilingual positions in Ottawa, and the related recruitment and retention policies and procedures, has been conducted. The Executive Lead determined that, while there may be sufficient numbers of bilingual staff overall at the Ottawa courthouse, there may be gaps in specific areas. In an effort to address any such gaps, French language testing has been provided to identified bilingual staff in non-designated positions with a view to designating these positions if the language proficiency threshold is met. As a result, some positions are currently in the process of being designated.

A new recruitment and retention strategy is being developed. The Ministry may work with stakeholders such as La Cité, the University of Ottawa, or others such as Collège Boréal (which is partnering with Durham College to create a French equivalent to the Court Support Program already offered at Durham College).

The Executive Lead for the Pilot Project has advised that Ottawa does have backup bilingual counter staff, and that she is working closely with the supervisors for all business lines to develop a strategy to ensure that multiple bilingual staff absences don’t necessarily result in gaps in services in French. (The Ministry may also consider the option of providing services remotely so as to avoid any such gaps.)

4.4.vii Stakeholder Collaboration

Consultation and work with a broad variety of stakeholder groups are underway and will continue for the duration of the Pilot Project. The expanded use of stakeholder-developed French language resources, such as the AJEFO and Law Society brochures and pamphlets, will be an additional topic of discussion.

A working relationship has been established with the AJEFO’s Centre d’information juridique d’Ottawa, a new legal information centre primarily targeting Ottawa’s French-speaking community, and other stakeholder groups. For example, arrangements were made to have the AJEFO introduce its new centre to all CSD counter staff and centre pamphlets are displayed in the courthouse.

4.4.viii Statistics and Tracking

A review is being undertaken of the available statistics at the Ottawa courthouse to determine any gaps or inaccuracies. The Pilot Project team is working with Ministry statistics business analysts to develop tools or other methods of obtaining data that will assist with assessing the success of the Pilot Project. The team and the business analysts are endeavouring to get the best possible use out of the existing FRANK and ICON database systems.

As mentioned above, the Q-matic system is able to track those courthouse clients requesting French services at the counter.

4.4.ix Training

All Ottawa CSD staff and select CLD, V/WAP and LAO staff have received mandatory training sessions on French language rights and obligations and the FLS active offer. The latter sessions have also been offered to Ottawa courthouse tenants and partners.

4.5 Best Practices arising from the Pilot Project/Review

The Pilot Project should enable the Ministry and the Chief Justices to test whether the best practices identified and put into place for the delivery of FLS are sufficient to satisfy the active offer of service in French in Ottawa.

Specifically, the Pilot Project will permit the Ministry to develop additional strategies and initiatives to ensure that:

Upon conclusion of the Pilot Project, a review would be beneficial to address:

The Response Steering Committee is hopeful that the Pilot Project will provide a microcosm within which to identify best practices and to assess whether the changes in place, as a result of the recommendations in the first report, have the desired effect of improving access to justice in French for Ontarians in Ottawa.

If the Pilot Project does indeed lead to improvements to justice in French for Ottawa residents, then the Ministry and the Chief Justices may choose to replicate those practices in other areas of the province.

4.6 Section Highlights

SECTION 5 - CONCLUSIONS and SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENT

5.1 Access to Justice in French Report and the Response Steering Committee

The 2012 Access to Justice in French report:

The recommendations in the first report were directed primarily to the Ministry of the Attorney General, the judiciary, lawyers’ associations, and municipal and other justice partners, all of whom are represented on the FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee, established to review and recommend implementation strategies that respond to the findings and recommendations outlined in the first report.

While the Terms of Reference for the Response Steering Committee tasked it with proposing implementation strategies, we are pleased to report that new processes, policies and procedures have actually been implemented and we now have documented positive movement and change arising from the recommendations in the first report.

The Response Steering Committee members were engaged and actively participated in all aspects of the work. The goodwill and the ready commitment of resources referenced in the first report were equally present in all the justice participants engaged in the work of the Response Steering Committee.

5.2 Results

The sustained energy and resources committed to French language services in Ontario subsequent to the first report have resulted in an increased awareness of French language rights and enhanced provision of French language services in the justice system. The body of this report and the highlight boxes in each section detail the specific progress made and it will not be repeated here.

However, one particularly important initiative needs to be referenced again: the Response Steering Committee is especially pleased to have conceptualised and proposed the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project, which will serve as a means of identifying best practices and assessing whether changes implemented subsequent to the first report have had the appropriate and desired effects. All the Response Steering Committee participants and their respective constituents look forward to participating in and learning from the Pilot Project.

5.3 Suggestions for Further Improvement

The Ministry should create a long-term mechanism, such as a FLS oversight committee, to monitor and measure ongoing FLS progress in the province and ensure the implementation of recommendations in this report and flowing from the Pilot Project and the FLS Regional Committees.

While significant progress has already been made, more can be done and it is critical to maintain the momentum of the positive changes detailed in this report. All broader justice sector players (the Ministry, the judiciary, related partners and stakeholders) should continue to improve FLS in Ontario and increase awareness of French language rights.

Certain specific actions should also be taken to finalise some of the excellent work already undertaken, including the following:

  1. The new FLS Regional Committees will soon hold their inaugural meetings and should actively address targeted regional FLS issues that may not yet have been considered. In this way, they will in essence take over some of the work of the Response Steering Committee, as this committee’s work largely comes to an end. This integration of FLS by regular meetings among judicial representatives and between judicial representatives and the Ministry (and other partners, as appropriate) will assist in maintaining momentum with respect to the awareness and safeguarding of French language rights in Ontario’s courts. These committees will also provide an ongoing forum, at a regional and provincial level, for discussion of FLS issues and best practices.
  2. Third party educators, such as the National Judicial Institute, should be encouraged to integrate French language rights awareness into their judicial programming.
  3. On an ongoing basis, the Law Society and lawyers’ associations should continue to review and assess the needs of lawyers to ensure adequate education programming for those with French language proficiency who are interested in assisting clients in French.
  4. The Ministry’s service standards with respect to FLS should be finalised, approved, adopted and promoted (perhaps in conjunction with the transformation of the Strategic Plan into a permanent Justice Sector process). These service standards will ensure that FLS providers are accountable for their services and that FLS objectives are met.
  5. A review of Designated Bilingual Positions should be completed within both Justice Sector ministries to ensure their ongoing ability to provide appropriate FLS based on the concept of the active offer. (Given the challenges in recruiting and retaining bilingual staff, the Ministry may wish to consider measures such as cross-training bilingual staff and/or the centralisation of FLS delivery in specific court locations, where such centralisation is feasible.)
  6. The Justice Sector’s work to inform accused of their language rights at the earliest opportunity should be finalised.
  7. Training initiatives should continue and advantage needs to be taken of the momentum in this area that has developed subsequent to the publication of the first report and with the creation of new entities such as the Réseau national de formation en justice.
  8. As new technologies become available to the Ministry, they should be used to facilitate the provision of FLS.
  9. At the conclusion of the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project, a review should be conducted and may include an examination of the following:
    • newer more reliable statistics created as part of the Pilot Project for review;
    • systems to provide better services to French-speaking clients, such as the Q-matic ticketing process used in the Pilot Project; and,
    • enhanced use of technology to expand awareness of rights to French-speaking clients.
  10. The challenges and successes of the Pilot Project should serve as a useful learning tool in coordinating efforts for further FLS enhancement throughout the province. Any best practices gleaned from the Pilot Project, especially with respect to an enhanced active offer, should be considered for broader rollout throughout the province.

In addition to these ten suggestions for further improvement, various other next steps have been mentioned throughout the report and captured in the highlights.

While many important and significant improvements have been made, there is still work to be done. The Strategic Plan for the Development of French Language Services in the Justice Sector has long provided a framework for the Justice Sector to consult with Francophone partners and stakeholders with respect to FLS progress made and new FLS initiatives. It is fortuitous that this successful and established practice is now being transformed into a permanent initiative that will continue to set benchmarks and improve the delivery of French language services in the Justice Sector.

It should also be noted that the Strategic Planning process includes an annual FLS progress reporting mechanism.

This combination of the ongoing FLS strategic planning within the Justice Sector, the new FLS Regional Committees and the proposed FLS service standards discussed in this report should assist in monitoring the ongoing progress of FLS within the province, including the coordination of FLS, measurable objectives and proper follow up.

Other local groups could also be encouraged to keep up their continuing good work in order to further advance the active offer in Ontario.

We hope that all those individuals and organisations that have been involved in the work of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee will continue to:

In this way, access to justice in French will continue to be enhanced and French speakers will truly have “meaningful and effective access to justice in French in Ontario”.[96]

5.4 Section Highlights

5.1 Access to Justice in French Report and the Response Steering Committee

5.2 Results

5.3 Suggestions for Further Improvement


APPENDICES

  1. FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee Members
  2. Response Steering Committee Terms of Reference
  3. Response Steering Committee Work Group #1 Members (“Judiciary and Education”)
  4. Response Steering Committee Work Group #2 Members (Ministry, Security and Municipal Partners”)
  5. CSD Quarterly Newsletter Articles
  6. July 8, 2014 Directive (CSD Directive 2014/16)
  7. FLS Strategic Plan Advisory Committee Participating Members
  8. Excerpts from the CSD FLS Desktop Icon Materials
  9. OCJ Bilingual Judges/Justices of the Peace (as of April 1, 2015)
  10. SCJ Bilingual Judges (as of April 1, 2015)
  11. FLS Regional Committees, draft Terms of Reference
  12. CSD Response Committee, Terms of Reference
  13. Pilot Project Subcommittee Members

APPENDIX 1

FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES BENCH AND BAR
RESPONSE STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

CO-CHAIRS

MEMBERS

APPENDIX 2

French Language Services Bench & Bar Response Steering Committee

TERMS OF REFERENCE

MANDATE

In guiding the Ministry’s response to the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee’s final report, Access to justice in French, the work of the French Language Services Bench & Bar Response Committee (FLS BBC Response Committee) will include:

SCOPE

The FLS BBC Response Committee will consider matters that are within the scope of:

RULES OF PROCEDURE

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MEMBERS

Members will:

CONFIDENTIALITY

All Committee members will:

SECRETARIAT

MEMBERSHIP

The BBC Report Response Steering Committee will consist of the following participants:

Co-chairs:

Federal:

Judiciary:

Appointments Advisory Committees:

Ministry of the Attorney General:

Court Services Division (CSD)

Corporate Services Management Division (CSMD)

Criminal Law Division (CLD)

Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (VVPD), Victim/Witness Assistance Program

Other Members:

APPENDIX 3

WORK GROUP # 1

“JUDICIARY AND EDUCATION”

FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES BENCH AND BAR RESPONSE STEERING COMMITTEE

CHAIR

MEMBERS


APPENDIX 4

WORK GROUP # 2

“MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, SECURITY AND MUNICIPAL PARTNERS”

FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES BENCH AND BAR RESPONSE STEERING COMMITTEE

CHAIR

MEMBERS

APPENDIX 5

CSD Quarterly Newsletter Articles

French Language Services Article

Rules and provisions regarding bilingual proceedings in Civil, Family and Small Claims matters are different than those for criminal matters.

Test your FLS Knowledge specific to Civil, Family and Small Claims matters.

Are the following True or False?

  1. A party can request a bilingual proceeding anywhere in Ontario.
  2. Requesting a bilingual proceeding means that a party will be provided with a French interpreter.
  3. With the consent of the other parties, a party may file documents in French, but only in designated areas.
  4. At a bilingual proceeding, all of the witnesses will testify in French.
  5. For a bilingual proceeding, the reasons for decision are always written in both languages.
  6. The right to a bilingual proceeding extends to all future hearings.

(answers on page 18)

The CSD Connection – Volume IV, Issue 1

Test your FLS Knowledge – Answers

Bilingual Proceedings in Civil, Family and Small Claims Court matters

  1. A party can request a bilingual proceeding anywhere in Ontario.

    True - A party to a proceeding who speaks French has the right to require that it be conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

  2. Requesting a bilingual proceeding means that a party will be provided with a French interpreter.

    False - During a bilingual proceeding, the judge and court staff are bilingual. Parties may address the court directly in French without the assistance of an interpreter.

  3. With the consent of the other parties, a party may file documents in French, but only in designated areas.

    False - With the consent of the other parties, a party may file documents in French anywhere in Ontario. In areas designated under the Courts of Justice Act, however, a party does not need consent of the other parties to file documents in French.

  4. At a bilingual proceeding, all of the witnesses will testify in French.

    False - Witnesses at a bilingual proceeding testify in the language in which they feel most comfortable and the court provides interpreters as needed.

  5. For a bilingual proceeding, the reasons for decision are always written in both languages.

    False Reasons for decision may be written in English or French or both. If a party to a bilingual proceeding does not understand the language of the written decision, he or she may request that the court provide a written translation.

  6. The right to a bilingual proceeding extends to all future hearings.

    True - The right to a bilingual proceeding extends to all other hearings associated with the proceeding, such as procedural motions, pre-trial hearings, and hearings to assess costs.

For your information, further information on bilingual proceedings can be found in section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act and on the MAG website at: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/justiceinbothlanguages.asp




The CSD Connection – Volume III, Issue III – August 2013

What is an Active Offer of French Language Services?

The Office of Francophone Affairs (OFA) has developed new Guidelines and a Practical Guide for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government. Let’s take this opportunity to talk about the active offer and what it means. The French Language Services Act (FLSA) guarantees the right to receive services in French from provincial government central and head offices and from offices serving 25 designated areas. Services provided by third parties on behalf of government agencies must also be delivered in accordance with the FLSA. The Ministry of the Attorney General is committed to providing these services based on the concept of an “active offer”.

The active offer of service is defined as “the set of measures taken by government agencies to ensure that French language services are clearly visible, readily available, easily accessible and publicized and that the quality of these services is equivalent to that of services offered in English.” Here are some practical examples of what these measures mean:

Clearly visible

Readily Available

Easily accessible and publicized

Of equivalent quality to services offered in English

The objective of the active offer of service is to create an environment where the public is comfortable in dealing with ministry courthouses and offices in French. It is not simply about offering services to Francophones who do not understand English, but rather ensuring that all French-speaking clients are able to maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage by using French in their dealings with all government agencies, in other words, by living their lives in French.

It is very important for all staff in the 25 designated areas to be aware of their responsibilities under the French Language Services Act to actively offer French-speaking clients, on the phone or at a counter, the opportunity to speak to bilingual staff without delay. If you are unsure whether you work in one of the designated areas, you can check with your manager.

The Guidelines and Practical Guide for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government, as well as a practical tool FLS Active Offer at a Glance developed by the Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services (OCFLS), are available under the Tools and Support section of the OCFLS intranet site. If you have any questions about the active offer of service or about French language services in general, please contact Elizabeth Burbidge at 613-239-1550 or Elizabeth.Burbidge@ontario.ca

APPENDIX 6

July 8, 2014 Directive

(CSD Directive 2014/16)

2014/16 – Recording French and Bilingual Proceedings within ICON and FRANK

Title: Criminal POA letterhead - Description: Criminal POA letterhead

CSD Directive 2014/16
July 08, 2014

COURT SERVICES DIVISION DIRECTIVE

PURPOSE: To remind all family, civil, small claims and criminal court staff in all practice areas of their responsibility and the importance of recording French and Bilingual proceedings within ICON and FRANK.


This directive applies to family, civil, small claims, criminal and Provincial Offences Act proceedings.

The ministry has recently entered into a new agreement with the federal government related to the prosecution and administration of charges under the federal Contraventions Act. The agreement includes several new reporting obligations relating to French-language trials for contraventions.

A recent review of ICON and FRANK data has raised concerns that current French and bilingual case data in both case tracking systems is not reliable due to inconsistent data entry. You will recall under the Courts of Justice Act, French speaking parties can exercise their right to a French or bilingual proceeding by filing a first document in French, filing a requisition form or a written statement, or making an oral statement to the court. This right extends to all other hearings associated with the case (motions, pre-trials, conferences, trials, hearings to assess costs, etc.). In all of these circumstances, the case becomes a French or bilingual proceeding.


To ensure that French and bilingual data is consistently identified and captured for family, civil, small claims, criminal and Provincial Offences Act proceedings within ICON and FRANK, court staff are reminded to enter the following details once a party/counsel requests a French or bilingual court proceeding.

To identify a French proceeding in ICON:

To identify a French or bilingual proceeding in FRANK:

For further information and a visual demonstration on the data entry of the above with ICON and FRANK, court staff may refer to the material below:

Ask Sessions:

Ensuring that this information is identified and captured within ICON and FRANK will result in improved data quality, which is critical to Ontario meeting the reporting obligations under the new agreement with the federal government.

Please ensure that appropriate court staff are made aware of the content of this directive. Should you require further assistance or information regarding the content of this directive please contact your Regional Technical Table Representative. For inquiries about French or bilingual proceedings, contact French Language Services at CSD.FLS.

Thank you for your co-operation in this matter.


Kate Andrew
A/ Director,
POA/Criminal Policy and Programs Branch

Anne Marie Predko
Director,
Family Policy and Programs Branch
A/Civil Policy and Programs Branch

APPENDIX 7

Members of the Justice Sector’s French Language Services Strategic Planning Advisory Committee

APPENDIX 8

Excerpts from the CSD FLS Desktop Icon Materials

Court Services Division Intranet

French Language Services Section

Bonjour et bienvenue à toutes et à tous!
Welcome to the new CSD FLS Intranet site

English and French are the official languages of the courts in Ontario and it is the responsibility of the Court Services Division to offer services in French, where required, based on the concept of active offer of service. The links below will provide you with information on legislation and policies regarding French language services, the obligations and responsibilities of all CSD staff, and the concept of active offer. You will also find additional information, tools and resources to enable you to offer enhanced access to justice for the French-speaking community.



Title: Infographic - Description: Navigation summary image showing text: MAIN PAGE - Tools & Resources for Staff & Managers - Training - FLS Volunteers - Translation & Interpretation - Legislation & Policies - Other Links

Excerpts from these intranet materials are provided below:

Tools for bilingual and designated staff

Mini-lexicons for counter and court staff:

CIVIL TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

action

action (f.)

affidavit

affidavit (m.)

appeal /to

interjeter appel de

faire appel de

appeal

appel (m.)

appellant

appelant(e)

application

requête (f.)

bilingual proceeding

instance (f.) bilingue

case conference

conférence (f.) relative à la cause

caselaw

jurisprudence (f.)

counsel

avocat(e)

procureur(e)

costs

dépens (m.pl.)

frais (m.pl.) de justice

counterclaim

demande (f.) reconventionnelle

Courts of Justice Act

Loi (f.) sur les tribunaux judiciaires

crossclaim

demande (f.) entre défendeur(deresse)s

defendant

défendeur(deresse)

docket

rôle (m.)

document

document (m.)

factum

mémoire (m.)

file a document with the court /to

déposer un document au tribunal

filing

dépôt (m.)

lawyer

avocat(e)

procureur(e)

motion

motion (f.)

Motions Court

Cour (f.) des motions

motion record

dossier (m.) de motion

payment into court

consignation (f.) au tribunal

plaintiff

demandeur(deresse)

pleading

acte (m.) de procédure

pre-trial conference

conférence (f.) préparatoire au procès

pre-trial conference report

rapport (m.) de conférence préparatoire

respondent

intimé(e)

Rules of Civil Procedure

Règles (f.pl.) de procédure civile

settlement conference

conférence (f.) en vue d’une transaction

statement of claim

déclaration (f.)

statement of defence

défense (f.)

third party (to a proceeding)

tiers (m.) mis en cause

trial coordinator

coordonnateur(trice) des procès

trial management conference

conférence (f.) de gestion du procès

Trial Office

Bureau des procès

trial record

dossier (m.) d’instruction

trial

procès (m.)

instruction (f.)

CRIMINAL TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

absolute discharge

absolution (f.) inconditionnelle

accused

accusé(e)

prévenu(e)

inculpé(e)

acquit /to

acquitter

amend /to

modifier

arraignment

interpellation (f.)

assessment order

ordonnance (f.) d’évaluation

Assignment Court

audience (f.) de mise au rôle

bail condition

condition (f.) de mise en liberté sous caution

Bail Court

tribunal (m.) de cautionnement

bail hearing

audience (f.) de mise en liberté sous caution

enquête (f.) sur le cautionnement

show cause hearing

audience (f.) de justification

bench warrant

mandat (m.) d'amener

mandat (m.) d'arrestation délivré par le tribunal

birthdate

date (f.) de naissance

clerk’s certificate

certificat (m.) du greffier/de la greffière

committal for trial

renvoi (m.) au procès

citation (f.) à procès

community service order

ordonnance (f.) de service communautaire

concurrent sentence

peine (f.) concurrente

consecutive sentence

peine (f.) consécutive

conditional discharge

absolution (f.) sous conditions

absolution conditionnelle

conditional sentence

emprisonnement (m.) avec sursis

conditional sentence order

ordonnance (f.) de sursis

conviction

condamnation (f.)

déclaration (f.) de culpabilité

counsel pre-trial (CPT)

conférence (f.) préparatoire entre avocats

criminal record

casier (m.) judiciaire

dossier (m.) judiciaire

Crown attorney

procureur(e) de la Couronne

Crown brief

mémoire (m.) de la Couronne

dossier (m.) de la Couronne

custody

détention (f.)

emprisonnement (m.)

defence counsel

avocat(e) de la défense

procureur(e) de la défense

deferred custody supervision order (YCJA)

ordonnance (f.) de placement et de surveillance dont l'application est différée (LSJPA)

DNA

ADN (m.)

driving prohibition

interdiction (f.) de conduire

drug charge

accusation (f.) liée à la drogue

accusation (f.) en matière de drogues

federal prosecutor

poursuivant(e) fédéral(e)

procureur(e) fédéral(e)

finding of guilt

déclaration (f.) de culpabilité

finding of not guilty

déclaration (f.) de non-culpabilité

fine order

ordonnance (f.) de paiement d’amende

forfeiture

confiscation (f.)

saisie (f.)

indictable offence

acte (m.) criminel

indictment

acte (m.) d’accusation

indictment, by

par mise en accusation

information

dénonciation (f.)

intermittent custody

garde (f.) discontinue

jail

prison (f.)

joint submission

observation (f.) conjointe

représentation (f.) conjointe

judicial pre-trial (JPT)

conférence (f.) préparatoire présidée par un juge

conférence préparatoire judiciaire

justice of the peace

juge (m. ou f.) de paix

non-communication order

ordonnance (f.) de non-communication

offence

infraction (f.)

open custody (YCJA)

garde (f.) en milieu ouvert (LSJPA)

parks prohibition

interdiction (f.) de se trouver dans un parc

peace bond

engagement (m.) de ne pas troubler la paix publique

promesse (f.) de ne pas troubler la paix publique

plea

plaidoyer (m.)

défense (f.)

plead guilty

plaider coupable

avouer sa culpabilité

plead not guilty

plaider non coupable

police officer

agent(e) de police

policier(ière)

preliminary hearing/inquiry

enquête (f.) préliminaire

pre-sentence custody

détention (f.) présentencielle

pre-sentence report

rapport (m.) présentenciel (CCC)

rapport prédécisionnel (LSJPA)

probation officer

agent(e) de probation

probation order

ordonnance (f.) de probation

publication ban

ordonnance (f.) de non-publication

interdiction (f.) de publication

recognizance

engagement (m.)

reserve judgment /to

délibérer un jugement

réserver un jugement

remettre le prononcé du jugement

reserved judgment

jugement (m.) en délibéré

restitution order

ordonnance (f.) de dédommagement

secure custody (YCJA)

garde (f.) en milieu fermé (LSJPA)

seize /to

saisir

sentence

peine (f.)

sentence (f.)

sentence order (YCJA)

ordonnance (f.) d’imposition de la peine (LSJPA)

sentencing

prononcé (m.) de la sentence

prononcé (m.) de la peine

Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA)

Loi (f.) sur l'enregistrement de renseignements sur les délinquants sexuels (LERDS)

stay of proceedings

suspension (f.) de l’instance

suspension (f.) des procédures

sursis (m.) d’instance

submission

observation (f.)

argument (m.)

subpoena

assignation (f.) (de témoin)

summary conviction offence

infraction (f.) punissable par procédure sommaire

surety

caution (f.)

suspended sentence

condamnation (f.) avec sursis

time served

temps (m.) déjà purgé

treatment order

ordonnance (f.) de traitement

undertaking

promesse (f.)

victim

victime (f.)

victim fine surcharge

suramende (f.) compensatoire pour les victimes

warrant of committal

mandat (m.) de dépôt

weapons prohibition

interdiction (f.) de posséder une arme

withdraw /to

retirer

witness

témoin (m.)

witness warrant

mandat (m.) pour un témoin

young person

adolescent(e)

youth worker (YCJA)

délégué(e) à la jeunesse (LSJPA)

ENFORCEMENT TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

assignment of judgment

cession (f.) de jugement

bankruptcy

faillite (f.)

direct to enforce a writ /to

ordonner d’exécuter un bref

enjoindre d’exécuter un bref

discharge of lien

mainlevée (f.) de privilège

discharge a lien /to

donner mainlevée du privilège

accorder mainlevée du privilège

distribution statement

état (m.) de distribution

enforcement

exécution (f.)

eviction

expulsion (f.)

execution

exécution (f.)

garnishee /to

effectuer une saisie-arrêt

pratiquer une saisie-arrêt

saisir-arrêter

garnishee

tiers (m.) saisi

garnishment

saisie-arrêt (f.)

garnishor

créancier(ière) saisissant(e)

landlord

locateur(trice)

Landlord and Tenant Board

Commission (f.) de la location immobilière

levy

prélèvement (m.)

levy on /to

prélever

percevoir

notice of enforcement

avis (m.) d’exécution

Notice to terminate

Avis (m.) de résiliation

Notice to vacate

Avis (m.) d’expulsion

receive instructions to enforce a writ /to

recevoir des directives concernant l’exécution d’un bref

recevoir comme directive d’exécuter un bref

Residential Tenancies Act

Loi (f.) sur la location à usage d’habitation

seize /to

saisir

serve a document on sb /to

signifier un document à qn

served with a document/to be

recevoir signification d’un document

service of document

signification (f.) d’un document

subpoena

assignation (f.) (de témoin)

tenancy agreement

convention (f.) de location

tenant

locataire (m. ou f.)

writ of delivery

bref (m.) de délaissement

writ of execution

bref (m.) d’exécution (forcée)

writ of execution against goods

bref (m.) d’exécution forcée visant un objet mobilier

writ of execution against lands

bref (m.) d’exécution forcée visant un bien-fonds

writ of possession

bref (m.) de mise en possession

writ of seizure and sales

bref (m.) de saisie-exécution

writ of sequestration

bref (m.) de mise sous séquestre judiciaire

ESTATE TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

administrator

administrateur(trice)

Application for Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will

Requête (f.) en vue d'obtenir un certificat de nomination à titre de fiduciaire de la succession testamentaire

Application for Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will

Requête (f.) en vue d'obtenir un certificat de nomination à titre de fiduciaire de la succession non testamentaire

beneficiary

bénéficiaire (m. ou f.)

bond

obligation (f.) (bancaire)

cautionnement (m.)

Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will

Certificat (m.) de nomination à titre de fiduciaire de la succession testamentaire

Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will

Certificat (m.) de nomination à titre de fiduciaire de la succession non testamentaire

codicil

codicille (m.)

consent

consentement (m.)

deceased person

personne (f.) décédée

défunt(e)

estate administration tax

impôt (m.) sur l’administration des successions

estate trustee

fiduciaire (m. ou f.) de la succession

executor

exécuteur(trice) (testamentaire)

holograph will

testament (m.) olographe

Notice of Objection

Avis (m.) d’opposition

order dispensing with bond

ordonnance (f.) dispensant du cautionnement

passing of accounts

reddition (f.) des comptes

power of attorney

procuration (f.)

renunciation

renonciation (f.)

testator

testateur(trice)

will

testament (m.)

FAMILY TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

access

droit (m.) de visite

adoption order

ordonnance (f.) d’adoption

advice lawyer

avocat(e)-conseil

affidavit of service

affidavit (m.) de signification

answer

défense (f.)

applicant

requérant(e)

application

requête (f.)

apprehend a child /to

appréhender un enfant

brief

mémoire (m.)

case conference

conférence (f.) relative à la cause

certificate of divorce

certificat (m.) de divorce

Child and Family Services Act

Loi (f.) sur les services à l’enfance et à la famille

child protection application

requête (f.) en protection d’un enfant

child protection matter

affaire (f.) portant sur la protection de l’enfance

child support

pension (f.) alimentaire pour enfants

child support guidelines

lignes (f.pl.) directrices sur les pensions alimentaires pour enfants

children’s aid society

société (f.) d’aide à l’enfance

children’s lawyer

avocat(e) des enfants

clearance certificate

certificat (m.) de mise à jour

commissioner for taking affidavits

commissaire (m. ou f.) aux affidavits

continuing record

dossier (m.) continu

court order

ordonnance (f.) judiciaire

ordonnance du tribunal

cumulative table of contents

table (f.) des matières cumulative

custody

garde (f.)

Divorce Act

Loi (f.) sur le divorce

divorce certificate

certificat (m.) de divorce

divorce order

ordonnance (f.) de divorce

endorsement

inscription (f.)

equalization of net family property

égalisation (f.) des biens familiaux nets

Family Law Act

Loi (f.) sur le droit de la famille

Family Law Information Centre (FLIC)

Centre (m.) d’information sur le droit de la famille (CIDF)

Family Law Rules

Règles (f.pl.) en matière de droit de la famille

Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act

Loi (f.) sur les obligations familiales et l’exécution des arriérés d’aliments

Family Responsibility Office

Bureau (m.) des obligations familiales

financial statement

état (m.) financier

first court date

première date (f.) d’audience

foster family

famille (f.) d’accueil

general application

requête (f.) générale

grant a divorce /to

accorder un divorce

Information and Referral Coordinator

coordonnateur(trice) des services d’information et d’orientation

interim order

ordonnance (f.) provisoire

Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act

Loi (f.) sur les ordonnances alimentaires d’exécution réciproque

joint application

requête (f.) conjointe

joint custody

garde (f.) conjointe

Mandatory Information Program (MIP)

Programme (m.) d’information obligatoire (PIO)

marriage certificate

certificat (m.) de mariage

marriage licence

permis (m.) de mariage

material change

changement (m.) important

mediator

médiateur(trice)

minutes of settlement

procès-verbal (m.) de règlement

motion to change

motion (f.) en modification

net family property

biens (m.pl.) familiaux nets

net family property statement

état (m.) des biens familiaux nets

parenting skills

compétences (f.pl.) parentales

personal service

signification (f.) à personne

provisional order

ordonnance (f.) conditionnelle

reply

réponse (f.)

respondent

intimé(e)

restraining order

ordonnance (f.) de ne pas faire

running list

liste (f.) courante

liste continue

settlement conference

conférence (f.) en vue d'un règlement amiable

shared custody

garde (f.) partagée

simple application

requête (f.) individuelle

special service

signification (f.) spéciale

spousal support

pension (f.) alimentaire pour le conjoint

status review application

requête (f.) en révision du statut

supervised access

droit (m.) de visites surveillées

supervision order

ordonnance (f.) de surveillance

support arrears

arriéré (m.) d’aliments

support deduction order

ordonnance (f.) de retenue des aliments

table of contents

table (f.) des matières

temporary order

ordonnance (f.) temporaire

trial management conference

conférence (f.) de gestion du procès

vary /to (an order, etc.)

modifier

JURY TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

challenge for cause

récusation (f.) motivée

charge to the jury

exposé (m.) (du (de la) juge) au jury

adresse (f.) (du (de la) juge) au jury

directives (f.pl.) (du (de la) juge) au jury

directed verdict

verdict (m.) imposé

discharge the jury /to

libérer le jury

excuse a juror

excuser un(e) juré(e)

hung jury

jury (m.) partagé

jury en désaccord

jurés (m.pl.) incapables de s’entendre sur un verdict

juror

juré(e)

jury

jury (m.)

jury box

banc (m.) des jurés

jury duty

fonction (f.) de juré

jury is deliberating

le jury (m.) délibère

jury panel

tableau (m.) des jurés

jury roll (i.e. provincial list)

liste (f.) des jurés

jury room

salle (f.) des jurés

jury selection

sélection (f.) des jurés

postpone jury duty /to

reporter la fonction de juré

remettre la fonction de juré

request denied

demande (f.) rejetée

request granted

demande (f.) accordée

sequestering a jury

séquestration (f.) du jury

serve on a jury /to

être membre d’un jury

summons to juror

assignation (f.) à siéger comme juré(e)

trier of facts

juge (m. ou f.) des faits

trier of law

juge (m. ou f.) du droit

verdict

verdict (m.)

verdict sheet

feuille (f.) de verdict

SMALL CLAIMS COURT TERMS

FLS Volunteer Committee COMSEF Mini-lexicon

Notes:

  1. For some terms more than one equivalent is provided.
  2. Words in brackets are optional.

ENGLISH

FRENCH

abuse of process

abus (m.) de procédure

recours (m.) abusif

acceptance of offer to settle

acceptation (f.) de l’offre de transaction

adjournment

ajournement (m.)

affidavit of default of payment

affidavit (m.) de défaut de paiement

assessment of damages

évaluation (f.) des dommages-intérêts

cause of action

cause (f.) d’action

certificate of judgment

certificat (m.) de jugement

clerk’s order

ordonnance (f.) du greffier

consolidation order

ordonnance (f.) de consolidation

contempt hearing

audience (f.) pour outrage

court fees

frais (m.pl.) judiciaires

creditor

créancier(ière)

debtor

débiteur(trice)

defence

défense (f.)

default judgment

jugement (m.) par défaut

defendant

défendeur(deresse)

defendant’s claim

demande (f.) du (de la) défendeur(deresse)

deponent

déposant(e)

direction to receive funds

ordre (m.) de recevoir des fonds

deputy judge

juge suppléant(e)

dismiss /to (a claim)

rejeter (une demande)

endorsement record

fiche (f.) d’inscription

enforcement office

bureau (m.) d’exécution

examination hearing

audience (f.) d'interrogatoire

frequent claimant

réclamant(e) habituel(le)

garnishee

tiers (m.) saisi

garnishment

saisie-arrêt (f.)

infrequent claimant

réclamant(e) occasionnel(le)

issue /to (a writ, etc.)

délivrer (un bref, etc.)

judgment

jugement (m.)

liquidated claim

demande (f.) liquidée

motion

motion (f.)

notice of approaching dismissal

avis (m.) de rejet imminent

noting a defendant in default

constater un(e) défendeur(eresse) en défaut

order dismissing claim as abandoned

ordonnance (f.) rejetant une action pour cause de désistement

order of the court

ordonnance (f.) judiciaire

Parental Responsibility Act

Loi (f.) sur la responsabilité parentale

pay into court /to

consigner au tribunal

payment

paiement (m.)

plaintiff

demandeur(deresse)

plaintiff’s claim

demande (f.) du (de la) demandeur(deresse)

renewal of garnishment

renouvellement (m.) de saisie-arrêt

rescind /to

annuler

set an action down for trial /to

inscrire une action au rôle

settlement conference

conférence (f.) en vue d’une transaction

stay /to (a claim)

suspendre (une demande)

termination of garnishment

mainlevée (f.) de saisie-arrêt

terms of payment hearing

audience (f.) relative aux modalités de paiement

trial

procès (m.)

instruction (f.)

unliquidated claim

demande (f.) non liquidée

warrant for arrest (contempt)

mandat (m.) d’arrêt (outrage)

writ of delivery

bref (m.) de délaissement

writ of seizure and sale of land

bref (m.) de saisie-exécution de biens-fonds

writ of seizure and sale of personal property

bref (m.) de saisie-exécution de biens meubles

Young Offenders Act

Loi (f.) sur les jeunes contrevenants

Youth Criminal Justice Act

Loi (f.) sur le système de justice pour les adolescents

Temporary Bilingual Signage

English

French

Authorized Personnel Only

Réservé au personnel autorisé

Back in 5 Minutes

De retour dans 5 minutes

Cases Moved to Courtroom No._

Les causes sont transférées dans la salle d’audience no _

Cashier Closed

Cette caisse est fermée

Cellphones interfere with recording equipment

Les téléphones cellulaires peuvent causer de l’interférence avec le matériel d’enregistrement

Child Friendly Courtroom

Salle d’audience adaptée aux enfants

Cleaners - Please Do Not Enter

Aux nettoyeurs – défense d’entrer

Closed for Repair

Fermé pour réparation

Counter Closed

Ce guichet est fermé

Courtroom Closed

Cette salle d’audience est fermée

Do Not Enter

Défense d’entrer

Elevator Out of Service

Ascenseur hors service

Harassment will not be tolerated

Le harcèlement ne sera pas toléré

Mail Drop

Boîte aux lettres

Out of Service

Hors service

Photocopier Out of Service

Photocopieuse hors service

Please Attend Counter No._

Veuillez vous présenter au guichet no_

Please Attend Courtroom No._

Veuillez vous présenter à la salle d’audience no_

Please Do Not Remove

Veuillez ne pas enlever

Please note that counterfeit scanning devices are in use in this office

Veuillez noter que ce bureau utilise des Dispositifs de détection de billet contrefait

Please Take a Number

Veuillez prendre un numéro

Please take a number and be seated

Veuillez prendre un numéro et vous asseoir

Please turn off your cellphone

Veuillez éteindre votre téléphone cellulaire

Temporarily Out of Service

Temporairement hors service

Watch the Step

Attention à la marche

Watch Your Step

Prenez garde de ne pas trébucher

What Written Translations does CSD Provide?

Written Translations in English and French Provided by the Court for Parties and/or Counsel for:

Civil Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) Matters

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

Civil SCJ

Document filed by party

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

Reasons for decision (provided in writing)

Yes*

For bilingual proceedings, on request of a party or counsel who speaks English or French but not both (languages)

(s. 126(2), rule 9, CJA)

*Note: Translation of reasons for decision is provided ONLY when the matter is being conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a bilingual proceeding is set out in s. 126(2), rules 3 and 5, CJA, and in s. 11 O. Reg. 53/01.

For civil SCJ matters, written translations are provided by the court under section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: Translation of other documents not otherwise indicated may be provided if ordered by a judicial official.

For additional information or clarification, please contact: CSD.FLS

Written Translations in English and French Provided by the Court for Accused and Parties for:

French and Bilingual Criminal and YCJA Matters

(Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) and Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ))

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

Criminal

(SCJ and OCJ)

Process giving rise to criminal proceeding

(Examples: Information, Indictment)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(5) and (6) CJA)

On request of the accused

(s. 530.01(1) CC)

Process issued in criminal proceeding

(Examples: Recognizance of Bail, Probation Order, Conditional Sentence Order)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(5) and (6) CJA)

Trial judgments issued in writing (including reasons for judgment)

Yes for the accused

Into the official language of the accused if it was not issued in that language (s. 530.1(h) CC)

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a criminal proceeding in which an order was made under Section 530 of the Criminal Code is set out in s. 530.1(g) CC.

Written translations are provided for criminal matters pursuant to sections 530.01 and 530.1 of the Criminal Code (CC), when an order is made under section 530, “directing that the accused be tried before a justice of the peace, provincial court judge, judge or judge and jury, as the case may be, who speak the official language of Canada that is the language of the accused or, if the circumstances warrant, who speak both official languages of Canada”. Translation is also provided by the court pursuant to section 126(5) and (6) of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: These provisions apply to both adult and youth offenders.

For additional information or clarification, please contact: CSD.FLS

Written Translations in English and French Provided by the Court for Parties and/or Counsel for Matters in the:

Family Court of the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ)

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

Family Court of the OCJ

Process issued in or giving rise to proceeding

(Examples: Application, Answer, Reply)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(5) and (6), CJA)

Document filed by party before hearing

(Examples: Affidavit, Financial Statement)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(4) and (6), CJA)

Reasons for decision (provided in writing)

Yes*

For bilingual proceedings, on request of a party or counsel who speaks English or French but not both (languages)

(s. 126(2), rule 9, CJA)

*Note: Translation of reasons for decision is provided ONLY when the matter is being conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a bilingual proceeding is set out in s. 126(2), rules 3 and 5, CJA, and in s. 11 O. Reg. 53/01.

Written translations are provided by the court for matters in the Family Court of the OCJ under section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: Translation of other documents not otherwise indicated may be provided if ordered by a judicial official.

For additional information or clarification, please contact: CS

Written Translations in English and French Provided by the Court for Parties and/or Counsel for Matters in the:

Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ)

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

Family Court of the SCJ*

*Note: formerly the Unified Family Court

Process issued in or giving rise to proceeding

(Examples: Application, Answer, Reply)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(5) and (6), CJA)

Document filed by party before hearing

(Examples: Affidavit, Financial Statement)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(4) and (6), CJA)

Reasons for decision (provided in writing)

Yes*

For bilingual proceedings, on request of a party or counsel who speaks English or French but not both (languages)

(s. 126(2), rule 9, CJA)

*Note: Translation of reasons for decision is provided ONLY when the matter is being conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a bilingual proceeding is set out in s. 126(2), rules 3 and 5, CJA, and in s. 11 O. Reg. 53/01.

Written translations are provided by the court for matters in the Family Court branch of the SCJ under section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: Translation of other documents not otherwise indicated may be provided if ordered by a judicial official.

For additional information or clarification, please contact: CSD.FLS

Written Translations in English and French Provided by the Court for Parties and/or Counsel for:

Family Proceedings in the SCJ where there is no Family Court of the SCJ

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

Family proceedings in the SCJ where there is no Family Court of the SCJ

Document filed by party

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

Reasons for decision (provided in writing)

Yes*

For bilingual proceedings, on request of a party or counsel who speaks English or French but not both (languages)

(s. 126(2), rule 9, CJA)

*Note: Translation of reasons for decision is provided ONLY when the matter is being conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a bilingual proceeding is set out in s. 126(2), rules 3 and 5, CJA, and in s. 11 O. Reg. 53/01.

For family proceedings in the SCJ where there is no Family Court branch of the SCJ, written translations are provided by the court under section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: Translation of other documents not otherwise indicated may be provided if ordered by a judicial official.

For additional information or clarification, please contact: CS

Written Translations in English and French Provided for:

Provincial Offences Act (POA) Matters Heard in the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ)

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

OCJ

Process issued in or giving rise to proceeding

(Examples: Certificate of Offence under Parts I and II POA, Information under Part III POA, Part III Summons, Probation Order, Fine Order)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(5) and (6) CJA)

Document filed by party before hearing

(Examples: Notice of Intention to Appear,

Notice of Motion, General Form for Affidavit)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(4) and (6) CJA)

Reasons for decision (provided in writing)

Yes*

For bilingual proceedings, on request of a party or counsel who speaks English or French but not both (languages)

(s. 126(2), rule 9, CJA)

*Note: Translation of reasons for decision is provided ONLY when the matter is being conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a bilingual proceeding is set out in s. 126(2), rules 3 and 5, CJA, and in s. 11 O. Reg. 53/01.

Written translations are provided by the court for POA matters heard in the OCJ under section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: Translation of other documents not otherwise indicated may be provided if ordered by a judicial official.

For additional information or clarification, please

Written Translations Provided by the Court in English and French for Parties and/or Counsel for:

Small Claims Court Matters

Court

Document Type and Examples

Is Translation Provided by the Court?

Small Claims Court

Document filed by party before hearing

(Examples: Plaintiff’s Claim, Defence)

Yes

On request of a party

(s. 126(4) and (6), CJA)

Reasons for decision (provided in writing)

Yes*

For a bilingual proceeding, on request of a party or counsel who speaks English or French but not both (languages)

(s. 126(2), rule 9, CJA)

*Note: Translation of reasons for decision is provided ONLY when the matter is being conducted as a bilingual proceeding.

Transcripts

No (unless ordered by a judicial official)

The language of the record of proceedings for a bilingual proceeding is set out in s. 126(2), rules 3 and 5, CJA, and in s. 11 O. Reg. 53/01.

For Small Claims Court matters, written translations are provided by the court under section 126 of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA).

Note: Translation of other documents not otherwise indicated may be provided if ordered by a judicial official.

For additional information or clarification, please contact: CSD.FLS



TELEPHONE GREETINGS

ACCUEILS TÉLÉPHONIQUES

SAMPLES OF LIVE TELEPHONE GREETINGS

EXEMPLES D’ACCUEILS TÉLÉPHONIQUES

Good Morning you have reached (state your name, court location etc.), how may I help you?

Bonjour, ici (donnez votre nom, emplacement du tribunal, etc.), puis-je vous aider?

Bonjour, Court Services Division, how may I direct your call.

Bonjour, Division des services aux tribunaux, où puis-je réacheminer votre appel?

Good Afternoon, this is (state your name), how may I assist you?

Bonjour, ici (donnez votre nom), est-ce que je peux vous aider?

(State court location), good afternoon, what can I help you with today?

(Donnez l’emplacement du tribunal), bonjour, puis-je vous aider?

DAILY GREETINGS

ACCUEILS QUOTIDIENS

You have reached (name){optional: “on (date) / for the week of (first day of the week)”}. I’m in the office today, but either on the phone or away from my desk. Please leave your name, telephone number, and the details of how I can help you after the tone, and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. If you need immediate assistance, press ‘0’ or dial (phone number) and a staff person (may provide staff member’s name) will assist you. Thank you.

Ici (nom){facultatif : «nous sommes le (date) / la semaine du (premier jour de la semaine)»}. Je suis au bureau aujourd’hui, mais soit au téléphone ou absent(e) de mon bureau. Veuillez laisser votre nom et votre numéro de téléphone, et indiquer ce que je peux faire pour vous après la tonalité, et je vous rappellerai dès que possible. Si vous avez besoin d’aide immédiatement, appuyez sur le ‘0’ ou composez le (numéro de téléphone) et un membre du personnel (vous pouvez donner le nom de cette personne) vous aidera. Merci.

I will be attending meetings today (give date) with limited time to check for messages. Please leave your name, telephone number, and details of how I can help you after the tone, and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. If you need immediate assistance, press ‘0’ or dial (phone number) and a staff person (may provide staff member’s name) will assist you. Thank you.

J’assisterai à des réunions aujourd’hui (précisez la date) et j’aurai l’occasion de vérifier mes messages seulement de temps à autre. Veuillez laisser votre nom et votre numéro de téléphone, et indiquer ce que je peux faire pour vous après la tonalité, et je vous rappellerai dès que possible. Si vous avez besoin d’aide immédiatement, appuyez sur le ‘0’ ou composez le (numéro de téléphone) et un membre du personnel (vous pouvez donner le nom de cette personne) vous aidera. Merci.

EXTENDED ABSENCE GREETING

ACCUEIL EN CAS D’ABSENCE PROLONGÉE

This is (your name), at (your unit/branch/division). I will be (on vacation/away from the office) until (date). For immediate assistance, please press zero or call (name) at (phone number). Alternatively, you may leave a message and I’ll return your call when I am back in the office on (date).

Bonjour. Vous avez joint (nom) au (unité/direction/division). Je suis (en congé/absent(e) du bureau) jusqu’au (date). Pour une aide immédiate, appuyer sur le 0 ou encore, communiquer avec (nom) à (adresse électronique) ou au (numéro de téléphone). Si vous désirez me laisser un message, je vous rappellerai à mon retour.

EMAIL

COURRIER ÉLECTRONIQUE

OUT-OF-OFFICE MESSAGE

MESSAGE D’ABSENCE DE BUREAU

I will be (on vacation/away from the office) until (date). For immediate assistance, please contact (name) at (email address) or call (phone number). I will respond to your email when I return to the office on (date).

Je serai (en vacances/absent(e) du bureau) jusqu’au (date). Si vous avez besoin d’aide immédiatement, veuillez communiquer avec (nom) à (adresse électronique) ou au (numéro de téléphone). Je répondrai à votre courriel à mon retour au bureau le (date).

I will be out of the office on/until (date) and will not have access (will have limited access) to email. For immediate assistance, please contact (name) by email at (email address) or at (phone number). Otherwise, I will respond to your email when I return to the office.

Je serai absent(e) du bureau le/jusqu’au (date) et je n’aurai pas accès (j’aurai un accès limité) à mes courriels. Pour une aide immédiate, veuillez communiquer avec (nom) par courriel à (adresse électronique) ou au (numéro de téléphone). Sinon, je répondrai à votre courriel à mon retour au bureau.

I am currently on leave for an indefinite period.

For immediate assistance, please contact (name) at (phone number) or by email at (email address).

Je suis actuellement en congé pour une durée indéterminée.

Pour une aide immédiate, veuillez communiquer avec (nom) au (numéro de téléphone) ou par courriel à (adresse électronique).

APPENDIX 9

OCJ Bilingual Judges/Justice of the Peace

(as of April 1, 2015)


BILINGUAL JUDICIAL STATISTICS

ONTARIO COURT OF JUSTICE

JUDGES

Date

Bilingual OCJ judges

April 1, 2011

(as per first report)

30

April 1, 2015

(current statistics)

33

Percentage Increase

10%

JUSTICES OF THE PEACE

Date

Bilingual Justices of the Peace

April 1, 2011

(as per first report)

32

April 1, 2015

(current statistics)

38

Percentage Increase

19%

APPENDIX 10

SCJ Bilingual Judges

(as of April 1, 2015)

BILINGUAL JUDICIAL STATISTICS

SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE – FEDERAL JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

SCJ JUDGES

Date

Bilingual SCJ judges

April 1, 2011

(as per first report)

50

April 1, 2015

(current statistics)

56

Percentage Increase

12%

APPENDIX 11

Access to Justice in French

French Language Services Regional Committees

Draft Terms of Reference

Mandate

The French Language Services (FLS) Regional Committees will provide a forum in which to promote a regional discussion between judicial and ministry representatives (member Courts and Divisions) in order to improve the availability and delivery of FLS in the Ontario courts.

Each FLS Regional Committee will:

Meetings

Each FLS Regional Committee will meet twice a year, and as required.

Meetings may be held in person or by teleconference or video conference as determined by each Committee’s co-chairs.

Structure

Each FLS Regional Committee will include representation from each of the member Courts and Divisions in the membership list below and have one judicial and one ministry co-chair. Each member Court and Division will also choose from its regional FLS representatives a Provincial FLS Lead. The roles and responsibilities of the co-chairs, members and leads are set out below.

Membership

Each FLS Regional Committee will consist of representatives from the following member Courts and Divisions:

Member Courts (judicial representatives):

Member Divisions (ministry representatives):

Role and Responsibilities of FLS Regional Committee Co-chairs

FLS Regional Committee co-chairs will:

Roles and Responsibilities of FLS Regional Committee Members

FLS Regional Committee Members will:

Roles and Responsibilities of Member Courts and Divisions and Provincial FLS Leads

In order to ensure sharing of information and best practices, each member Court and Division will identify a Provincial FLS Lead whose responsibility it will be to:

Role and Responsibilities of CSD FLS coordinator

The CSD FLS coordinator will:

Other Meetings

Other meetings of all Co-chairs and/or all provincial FLS Leads of member Courts and Divisions will be held on an as-needed basis.

The table at Appendix A sets out the FLS representatives. [Provincial Leads for each Court and Division, and the Co-chairs for each FLS Regional Committee will be added after the inaugural meeting of each FLS Regional Committee.]

Regions

The various courts and divisions have different regions for their normal operations, specifically:

The table at Appendix B shows all base court locations and the respective regions for the member divisions/courts.

Proposed Regional Committees:

APPENDIX 12

Access to Justice in French CSD Response Committee

Terms of Reference

March 2013

Mandate

The Access to Justice in French CSD Response Committee will identify possible solutions for each of the recommendations in the report of the Bench and Bar Advisory Committee, Access to Justice in French that relate to Court Services Division and set achievable short, medium and long-term goals.

The responsibilities of the Committee include:

Meetings

Roles and Responsibilities of Committee Members

  • Attend all meetings and actively participate in the Committee’s work;
  • Appoint a back-up if unable to attend a meeting, to attend on their behalf;
  • Represent their region or sector’s interests and responsibilities at the Committee;
  • Obtain and provide feedback and input from the rest of their region or sector on all matters;
  • Provide/discuss agenda with Director or Executive Legal Officer prior to scheduled meetings and report back following meeting;
  • Provide regular updates to regional management committee; and
  • Conduct Committee business within the context of common goals or purposes.
  • Recommendations for CSD

    The Bench and Bar Advisory Committee, in its report, Access to Justice in French, recommended that the Court Services Division:

    1. Consider using technology to provide access to assistance from qualified French speaking staff when court users seek to file court documents in French, by right or by agreement, in areas that are not designated under the FLSA.
    2. Develop a strategy to assist court users in navigating Ontario’s bilingual justice system from the first point of contact and at every point thereafter in the chain of a proceeding.
    3. Voluntarily adopt a policy of providing French (or bilingual) bail hearings to everyone that has a right to a French (or bilingual) trial pursuant to s. 530 of the Criminal Code.
    4. Take steps to increase the awareness of the right to French and bilingual proceedings through court notices, templates, documents and signage.
    5. Consider ways of making French language services readily available in areas that are not designated under the FLSA. For example, those seeking to file French documents in areas that are not designated might be assisted by a toll-free telephone number.
    6. Develop procedures in each region to ensure that there is timely and seamless provision of services in French.
    7. Direct the CSD to designate a French language services coordinator.
    8. Consider designating a person in each region to coordinate French language services regionally.
    9. Promote a regional exchange of ideas and strategies for improving the availability and delivery of French language services.
    10. Take steps to respond to the challenges of training bilingual staff by ensuring that all staff is aware of the right to French language services, and MAG’s commitment to promote the availability and use of such services.
    11. Ensure that the design and implementation of CIMS allows for tracking of French language proceedings and the use of French language services in the justice system.
    12. Continue its collaborative work through the CSD with municipal partners and French language service’s stakeholder groups to improve the delivery of French language services in all areas, including POA Courts, by sharing tools and resources.
    13. Take into account the recommendations of the Law Commission of Ontario in developing an updated POA by considering proactive procedures to ensure that French speakers are informed at the earliest possible opportunity of their right to services in French and bilingual proceedings in POA Courts; and Implement procedures to ensure that French language services are easily accessed, without delay or additional cost.
    14. Propose working with municipal partners to develop seamless out-of-court services in French for the payment of parking infraction notices.
    15. Continue to support the POA Table French Language Services Subcommittee to identify best practices and facilitate their widespread adoption by relevant offices, agencies and municipalities.

    APPENDIX 13

    PILOT PROJECT SUBCOMMITTEE

    FRENCH LANGUAGE SERVICES BENCH AND BAR
    RESPONSE STEERING COMMITTEE

    CO-CHAIRS

    MEMBERS



    [1] Access to Justice in French report, French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General, 2012, at p. 14.

    [2] Criminal Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46; Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43; French Language Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32.

    [3] One Voice, Many Changes Annual Report, Office of the FLS Commissioner, 2008-2009, at p. 37.

    [4] Access to Justice in French, at p. 7.

    [5] Ibid.

    [6] Access to Justice in French, at p. 14.

    [7] Access to Justice in French, at pp.7-8.

    [9] “Making it easier to access justice in French”, Ministry of the Attorney General News Release, November 20, 2012. http://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2012/11/making-it-easier-to-access-justice-in-french.html.

    [10] Paul Langlois, a Director of Court Operations with the Court Services Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General had been the Ministry co-chair until his appointment to the justice of the peace bench.

    [11] This Steering Committee formed two work groups: the “Judiciary and Education” group and the “Ministry of the Attorney General, Security and Municipal Partners” group. Each group has addressed the recommendations regarding their respective sectors. [SEE APPENDICES 3 and 4 for the complete lists of members of both work groups.]

    [12] The October 3, 2014 News Bulletin titled, “Strengthening Access to Justice in French”, may be found at http://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2014/10/strengthening-access-to-justice-in-french.html.

    [13] Access to Justice in French, at p. 14.

    [15] The proposed draft service standards are in keeping with the first report, which urged the government to communicate broadly with and actively involve the French-speaking community in both the development and the implementation of FLS in Ontario.

    [16] Guidelines for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government, Office of Francophone Affairs, October 15, 2012, at p. 3.

    [17] Ibid., at p. 4.

    [18] O. Reg. 284/11, which relates to FLS by third party service providers, introduces the concept of active offer to the regulatory framework.

    [19] In his 2012/13 Annual Report, A New Approach, FLS Commissioner Boileau recommended that Management Board adopt a directive regarding the active offer of FLS that would apply to all ministries, government agencies and entities that provide FLS on behalf of government.

    [20] The study identified those mechanisms of offer best adapted to respond to the needs of Francophones; it also ascertained that the Justice Sector strategies to improve the offer of services in French were appropriate.

    [21] Guidelines for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government, at p. 5.

    [22] Ibid., at. pp. 4-5.

    [23] The Canada-Ontario Agreement on French language services provides a multi-year collaboration framework between Canada and Ontario to support the planning and delivery of French language provincial services aimed at contributing to the development and enhancing the vitality of the Francophone community of Ontario.

    [25] Access to Justice in French, at p. 25.

    [27] French Language Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F.32, s. 5(1).

    [29] As a general rule, proceedings in Ontario courts are conducted in English and documents are to be filed in English (or accompanied by a certified translation of the document into English) unless an exception applies.

    [32] This recommendation aligns with the Response Steering Committee’s work: a subgroup was formed to address issues with respect to informing accused of their language rights. (See section 3.IV that follows for additional information.)

    [33] This recommendation was intended to ensure that the French version of this subsection of the Criminal Code accurately reflected the English version, which reads, “(3) The justice of the peace or provincial court judge before whom an accused first appears shall ensure that they are advised of their right to apply for an order under subsection (1) or (2) and of the time before which such an application must be made.”

    [34] The Standing Committee also recommended that the Department of Justice continue working with the major players who had been engaged in the Statutory Review and that a parliamentary committee follow up in five years with a further review of Part XVII of the Criminal Code and its administration.

    [35] Access to Justice in French report, at p. 30.

    [36] Ibid., at p. 32.

    [38] Modernizing the Provincial Offences Act: A New Framework and Other Reforms, Law Commission of Ontario, August 2011.

    [39] There was a three-year period to implement the regulation, during which time all existing agreements had to be reviewed to include contract provisions relating to the delivery of services in French.

    [40] The first report concluded, at p. 7, that there was an absence of reliable statistics with respect to FLS in the justice system. It had been anticipated that the Ministry’s “Case Information Management System” (CIMS) would track bilingual proceedings; however, the CIMS project did not proceed.

    [41] FRANK and ICON are the electronic databases that capture information about proceedings in the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, respectively.

    [42] The two Justice Sector ministries are the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

    [43] There have been two FLS Strategic Plan Phases, each lasting five years. As of 2016, the process will become a permanent one.

    [44] As previously discussed in section 2, the Ministry has also drafted and is looking to finalise FLS service standards in specific response to the recommendations in the first report.

    [48] Access to Justice in French, at p. 20.

    [49] The National Judicial Institute is responsible for the overall coordination and provision of education for all judges in Canada.

    [50] JURISOURCE can be found at www.JURISOURCE.ca.

    [51] The Law Society of Upper Canada is the regulatory body for all of Ontario’s lawyers and paralegals. Ensuring that new clients are advised of relevant language rights forms part of the strategic planning process and has been a priority.

    [54] The AJEFO, known in English as the Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario, is a legal association that promotes access to justice in both official languages of the courts in Ontario and places a particular emphasis on assisting Ontario’s French-speaking population.

    [55] These law faculties include:

    • the University of Copenhagen;
    • l’Université Aix-Marseille;
    • the University of Luxembourg;
    • the University of Amsterdam; and,
    • l’Université de Montréal.

    [56] The universities include l’Université Jean Moulin - Lyon 3 and l’Université Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas. Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law also has an exchange program with l’Université Jean Moulin.

    [57] Represented groups in the coalition of Francophone stakeholders include the AJEFO, the Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO), the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne (FESFO), the Fédération des aînés et des retraités francophones de l’Ontario (FAFO), and the Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes (AOcVF).

    [58] A Voice for the Voiceless, Office of the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, 2015, at p. 27.

    [59] There are three existing Justice Sector clusters:

    • Environment and Land Tribunals Ontario (Assessment Review Board, Environmental Review Tribunal, Conservation Review Board, Ontario Municipal Board, and Board of Negotiation);
    • Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (Landlord and Tenant Board, Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Social Benefits Tribunal, Custody Review Board, Child and Family Services Review Board, and Criminal Injuries Compensation Board); and,
    • Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (Animal Care Review Board, Fire Safety Commission, Licence Appeal Tribunal, Ontario Civilian Police Commission and Ontario Parole Board).

    [60] The education sub-committee representatives include members from the Justice Sector’s adjudicative tribunals clusters, the Centre canadien de français juridique, the Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française, the ATRD FLS rep and the OCFLS.

    [61] The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee is responsible for:

    • representing and protecting the property and personal interests of mentally incapable adults (who have no one else to help them);
    • investigating allegations of abuse of mentally incapable adults;
    • protecting the public's interest in charities;
    • searching for heirs;
    • investing perpetual care funds; and,
    • dealing with dissolved corporations.

    [62] The two other main VVPD programs also have access to Antidote for their bilingual staff.

    [63] The POA Table FLS Subcommittee was established in 2007 and is composed of members from AJEFO and AFMO, along with POA court and Ministry staff.

    [64] Access to Justice in French, at p. 41.

    [65] In this section, court locations and Justice Sector offices – such as probation and parole offices – that provide services in French are easily identified by the Franco-Ontarian flag.

    [67] At the time of arrest, police officers inform the accused of their right to counsel and provide the telephone number for LAO. Some police services use LAO’s Brydges Hotline to provide accused with the opportunity to speak with a French-speaking lawyer.

    [68] Access to Justice in French, at p. 35.

    [69] Canada, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Final Investigation Report on the Institutional Bilingual Capacity of the Judiciary for the Superior Courts in Nova Scotia and Ontario, 2011.

    [71] Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Access to Justice in Both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary at http://www.officiallanguages.gc.ca/en/pages/access-to-justice-in-both-official-languages-improving-the-bilingual-capacity-of-the-superior, at p. 2.

    [72] Both the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee and the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee have public-facing websites with information in English and French.

    [73] Access to Justice in French, at p. 46.

    [74] Access to Justice in French, at p. 38.

    [75] Access to Justice in French, at p. 52.

    [76] Access to Justice in French, at pp. 29, 39, 43, 50 and 52.

    [77] See section 4 that follows for detailed information about this pilot project.

    [78] Though the Ontario Courts website is bilingual, the “Daily Court Lists Online” contain information in the original language.

    [79] A CSD FLS Administrative Coordinator was appointed in April 2013 to support the work of the Response Steering Committee. Later that year, a dedicated French translator/interpreter was also brought in to support the work of the Response Steering Committee.

    [80] Access to Justice in French, at p. 50.

    [81] Throughout 2013, CLD supported the OCFLS in the application process for funding from the “Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund”.

    [82] The OPP is represented on the Response Steering Committee.

    [83] Access to Justice in French, at p. 29.

    [84] The subgroup also considered the report of a Northeast regional committee that had been struck to make recommendations regarding a uniform notification process for that region regarding section 530 of the Criminal Code.

    [85] Access to Justice in French, at p. 47.

    [86] LAO established this toll-free line in response to the 1990 Supreme Court of Canada ruling R. v. Brydges, which stated that the police have a duty, in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to advise anyone arrested or detained of the availability of duty counsel and legal aid services.

    [87] LAO advises that, between 2008 and 2012, an average of 66,053 people called the Brydges Hotline each year.

    [88] These clinics are in:

    • Eastern Ontario - Vanier Community Service Centre;
    • Northern Ontario, and parts of central Ontario - Sudbury Community Legal Clinic;
    • Greater Toronto Area (GTA) - Centre Francophone de Toronto; and,
    • Southwestern Ontario – Windsor-Essex Bilingual Legal Clinic.

    [89] Access to Justice in French, at p. 46.

    [90] The October 6, 2014 Press Release, Law Society and FLS Commissioner sign FLS protocol, may be found at https://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147499599.

    [91] This Centre is based on the Quebec Centre de justice en proximité model established many years ago.

    [92] The May 29, 2015 News Release, Ontario launches Pilot Project to strengthen access to justice in French, may be found at http://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2015/05/ontario-launches-pilot-to-strengthen-access-to-justice-in-french.html.

    [93] The Pilot Project will allow the Ministry to identify where improvements can be made to the delivery of FLS in the areas of criminal, family, civil, small claims and estates. It may also identify specific challenges to the Chief Justices.

    [94] The Ottawa courthouse will also be testing a colour-coding system for SCJ files to allow these files to be particularly visible to staff. This colour coding system may serve to identify French language cases earlier and allow those cases to get promptly into the hands of the appropriate French-speaking staff and then before a bilingual judicial official.

    [95] The Ottawa judiciary have also experienced delays when ordering translations.

    [96] Access to Justice in French, at p. 9.

    [97] Previous Ministry co-chair, now Justice of the Peace Paul Langlois, former Director of Court Operations, Court Services Division

    [98] Co-chair of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario

    [99] Previous members from Court Services Division: Marc Boissonneault, Louise Hamel, Alison Hedden, Robert Lecour

    [100] Previous member from the Office of Francophone Affairs: Daniel Cayen, former Assistant Deputy Minister

    [101] Mirjeta Dhamo also participated for the Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services for the Justice Sector

    [102] Previous member from the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee: Seth Rudin, Chair

    [103] Previous member from the Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division: Carole Joly

    [104] Co-chair of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario

    [105] Former member from Criminal Lawyers Association: now Justice Patrice Band

    [106] Former member for the Ontario Bar Association: Pascale Daigneault

    [107] Co-chair of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario

    [108] Previous Ministry co-chair, now Justice of the Peace Paul Langlois, former Director of Court Operations, Court Services Division

    [109] Previous member from Court Services Division: Marc Boissonneault

    [110] Mirjeta Dhamo also participated for the Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services for the Justice Sector

    [111] Previous member from the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee: Seth Rudin, Chair

    [112] Danielle Manton, former Managing Director for the Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario also participated

    [113] Co-chair of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario

    [114] Former member from Criminal Lawyers Association: now Justice Patrice Band

    [115] Former member for the Ontario Bar Association: Pascale Daigneault

    [116] Previous Ministry co-chair, now Justice of the Peace Paul Langlois, former Director of Court Operations, Court Services Division

    [117] Co-chair of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario

    [118] Previous members from Court Services Division: Marc Boissonneault, Alison Hedden, Louise Hamel, Robert Lecour

    [119] Previous member from the Office of Francophone Affairs: Daniel Cayen, former Assistant Deputy Minister

    [120] Mirjeta Dhamo also participated for the Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services for the Justice Sector

    [121] Previous member from the Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division: Carole Joly

    [122] Co-chair of the French Language Services Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to the Attorney General of Ontario

    [123] Previous member from Court Services Division: Marc Boissonneault

    [124] Former Managing Director, Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario