Ministry of the Attorney General Français

Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project

Final Report
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Table of contents

  1. Executive Summary
    1. Acronyms and Abbreviations
  2. 1. Introduction
    1. 1.1 Background
    2. 1.2 Scope and Objectives of the Pilot Project
  3. 2. Legislative and Regulatory Framework for French Language Rights in Ontario
    1. 2.1 French Language Services
    2. 2.2 French Language Rights Specific to Court Proceedings
    3. 2.3 French Language Rights in Criminal Proceedings
    4. 2.4 French Language Rights in Civil, Family and Provincial Offences Act Proceedings
      1. 2.4.1 Requesting a bilingual proceeding
      2. 2.4.2 Timelines
      3. 2.4.3 Filing documents in French
      4. 2.4.4 Translation
      5. 2.4.5 Conclusion
    5. 2.5 Language Rights Applicable to the Pilot Project in Ottawa
  4. 3. The Active Offer of French Language Services
    1. 3.1 What is the Active Offer of Service?
    2. 3.2 New Active Offer Initiatives
      1. 3.2.1 Training, tools and resources
      2. 3.2.2 New technologies
      3. 3.2.3 Old technologies
      4. 3.2.4 Bilingual greetings
      5. 3.2.5 Public announcements
      6. 3.2.6 Visual aids
      7. 3.2.7 FLS in staffing and performance management
    3. 3.3 Third Party Service Providers
    4. 3.4 Challenges and Misconceptions of the Active Offer
      1. 3.4.1 False expectations
      2. 3.4.2 Staff engagement
    5. 3.5 Best Practices and Recommendations
  5. 4. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights
    1. 4.1 Why Communication of French Language rights was included in Pilot Project
    2. 4.2 Complexity of Language Rights and Common Misconceptions
    3. 4.3 Communicating Language Rights in Criminal Matters
      1. 4.3.1 Release forms
      2. 4.3.2 Posters
      3. 4.3.3 List of bilingual lawyers
      4. 4.3.4 Information screens
      5. 4.3.5 Information packages
      6. 4.3.6 Staff awareness
      7. 4.3.7 Other awareness initiatives relating to criminal proceedings
    4. 4.4 Communicating Language Rights in Civil Matters
      1. 4.4.1 Information screens
      2. 4.4.2 Language rights tip sheets
      3. 4.4.3 Family Law Mandatory Information Program
    5. 4.5 Challenges
    6. 4.6 Best Practices and Recommendations
  6. 5. Bails, Pleas and First Appearance Court
    1. 5.1 Introduction
    2. 5.2 French Bail Hearings
    3. 5.3 Guilty Plea Court
    4. 5.4 First Appearance Court
  7. 6. Partner and Stakeholder Collaboration
    1. 6.1 Importance of Collaboration
    2. 6.2 Project Implementation Team
    3. 6.3 Partnership with the Judiciary
      1. 6.3.1 Scheduling practices
    4. 6.4 Working with Other Partners and Stakeholders
    5. 6.5 Best Practices and Recommendations
  8. 7. Delays and Perceived Delays
    1. 7.1 Delays in the provision of FLS
    2. 7.2 Delays Specific to Court Proceedings
      1. 7.2.1 Assembling a French capability court
      2. 7.2.2 Scheduling practices
      3. 7.2.3 Translation
      4. 7.2.4 Interpretation
        1. 7.2.4.1 Scheduling interpreters
        2. 7.2.4.2 Consecutive interpretation
        3. 7.2.4.3 Simultaneous interpretation
      5. 7.2.5 Bilingual transcripts
    3. 7.3 Best Practices and Recommendations
  9. 8. Statistics and Tracking
    1. 8.1 Introduction
    2. 8.2 Statistics
      1. 8.2.1 ICON and FRANK case management systems
        1. 8.2.1.1 ICON
        2. 8.2.1.2 FRANK
    3. 8.3 Scheduling “Snapshots”
    4. 8.4 Future Planning
    5. 8.5 Conclusions and Best Practices
  10. 9. Training, Tools and Resources
    1. 9.1 Introduction
    2. 9.2 Active Offer Training and Tools
    3. 9.3 Language Rights Training and Tools
    4. 9.4 French Language Training and Tools
      1. 9.4.1 Antidote
      2. 9.4.2 Written French lessons
      3. 9.4.3 Pour l’amour du français
    5. 9.5 French Legal Terminology Training for Bilingual Staff
    6. 9.6 Additional Tools and Resources
    7. 9.7 Recommendations and Best Practices
  11. 10. Bilingual Capacity
    1. 10.1 Introduction
    2. 10.2 Recruitment of Bilingual Court Staff
      1. 10.2.1 French language testing
    3. 10.3 Retention of Bilingual Staff
    4. 10.4 Best Practices and Recommendations
  12. 11. Conclusions and Best Practices
    1. 11.1 Introduction
    2. 11.2 Active Offer of FLS Recommendations
    3. 11.3 Other Access to Justice in French Recommendations
    4. 11.4 Final Thoughts
  13. 12. Appendices
    1. Appendix A - Implementation Team and Judicial Leads
    2. Appendix B - French Language Rights Applicable to the Courts in Ontario
      1. French Language Services Act (R.S.O. 1990, Chapter F. 32)
      2. Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
      3. Courts of Justice Act (R.S.O. 1990, Chapter C. 43)
      4. ONTARIO REGULATION 53/01 - BILINGUAL PROCEEDINGS
    3. Appendix C - Involvement and Initiatives of Court Services Division
      1. General Information – Ottawa Courthouse
      2. Active Offer of French Language Services
      3. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights
      4. Bails, Pleas and First Appearance Court
      5. Delays and Perceived Delays
      6. Statistics and Tracking
      7. Training, Tools and Resources
      8. Bilingual Capacity
      9. Recommended Best Practices
    4. Appendix D - Involvement and Initiatives of the Ottawa Crown’s Office
      1. General Information – Ottawa Courthouse
      2. Crowns
      3. CLD Administrative Staff
      4. Pilot Project
      5. Active Offer of French Language Services
      6. Bails, Pleas and First Appearance Court
      7. Training, Tools and Resources
      8. Crowns
      9. CLD Administrative Staff
      10. Bilingual Capacity
      11. Crowns
      12. CLD Administrative Staff
      13. Recommended Best Practices
    5. Appendix E - Involvement and Initiatives of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in Ottawa
      1. General Information – Ottawa Courthouse
      2. Active Offer of French Language Services
      3. Statistics and Tracking
      4. Training, Tools and Resources
      5. Bilingual Capacity
      6. Recommended Best Practices
    6. Appendix F - Involvement and Initiatives of Legal Aid Ontario
      1. General Information – Ottawa Courthouse
      2. Active Offer of French Language Services
      3. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights
      4. Bails, Pleas and First Appearance Court
      5. Training, Tools and Resources
      6. Bilingual Capacity
      7. Recommended Best Practices
      8. Appendix G - Involvement and Initiatives of the Superior Court of Justice
      9. General Information
      10. Active Offer of French Language Services
      11. Delays and Perceived Delays
      12. Training, Tools and Resources
      13. Recommended Best Practices
    7. Appendix H - Involvement and Initiatives of the Ontario Court of Justice
      1. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights
      2. Bails, Pleas and First Appearance Court
      3. Delays and Perceived Delays
      4. Training, Tools and Resources
      5. Recommended Best Practices
    8. Appendix I - Involvement and Initiatives of the Ottawa Police Service
      1. General Information
      2. Active Offer of French Language Services
      3. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights
      4. Recommended Best Practices
    9. Appendix J - Active Offer of FLS in Ontario Courts - Tips
    10. Appendix K - Criminal Language Rights Tips (Adults and Young Persons (OCJ & SCJ))
    11. Appendix L - Civil Language Rights Tips
    12. Appendix M – Family Court of the SCJ (‘Unified Family Court’) Language Rights Tips
    13. Appendix N – Family Court of the OCJ Language Rights Tips
    14. Appendix O - SCJ Family Matters Language Rights Tips
    15. Appendix P – Small Claims Language Rights Tips
    16. Appendix Q - Summary of Recommended Best Practices
      1. French Language Services based on the Active Offer
      2. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights
      3. Partner and Stakeholder Collaboration
      4. Delays and Perceived Delays
      5. Statistics and Tracking
      6. Training, Tools and Resources
      7. Bilingual Capacity

Executive Summary

On May 29, 2015, the 18-month Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project was launched at the Ottawa courthouse by the Ministry of the Attorney General in partnership with Ontario’s Chief Justices. This is the first time a collaborative effort has been made in a specific location to enhance access to justice in French and to address potential challenges faced by Francophones seeking to access services in French, or to exercise their language rights under the Courts of Justice Act or the Criminal Code of Canada.

Although French and English are both official languages of the courts in Ontario, the French language rights framework is very complex. The basic right to a French criminal trial or a civil bilingual proceeding exists everywhere in the province; however, other rights may depend on the type of proceeding, location, and/or level of court.

To understand the realities faced by French-speaking court users, and to avoid false expectations, it is essential to understand the complexity of the language rights that apply to court proceedings as well as the difference between French language services and court-specific French language rights. A full reading of the relevant sections of this report will provide that necessary background information.

The various priorities identified for the Pilot Project are addressed in separate sections:

This report contains many recommended best practices. Should a decision be made to put these practices in place elsewhere, mechanisms for implementation are proposed:

The findings of this report are relevant to all justice participants. It is hoped that this report will be broadly shared and that it will help to:

Acronyms and Abbreviations

ACT Authorized Court Transcriptionist

AJEFO Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario

CJA Courts of Justice Act

CLD Criminal Law Division

CSD Court Services Division

FL French-language

FLIPD French Language Institute for Professional Development

FLS French Language Services

FLSA French Language Services Act

LAO Legal Aid Ontario

MAG Ministry of the Attorney General

MIP Mandatory Information Program

OCFLS Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services for the Justice Sector

OCJ Ontario Court of Justice

OFA Office of Francophone Affairs

OPS Ontario Public Service

POA Provincial Offences Act

SCC Small Claims Court

SCJ Superior Court of Justice

V/WAP Victim/Witness Assistance Program

VVPD Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division

1. Introduction

The Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project (Pilot Project) was launched at the Ottawa courthouse on May 29, 2015. The general aim of the project, delivered by the Ministry of the Attorney General (Ministry) in partnership with Ontario’s Chief Justices, was to “help reduce potential challenges faced by French-speaking litigants, lawyers and other users of Ontario's courts.”[2]

The French Language Services Act enables Francophones in Ontario to preserve their cultural identity and essentially to live their lives in French. This is particularly important in the justice system, as French is recognized as an official language in the Ontario courts. The Pilot Project sought to promote a broad awareness of French language rights and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.

The project lasted a total of 18 months, until November 30, 2016, during which time various practices were reviewed and new initiatives put in place. This report outlines these practices and initiatives as well as the scope and parameters of the project, the involvement of other Justice Sector partners and stakeholders, and the challenges faced, successes achieved, and best practices identified.

1.1 Background

The Ontario French Language Services (FLS) Commissioner’s 2009 Annual Report recommended that the Attorney General create a FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee to deal with two specific mandates relating to:

In 2010, then Attorney General Christopher Bentley created the FLS Bench and Bar Advisory Committee and in August 2012, this committee’s final report, Access to Justice in French, was made public. The 2012 report made recommendations directed to the Ministry, the judiciary, the federal Minister of Justice, lawyers’ associations, the Law Society, other justice stakeholders and municipal courts.

In November 2012, then Attorney General John Gerretsen established a FLS Bench and Bar Response Steering Committee (Response Steering Committee) to review the recommendations outlined in the 2012 Access to Justice in French report and to develop an implementation plan responding to those recommendations. The Response Steering Committee met over a period of two years and delivered its final report, Enhancing Access to Justice in French: A Response to the Access to Justice in French Report[3], to Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur on June 17, 2015.

During its two-year mandate, the Response Steering Committee examined the feasibility of a specific access to justice in French pilot project to respond, in a coordinated and focussed manner, to several of the recommendations in the 2012 report. In April 2014, the co-chairs submitted to then Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur a proposal for a pilot project to provide seamless access to justice in French in a specified court location. In his 2013-2014 annual report, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario echoed the thoughts of the Response Steering Committee by also recommending that “the Attorney General implement a pilot project improving access to justice in French based on the recommendations and intentions contained in the report Access to Justice in French.[4]

On October 3, 2014, the Ministry announced its intention to implement “a pilot project to provide seamless French language services at the Ottawa courthouse.”[5] The Ottawa courthouse was chosen as the pilot site because of its large Francophone population. Ottawa also is a region designated under both the French Language Services Act and the Courts of Justice Act.

Later in October 2014, a project team was created to implement the Pilot Project. The implementation team, which met on a regular basis throughout the project, was led by Executive Lead Danielle Manton, the Director of Court Operations for the East Region, and was comprised of Ministry staff from various divisions and a Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) representative. Superior Court of Justice and Ontario Court of Justice judicial Pilot Project leads were also identified and consulted regularly prior to and during the project. Appendix A provides lists of the implementation team members and of the Pilot Project judicial leads.

At the same time, the Office of Francophone Affairs (OFA) created a Legal Community Engagement Committee to develop strategies to ensure maximum community exposure to and use of the Pilot Project. Members of the judiciary and senior members of the Bar were invited to participate in this committee, which is led by Assistant Deputy Minister Kelly Burke. This report does not deal with the activities of the Legal Community Engagement Committee; the OFA has produced a separate report outlining the work of that committee.

On May 29, 2015, in partnership with Ontario’s Chief Justices, the Seamless Access to Justice in French Pilot Project was launched with a media release[6] and a celebratory event at the Ottawa courthouse.

1.2 Scope and Objectives of the Pilot Project

The primary objectives of the Pilot Project were for the Ministry and the Chief Justices to:

In summary, the Pilot Project aimed to respond in a coordinated way to various recommendations of the 2012 Access to Justice in French report.

In the absence of any separate project funding, the Pilot Project was to improve access to justice in French at the Ottawa courthouse in the most cost-effective and personnel-neutral manner possible.[7]

The Pilot Project Executive Lead had initially identified nine priorities for the Pilot Project, which were set out in the Enhancing Access to Justice in French report:

  1. FLS based on the Active Offer
  2. Bail Hearings
  3. Communication of French Language Rights
  4. Delays
  5. Partner Collaboration
  6. Stakeholder Collaboration
  7. Training
  8. Recruitment and Retention of Bilingual Staff
  9. Statistics and Tracking

Each of these priorities will be addressed in this final report, in addition to other priorities that were identified as the pilot progressed. Important lessons were learned during the pilot, which has proved to be an invaluable microcosm in which to assess access to justice in French in Ontario.

2. Legislative and Regulatory Framework for French Language Rights in Ontario

The statutory framework for language rights in Ontario courts is complicated. To properly understand this framework, which forms the backdrop of access to justice in French, it is critical to understand the difference between French language services and French language rights. Services in French are provided by court offices and government offices in general; court-specific language rights apply to court proceedings both inside and outside the courtroom. For the purposes of this distinction, this section will be divided into two parts, the first dealing with French language (FL) services and the second with court-specific FL rights. The court-specific FL rights section will, in turn, be broken down into sections on language rights[8] in criminal and civil proceedings. In this general context, “civil proceedings” refers to all civil, family, and Small Claims Court proceedings.

2.1 French Language Services

The provincial French Language Services Act (FLSA), enacted in 1986, states that Ontarians may communicate in French with and receive available services in French from any “head or central office of a government agency or institution of the Legislature, and… any other office of such agency or institution that is located in or serves an area designated in the Schedule.”[9] The FLSA Schedule has 26 designated areas[10], of which Ottawa is one. The provisions of the FLSA do not apply to offices that do not serve any designated areas.

Services provided in French under the French Language Services Act, commonly referred to as FLS, include those provided in person, over the phone, electronically, orally, in writing, etc.

On July 1, 2011, Ontario Regulation 284/11 came into force[11]. This regulation stipulates that government agencies must ensure that services provided by a third party on their behalf are delivered in accordance with the FLSA. It officially introduced the concept of the active offer of FLS by stating that these third parties “shall take appropriate measures, including providing signs, notices and other information on services, and initiating communication with the public, to make it known to members of the public that the service is available in French at the choice of any member of the public.”[12]

In Ontario courts, FLS are services provided by employees of the Ontario government, and/or by third parties providing service on the government’s behalf, to French-speaking court clients living in the 26 designated areas. FLS include bilingual signage, forms and guides and other public-facing materials, all forms of communication, internet sites, etc. Locations offering FLS must have sufficient designated bilingual staff to provide service to the public in French when required; however, there is no requirement for all staff in those locations to speak or understand French.

French language services under the FLSA apply at court offices and in court locations serving clients living in the designated areas, but they do not apply to court proceedings per se. Neither do they apply inside the courtroom. To understand the language rights that apply to criminal and civil court proceedings, we must look to the Criminal Code[13] of Canada and to the provincial Courts of Justice Act[14] (CJA). The language rights provisions of the FLSA, Criminal Code, CJA, and the ensuing Bilingual Proceedings Regulation are attached as Appendix B.

2.2 French Language Rights Specific to Court Proceedings

Court-specific French language rights are not services. Like other legal rights, they are exercised at the discretion of those to whom they apply and, like other legal rights, they may need to be explained by a lawyer to be fully understood. Not all rights apply in all areas:

Language rights provisions that apply in Ottawa may not apply everywhere. Understanding what applies in different courts and in different areas of the province will be necessary when it comes to determining which Pilot Project initiatives and practices might be replicated elsewhere in the province. The language rights applicable to criminal and civil proceedings are quite different from each other and are therefore set out in separate subsections below.

2.3 French Language Rights in Criminal Proceedings

Section 530[16] of the Criminal Code sets out the language rights of French-speaking accused persons and the procedure by which they can elect to have their trial (and preliminary inquiry, if applicable) before a judge (or judge and jury) who speaks the official language of the accused, or both official languages. This right is absolute, provided the accused makes the request in a timely fashion and in accordance with the provisions set out in the Criminal Code. It is the responsibility of the presiding judicial official before whom accused persons first appear to ensure that they are advised of their right, and of the timelines for exercising that right.[17]

Accused persons may request a trial before a French-speaking judge at their first court appearance or at any subsequent appearance, but they should make the request no later than:

When the request is made later than the timelines indicated above, the Criminal Code still permits a judge to make a discretionary order directing that a French or bilingual trial be held, if he or she is satisfied that it is within the best interests of justice to do so.[18]

If an accused exercises his or her language rights under section 530, various Criminal Code provisions apply to the trial and preliminary inquiry, including the following:

Although court users commonly refer to such trials as French criminal trials, the Criminal Code does not actually use the words French trial; in fact it contains various provisions that may, if circumstances warrant, allow for the use of both English and French:

Criminal Code French language rights apply to trials and preliminary inquiries. The Criminal Code does not grant the right to have other types of hearings associated with criminal cases heard in French (such as bail hearings, first appearances and remands, or guilty pleas[21]). Furthermore, a French-speaking accused does not have an automatic entitlement to receive the Crown disclosure[22] in French.

2.4 French Language Rights in Civil, Family and Provincial Offences Act Proceedings

Ontario’s Courts of Justice Act stipulates that English and French are the official languages of the courts of Ontario. This stipulation can be misleading, as it suggests that English and French are equal before all of the Ontario courts and that the same rights would exist in both languages. This is not the case.

The CJA grants the right to a bilingual non-jury civil court proceeding anywhere in Ontario for all family and non-jury civil cases held in the following courts:

The CJA also grants the right to a bilingual proceeding for Provincial Offences Act (POA) cases.[23]

The right to file certain documents in French or to have a bilingual civil jury is available in areas specifically designated under the CJA.[24] (The list of designated areas under the CJA is not the same as that under the FLSA.)

The CJA does not use the wording French proceeding, or French trial. Even if all parties to the proceeding speak French, the proceeding is still referred to as bilingual, and there are CJA provisions that allow for the use of both languages. For all proceedings that are conducted as bilingual proceedings:

2.4.1 Requesting a bilingual proceeding

French-speaking parties can exercise their right to a bilingual proceeding by filing a first document in French in areas where this is allowed under the CJA, filing a requisition form or a written statement, or making an oral statement to the court. Unlike criminal matters, the right to a bilingual civil proceeding, once the request has been made, extends to all other hearings associated with the case (motions, pre-trials, conferences, etc.), unless otherwise indicated in the request.

2.4.2 Timelines

Although the CJA provides the general right to a bilingual proceeding, it is Ontario Regulation 53/01 on bilingual proceedings that sets out the legislated timelines for exercising this right. A requisition form or written statement requesting a bilingual proceeding must be filed with the court and served on every other party no later than seven days before the first hearing that is identified and before an action is placed on the trial list (or before the notice of trial is sent in the case of the Small Claims Court). If a party wishes to make the request within seven days of the hearing in question, he or she can still bring a motion to request a bilingual proceeding, but the decision as to whether to grant that request is up to the judge hearing the motion.

Another complication for applicants, in a case that is brought by way of application, is that the requisition or written statement referred to above must be filed, not within the timelines described above, but at the time the application is commenced.[26] Thus, the statutory provisions relating to the request for a bilingual proceeding are more complicated than they appear at first glance.

2.4.3 Filing documents in French

Likewise, the provisions relating to the right to file documents in French are complex. Some apply everywhere in the province; others vary depending on the location, the court, and the type and language of the proceeding:

2.4.4 Translation

The CJA provides the right to receive translation of certain documents from the court for matters held as bilingual proceedings, but this right also varies depending on the court and on the type of civil case:

2.4.5 Conclusion

As is now apparent, the legislative provisions governing language rights are not at all straightforward. Attempts to simplify them can easily lead to misunderstanding or to false expectations. This will be illustrated later in the report through various examples of situations encountered during the Pilot Project.

2.5 Language Rights Applicable to the Pilot Project in Ottawa

Ottawa is a designated area under the FLSA. Ministry staff and third parties delivering service on behalf of the Ministry are required by law to provide French language services to the public.

Ottawa is also an area that is designated under the CJA, and it has a Family Court of the SCJ.[28] Consequently, parties to civil proceedings have rights (relating to civil juries, the filing of documents, and receiving translations from the court) that do not apply to those living in non-designated areas or where there is no Family Court of the SCJ. Court users in Ottawa therefore benefit from the most comprehensive set of legal language rights possible in Ontario. If seamless access to justice in French is possible anywhere in Ontario, it should therefore be possible in Ottawa.

While the Pilot Project mainly functioned within the existing legislative framework for language rights, various initiatives went above and beyond that framework. These included:

These initiatives and protocols will be described in more detail later in the report.

The 2012 Access to Justice in French report had recommended that the Attorney General “recommit to delivering French language services based on the concept of active offer.” The active offer of service is currently not actually included in the FLSA, the legislation which governs the delivery of FLS by Ontario government employees. In that sense, the active offer of FLS, one of the cornerstones of the Pilot Project, also goes beyond the current legislative framework.

Although not included in the legislation per se, the active offer has nevertheless been an integral part of the Strategic Plan for the Development of FLS in the Justice Sector since 2006.[30] The Pilot Project provided an opportunity to focus on how to best achieve the active offer of FLS.

3. The Active Offer of French Language Services

3.1 What is the Active Offer of Service?

As indicated in the previous section, the concept of the active offer of FLS was first included in the regulatory framework in July 2011 when Ontario Regulation 284/11 on the provision of FLS by third parties came into effect.

In 2012, the Office of Francophone Affairs published new “Guidelines for the Active Offer of French Language Services in the Ontario Government”, providing a definition for the active offer and setting out the principles, roles and responsibilities regarding the active offer of FLS to French-speaking clients, to ensure a consistent approach within the Ontario Public Service (OPS).

Active offer refers to government measures that are taken to ensure that FLS provided pursuant to the FLSA are:

This includes all types of communication, as well as the initiation of communication with French-speaking clients. It should be noted that the active offer is made by all employees, not just those who are bilingual.

In his 2012-2013 Annual Report, the FLS Commissioner for Ontario had recommended that an explicit directive regarding the active offer be issued and apply to all ministries, government agencies and entities providing FLS on the government’s behalf.[31] The government response to this recommendation indicated that the “government agree[d] with the Commissioner that the active offer of French language services is key to ensuring that ministries respect the letter and the spirit of the French Language Services Act.”[32]

The active offer of FLS was one of the primary recommendations of the Access to Justice in French report. The 2015 Response Steering Committee’s Enhancing Access to Justice in French report outlined the steps that had been taken within the Justice Sector to promote the active offer. One of the overarching aims of the Pilot Project was to implement and highlight the active offer of FLS, to identify what active offer measures are effective and to recommend best practices.

3.2 New Active Offer Initiatives

The active offer is a proactive offer. The Pilot Project will have been effective in its offer of FLS if French-speaking clients were made aware at the earliest opportunity of their right to obtain services in French, whether this be communicated[33] in person, by phone, in writing, or via other electronic means. It is worth remembering that the active offer applies to services in French under the FLSA, and not to the other French language rights set out in the Criminal Code and in the CJA.

Prior to the Pilot Project, the Ottawa courthouse had signs posted at court counters and other offices indicating that service was available in English and French. In addition, each court office had designated bilingual staff to provide service in French when required. The active offer had also been included in the Ministry’s strategic planning for some time and various active offer tools and resources had been created. In the absence of a clear definition of the active offer prior to 2012, and without effective targeted training and follow-up, it was often left up to the client to ask to be served in French.

The Pilot Project therefore put in place many new active offer initiatives to implement, promote and measure the active offer through: training, tools and resources, new technologies, bilingual greetings and announcements, visual aids, and staff and management training and support.

3.2.1 Training, tools and resources

Staff and management awareness and understanding of the importance of active offer is essential. To prepare for the launch of the Pilot Project, interactive active offer training sessions were developed and delivered to 208 participants, including staff of the Court Services, Criminal Law and Victims and Vulnerable Persons divisions and Legal Aid Ontario. Some other courthouse tenants also attended these sessions, even though there was no active offer obligation on their part. A new tip sheet on the active offer (attached as Appendix J) was developed and distributed to all participants. To ensure that newly hired staff would also be made aware of these materials, the training slides and tip sheet now form an active offer “package” that is given to new Court Services and Victims and Vulnerable Persons divisions’ staff, and appears on the orientation checklist. Furthermore, the active offer tip sheet is now posted on the CSD intranet and available to all CSD staff in the province. The CSD intranet site can also be accessed by other divisions and ministries.

Various other active offer tools and resources, such as an active offer checklist and additional tips for implementing the active offer are available to all Ministry staff through the Office of the Coordinator of FLS for the Justice Sector (OCFLS) and were invaluable resources for the Pilot Project.

Training and resources will be discussed more fully in Section 9 of this report.

3.2.2 New technologies

The Ottawa courthouse has a counter ticketing system called Q-Matic. This is an electronic system to help manage customer service and it was already in use at the Ottawa courthouse at the civil, family and Small Claims Court counters prior to the launch of the Pilot Project. Installation of the same system at the criminal court counter, the Family Law Information Centre and the Justice of the Peace Intake Court is currently underway. The Q-Matic system is bilingual, and clients can choose an English ticket or a French ticket.

To assist with the active offer of service and also with the gathering of FLS statistics, the Q-Matic system was re-programmed for the Pilot Project, to remind staff of the active offer and alert them when a client has taken a French ticket. In this way, counter staff know in advance that a client selected a French ticket and likely wishes to be served in French. This allows staff to anticipate the need to switch with a bilingual staff member if required. The Q-Matic also can regularly send messages to counter staff reminding them to greet the public in both English and French.

The Q-Matic system includes large public-facing screens displaying rotating messages in English and French. A Franco-Ontario flag is also shown on these screens to further promote the active offer and awareness of services in French.

3.2.3 Old technologies

Some older technologies stood in the way of the active offer. The court dockets that are posted outside of the OCJ courtrooms each day are generated by a case management system that is not currently able to produce a bilingual or French version. Meetings were held with technology experts, but it has not yet been possible to find a workable solution. Future replacement of the existing technology should ensure the ability to produce bilingual dockets.

The court lists for the SCJ are produced manually. These lists had been posted in English prior to the Pilot Project, but a solution was found to produce and post a bilingual template. Bilingual court list templates are now in place for the SCJ in Ottawa.

3.2.4 Bilingual greetings

A bilingual greeting such as “Hello/Bonjour” is one of the most effective means of actively offering FLS and initiating communication with the public. The importance of the bilingual greeting was stressed repeatedly in the active offer training and at staff meetings throughout the pilot. In addition, and in response to a suggestion from staff, simple messaging in French was provided at all court counters, using phonetic spelling, to enable staff who do not speak French to indicate to a French-speaking client that a bilingual staff member would be there shortly. The bilingual greeting applies at court counters and offices, as well as on the phone. “Hello/Bonjour” stickers are posted on the staff-side of court counters and on staff phones as a reminder. As noted above, the Q-Matic system also reminds staff to use the bilingual greeting.

Managers of various court offices have reported hearing their counter staff use the bilingual greeting on a regular basis. Several phone and counter audits were carried out during the pilot to determine whether staff were using the bilingual greeting. Staff in the offices of all Ministry divisions at the Ottawa courthouse were extremely helpful and showed a willingness to provide service in French; however, the bilingual greeting is not consistently used.

3.2.5 Public announcements

When preparing for the Pilot Project, the implementation team considered all aspects of communication with the public and where it would be appropriate to incorporate the active offer. Certain types of service, such as counter and phone, were obvious. One type of service considered was public announcements. Emergency announcements (e.g., announcements to evacuate the building in case of an alarm) were already being made in both English and French. Regular announcements regarding the daily filing deadlines of documents in civil and family cases were also done in both languages. Other types of announcements had not been considered, such as announcements asking the public having matters in a certain court to enter the courtroom. These announcements had traditionally been made in English only, unless the courtroom was hearing French or bilingual matters. Courtrooms are not government offices, but because staff were making the announcements, and they were being broadcast to the public outside the courtroom, it was felt that the active offer might apply.

A comprehensive list of bilingual announcements was therefore recorded to call parties, witnesses and counsel into the courtroom for various types of court proceedings. After this new practice had been put into effect, court staff and stakeholders such as criminal defence counsel were able to provide useful feedback. When the announcement was made in French, the impression was created that staff and/or the judiciary in the courtroom would have the French capacity to be able to communicate in French, which was often not the case. For this reason, while announcements will continue to always be made in both languages for first appearance courts and for French and bilingual proceedings in OCJ and SCJ, they have been discontinued for other courts.

The new announcements were, at least in some instances, creating an expectation that could not be met. This was an important lesson regarding the active offer and where and how it applies: the active offer should always be in relation to a service that is actually available in French. It is appropriate, for example, for courtrooms hearing French or bilingual matters to make bilingual announcements and this continues to be done.

Other types of public announcements were successfully added as part of the Pilot Project. For example, Legal Aid duty counsel enter the courtrooms hearing family matters and make announcements to determine whether anyone needs to speak to duty counsel. Prior to the pilot, these announcements had been made in English; they are now made in both English and French by a bilingual lawyer.

3.2.6 Visual aids

From the first day of the Pilot Project, visual aids were used to announce FLS and to strengthen the active offer. These are an effective and easy way to make it known to the public that services are offered in both English and French. They also provide a reminder to staff, a visual active offer to the public, and a fall back in the event that staff should not provide a bilingual greeting. Visual aids put in place for the Pilot Project include the following:

With regard to the “Je parle français” badges, it should be noted that this practice will not be continued for most Ministry staff. Although the badges seemed like a good way of identifying bilingual court staff, they presented various issues:

The bilingual guards at the information desk in the courthouse wear “Je parle français” badges. These are the first people the public meet. At least one guard has indicated an increase in the number of court clients who speak to him in French since they started wearing the badges.

Overall, visual aids proved to be very effective in making the public aware of the availability of FLS[36].

3.2.7 FLS in staffing and performance management

When actively offering FLS, the service capability has to be there. A review was done prior to the project, and new designated positions were created in several court offices[37] in order to ensure that bilingual staff would always be available to assist when required at counters and in offices that serve the public. Some of these new positions were created by asking bilingual staff who were not in designated positions if they wished to be tested with a view to having their positions designated if they met the requisite language competency level. There would be no negative consequences to staff; if they failed to reach the required level, their position would remain non-designated. Fifteen new designated positions were created within CSD and one within the Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP).

Even with sufficient staff, careful scheduling is required to ensure coverage at all times, requiring an ongoing review of scheduling practices. Backup plans, including whom to go to and what to do when a bilingual staff member is absent, are also essential, and have been made a standing item for Court Services Division staff meetings.

To ensure that court staff are always mindful of their FLS responsibilities, the annual performance plans of CSD staff and managers, as well as those of the V/WAP staff, include a section on their ability and willingness to ensure an active offer of service in French.

The Ottawa Police Service provides security at the Ottawa courthouse and, although not mandated to provide FLS, collaborated with the Pilot Project Lead on various initiatives[38] including undertaking to make every effort to ensure at least one bilingual security guard was always assigned to the security magnetometers at the entrance to the building. These guards, who are not employed by the Ministry, are the first people the public encounter when they enter the courthouse.

To the same end, one of the guards at the information desk is always bilingual. In addition, accused persons attending First Appearance Court for the first time are handed a screening form package by a French-speaking court services officer.

More detailed information on bilingual capacity and Pilot Project initiatives to assist with the challenge of recruiting and retaining bilingual staff is found in Section 10 of this report.

3.3 Third Party Service Providers

There are two third parties which are contracted to provide services on behalf of the Ontario government at the Ottawa courthouse and mandated to provide an active offer of FLS. In this regard, the bilingual CBRE[39] guards at the information desk in the courthouse saw FLS added to their contract as part of the Pilot Project.

Family Mediation and Information Services are provided by a third party on behalf of CSD. The Pilot Project Executive Lead worked with this service provider to ensure the active offer of FLS was in place. On-site mediation is provided every day at the Ottawa courthouse for parties who have matters on the court docket, and French-speaking mediators are available every day. For the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) for family matters, a section on French language rights and services was added to both French and English sessions (not only in Ottawa but province-wide). French MIPs are offered each month in Ottawa.

3.4 Challenges and Misconceptions of the Active Offer

When considering the active offer, the first challenge is to properly understand what the active offer of FLS is and what it is not. The active offer applies to services delivered under the FLSA by and on behalf of government offices, and only in areas where that Act applies. At the risk of becoming repetitive, it does not apply to other court-specific language rights.

The Access to Justice in French report itself provides a good example of a common misconception of the active offer when it states that “the judiciary, court administration, the legal profession, and law enforcement officers must ensure the active offer of French language services to court users.”[40] Whereas courts administration offices do offer Ontario government services to the public, the judiciary and many legal professionals and law enforcement officers (including the Ottawa Police) do not. This is not to say that the latter should not facilitate access to justice in French; it is simply to emphasize that the active offer of FLS per se does not apply to them. They are not subject to the FLSA.

For those to whom the FLSA does apply, implementing the active offer of service brought various challenges:

3.4.1 False expectations

The Pilot Project’s strong focus on the active offer created some false expectations on the part of staff and stakeholders with respect to “service” within the courtroom, where the active offer does not apply. Examples of such expectations were that:

These examples will provide useful scenarios for discussion when designing future active offer training and awareness sessions. Active offer training has tended to focus on what the active offer is, and not on what it isn’t, which, it turns out, is just as important to understand.

In the past, anything to do with French in the courts was commonly referred to as FLS. An important lesson from the Pilot Project is that it is always important to properly differentiate between FLS and FL rights. This helps to provide, among other things, clarity when speaking of the active offer of service.

3.4.2 Staff engagement

Administrative staff at the Ottawa courthouse may have initially found it difficult to change their habits and to provide the active offer of FLS, especially the bilingual greeting. Staff feedback was sought during the project, and most of the feedback received was positive and constructive. In general, staff showed a real willingness to provide service in French. One staff member in particular, however, was very honest in providing the following comments that may have reflected the thoughts of a larger group:

These comments demonstrate that it is especially important to seek the engagement of staff who do not speak French. For them to support the delivery of FLS and the active offer in particular, it is essential, among other things, that they understand the purpose of the FLSA and of the active offer. Staff can easily become frustrated when they are faced with clients who insist on service in French even though they speak English fluently. It is important for the former to realize that the FLSA is not just about assisting French-speaking clients who do not understand English, which could be done by providing the services of an interpreter. The Act is about enabling Francophones to preserve their cultural identity and to live their lives in French, particularly when dealing with the Ontario justice system, where French is an official language.

Over the course of the Pilot Project, a significant improvement was seen in staff engagement and in their support of actively offering services in French.

3.5 Best Practices and Recommendations

Best practices for specific offices or divisions are set out in the respective appendices at the end of this report. It is, however, also worth highlighting the following general recommendations flowing from the Pilot Project, which apply to all those involved in providing FLS.

To achieve the active offer of service, it is essential to:

Through these practices, the Pilot Project was generally effective at providing the active offer and at making the public aware of the availability of FLS. This was confirmed by the results of the CSD 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 Client Satisfaction Surveys. A new active offer question had been added to the survey, asking the public whether they were made aware that counter service was offered in French. The results for the Ottawa courthouse were significantly higher than the provincial average for FLSA-designated areas. The other designated areas will undoubtedly benefit from the recommendations of this report.

It has been repeated many times that the active offer does not apply to the FL rights set out in the Criminal Code and in theCJA. The next section will focus on the importance of ensuring communication of these court-specific FL rights, to facilitate access to justice in French.

4. Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights

4.1 Why Communication of French Language rights was included in Pilot Project

Access to justice in French is about more than services from court offices and Ministry staff, and it is about more than the active offer. For parties to court proceedings who may wish to proceed in French, it is essential that they be made aware at the earliest opportunity of their right to do so. If French-speaking parties don’t know that they can proceed in French, they may retain a lawyer who does not speak French, making it difficult for them to later exercise that right. The Access to Justice in French report had highlighted the need to communicate language rights at the earliest opportunity and to assist court users in navigating Ontario’s bilingual justice system.

The Pilot Project sought to help reduce challenges faced by French-speaking litigants and lawyers, amongst others, and one of the main challenges is the complexity and resulting lack of clear understanding of language rights. Communication of language rights is not a service and it is not subject to the French Language Services Act. As we have seen, the active offer does not apply. The Pilot Project therefore included an enhancement to the active offer of service by also promoting awareness of court-specific language rights on the part of both the French-speaking public and those working in the justice system. Where active offer makes the public aware at the earliest opportunity of FLS, early communication of FL rights makes them equally aware of the other aspects of justice in French, thereby facilitating access.

4.2 Complexity of Language Rights and Common Misconceptions

The manner in which language rights are communicated is important. Language rights can vary depending on different factors, and it is not possible to easily communicate this complexity. Simplifying the message and leaving out detail can easily lead to misunderstanding and to false expectations; whereas, attempting to explain all of the detailed legislative and regulatory provisions would lead to confusion. There is no easy answer to this dilemma.

The following statements represent just some of the common misbeliefs that exist with regard to French or bilingual proceedings:

A review of Section 2 would reveal that, although they may seem to be logical, all of the above statements are false.

Where should one turn to have questions about language rights answered? It is not the job of court staff to explain language rights (or the potential implications of exercising those rights) to the public. Indeed, it would be inappropriate for them to do so.

Lawyers and paralegals do, however, have responsibility for advising clients who speak French of their language rights.[42] In addition to the basic language rights communicated to the public as part of the Pilot Project and outlined in this section, it is therefore very important for litigants and accused persons to also understand that a lawyer can provide them with more detailed information. This may help prevent some of the misconceptions mentioned above.

The Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario[43] (AJEFO) launched the Ottawa Legal Information Centre in January 2015 close to the Ottawa courthouse. This Centre provides the public with free legal information and referral services in English and French, including information on language rights,[44] and was thus a perfect complement to the Pilot Project. A large banner stand and new display stands with flyers advertising the Centre were installed in the courthouse as part of the pilot. Other bilingual pamphlets on language rights and the entitlement to receive legal services in French from lawyers, produced by the Law Society of Upper Canada and AJEFO, were also made readily available.

Before turning to consult a lawyer for further information, however, the public need to know their basic rights; and it is of these basic language rights that the Pilot Project sought to promote and enhance awareness. Initiatives undertaken during the pilot to communicate these rights, both to the public and to staff and professionals involved in the justice system, are set out below.

4.3 Communicating Language Rights in Criminal Matters

The only communication of language rights that is mandated by legislation relates to criminal proceedings and to advising accused persons of their language rights under section 530 of the Criminal Code. It falls to “the justice of the peace or provincial court judge before whom an accused first appears [to]… ensure that they are advised of their right [to make an application to proceed in the official language of their choice]… and of the time before which such an application must be made.”[45]

Prior to the Pilot Project, there had not been a consistent language rights advisory to accused persons at First Appearance Court and it had not been standard practice for the justices of the peace sitting in that court to systematically ensure accused persons were advised of their section 530 rights. In preparation for the Pilot Project, meetings were held between the Pilot Project Executive Lead, the Regional Senior Justice of the Peace and the Regional Senior Justice of the OCJ regarding this Criminal Code requirement, and justices of the peace presiding in First Appearance Court were reminded of their obligations under the Criminal Code.[46]

A stamp was made for court informations[47] with a box for the clerk to check after accused persons have been advised of their language rights. This also serves as a visual reminder to the clerk, who can, when appropriate, make the presiding justice of the peace aware if the accused persons have not yet been advised of their language rights.

The justices of the peace were provided with an aide memoire that has been placed on the dais in First Appearance Court, to promote awareness and to remind presiding justices of the peace of their obligation to advise accused persons of their right to a French trial and of the timelines for making the request.

To communicate language rights in criminal matters to accused persons, the Pilot Project did not rely solely on information provided by the justices of the peace in First Appearance Court. Other measures were taken to ensure accused persons were made aware of their Criminal Code language rights at the earliest opportunity:

4.3.1 Release forms

The Ottawa Police were consulted to determine whether French language rights information had been provided before the Pilot Project to accused persons prior to their release, and there had been no consistent practice of so doing. Although there is no legislative requirement for the police to advise accused persons of their right to a French trial, the Access to Justice in French report had highlighted the need to:

“… develop measures to ensure that French speakers are made aware of their French language rights at the earliest stage of their involvement with the justice system…

Many French speakers are either unaware of their right to services in French, or uncertain as to how to exercise those rights. For example, when a French speaker is arrested and released on a promise to appear, there may be nothing on the forms, or in the information provided by the police officer, advising the individual of the right to a hearing in French. By the time the person appears before the court, he or she may have hired a lawyer who does not speak French. Thus, the information about French language rights may come too late in the process to be of real value.”[48]

As part of the Pilot Project, information with respect to language rights was thus added to the following criminal law forms for both adults and young persons:

These amended forms, available province-wide, now include the following wording in French and English:

“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.”

This wording intentionally includes the important fact that a lawyer can provide further information.

4.3.2 Posters

A large notice in poster format including this same information as well as the timelines in which the request must be made was posted outside all of the courtrooms an accused might attend for his or her first appearance. These posters are bilingual, with the French appearing above the English, as they are primarily notices to French-speaking accused. The Ottawa Police readily agreed to also hang copies of this poster in the cell block of the courthouse and at the police station, in order to ensure that accused who are in custody would also be made aware of their language rights at the earliest opportunity.

The wording for the poster was drafted to include the Criminal Code information that must be provided to accused persons on their first appearance:

“If you are French speaking, you have the right to have your trial and/or preliminary inquiry heard as a French (or in some cases bilingual) hearing. You may make this request at any court appearance up to and including:

A lawyer or duty counsel can give you more information on your language rights.”

4.3.3 List of bilingual lawyers

The police station has a list of lawyers whom accused persons may wish to consult if they are held in custody. Another Pilot Project initiative was to ensure that this list clearly indicate which lawyers speak French.

4.3.4 Information screens

The Q-Matic information screens and the other large screens were programmed with rotating messages including the fact that accused persons “have a right to a French trial[49] and must make the request within a specific timeframe.” Wording such as this was chosen to ensure that an accused person would know to seek further information regarding the right to a French trial and the timeframe for making the request.

4.3.5 Information packages

During the Ottawa Pilot Project, the same language rights wording used in the release documents referred to above was also added to an information package that is now given province-wide to accused persons upon their first appearance.

Through all of the above-mentioned means, accused persons are now made aware of their section 530 rights at the earliest opportunity.

4.3.6 Staff awareness

Accused and members of the public are not the only ones who need to be aware of basic language rights in criminal matters. It is equally important to promote awareness on the part of professionals working in the justice system and court staff in particular.

A tip sheet outlining the language rights that apply in criminal matters (attached as Appendix K) was prepared and distributed to criminal court services staff, criminal Legal Aid duty counsel, V\WAP staff and the administrative staff of the Crowns’ Office. This useful reference tool formed the basis of criminal language rights training that was provided to some of the same staff.

4.3.7 Other awareness initiatives relating to criminal proceedings

This section would not be complete without also referring to the promotion of awareness of Pilot Project initiatives that went above and beyond the Criminal Code provisions and the legislative framework. As indicated earlier in the report, French bail hearings and French guilty pleas had been provided upon request in Ottawa for some time. Protocols were drafted to formalize and improve upon these practices and affected staff and the public, accused persons in particular, were made aware of these options. The French bail and plea protocols were also announced at a Criminal Bench and Bar meeting and at a separate meeting with French-speaking criminal defence counsel.

Notices to French-speaking accused persons were posted outside all regular guilty plea courtrooms simply indicating that: “arrangements can be made to have your guilty plea heard in French. To do so, please advise the court, your lawyer or Legal Aid duty counsel.” Court staff, LAO duty counsel and criminal defence lawyers practising in Ottawa were also made aware of this formalized practice.

The Pilot Project French bail hearings and guilty plea protocols will be described in more detail in the next section of this report.

4.4 Communicating Language Rights in Civil Matters

The initial contact with the justice system for parties to civil proceedings is, of course, different than that for accused persons. A person wishing to initiate a civil, family or Small Claims Court proceeding, or to respond to a claim or an application that has been brought against them, will find both French and English forms simultaneously on the Ontario Court Forms website or at the court counter. Filing these initial documents in French in Ottawa[50] constitutes a request for a bilingual civil proceeding.[51]

The request for a bilingual proceeding applies to all hearings associated with the case, unless otherwise indicated. In this way, access to justice in French may appear to be more seamless for civil than for criminal matters, as all hearings may take place before a presiding judicial official who speaks French. On the other hand, the proceedings themselves are not actually French proceedings, but rather bilingual proceedings. For example, the opposing party and their counsel do not necessarily speak French.

It is very important, for civil matters where a party has exercised their language rights, to always properly refer to these proceedings as bilingual, and not French. This helps promote awareness of the fact that both languages may be used, depending on the circumstances; and may also assist in preventing unrealistic expectations that could arise if a party thought his or her case would proceed “in French”.

The way in which the language rights provisions of the Courts of Justice Act and the ensuing Bilingual Proceedings Regulation are drafted can be confusing, as some general language rights provisions are followed by more restrictive specific provisions. In order to fully understand the implications of the various legislative provisions relating to bilingual proceedings, it is therefore important for litigants to know that a lawyer can provide them with detailed information. As for communicating the more basic language rights pertaining to civil proceedings, various initiatives were undertaken as part of the Pilot Project.

4.4.1 Information screens

The new information screens and the Q-Matic screens display information on basic language rights in civil, family and Small Claims Court matters. Messages include:

4.4.2 Language rights tip sheets

Language rights tip sheets for family, civil and Small Claims Court proceedings (Appendices K to P) were developed as an easy reference outlining the specific legislative provisions that apply for each of those practice areas. These were discussed with and provided to supervisors of court staff working in those court offices. Staff were already aware of their specific responsibilities. Some Ottawa practices involved going above and beyond the legislated requirements; it was therefore left with the supervisors to ensure that their staff were trained in such a manner as to ensure FL rights were not adversely affected and that staff were aware of their obligations.

The family law language rights tip sheet was provided to LAO family duty counsel and discussed at an awareness session held for them on family law language rights at the start of the Pilot Project.

4.4.3 Family Law Mandatory Information Program

Also in the area of family law, the Pilot Project Executive Lead worked with the Mandatory Information Program service provider to ensure an understanding of French language services and rights on its part. The Pilot Project Executive Lead also worked with the appropriate CSD corporate office to have basic language rights information included in the information sessions given to family litigants throughout Ontario. These sessions now include how to request a bilingual proceeding and how to find a bilingual family law lawyer, not only in Ottawa but province-wide.

4.5 Challenges

In addition to the inherent complexity of language rights and common misconceptions such as those referred to earlier in this section, specific challenges relating to the communication of language rights in criminal matters were encountered throughout the Pilot Project and must be mentioned.

One such challenge involved unrealistic expectations that were unintentionally created by the French guilty plea protocol. The existence of the Pilot Project and the fact that French guilty pleas are consistently offered at the Ottawa courthouse have created, on the part of some, an expectation that they can be arranged immediately, with no notice, and without any delay. Section 7 of this report will explore the Pilot Project findings with regard to the issue of delay, including unavoidable delay.

As mentioned in the introduction to this section, the biggest challenge in the communication of language rights is the complexity of the language rights legislation and the difficulty of conveying accurate information with simplified, easily understandable, messaging. Training on language rights for all justice professionals is necessary to meet this challenge. This and the other best practices set out below are recommended to facilitate and enhance access to justice in French.

4.6 Best Practices and Recommendations

With respect to the communication of language rights, the following best practices were identified during the Pilot Project:

Awareness of language rights on the part of all Justice Sector professionals and partners as well as affected stakeholders and members of the public is important. Partner and stakeholder collaboration was an essential element of and greatly contributed to the effectiveness of many Pilot Project initiatives.

5. Bails, Pleas and First Appearance Court

5.1 Introduction

Although the request for a bilingual civil proceeding applies to all hearings associated with the case, the same is not true of criminal proceedings. While focussing on promoting awareness of the existing language rights framework, the Pilot Project also sought to facilitate access to justice for French-speaking accused persons appearing in Bail Court, Guilty Plea Court and First Appearance Court.

5.2 French Bail Hearings

The Criminal Code does not grant the right to a French bail hearing. The 2012 Access to Justice in French report recommended a review of the feasibility of providing French bail hearings and urged the Ministry to adopt a policy to make French (or bilingual) bail hearings consistently available. Courts such as Ottawa that have the bilingual capacity to do so had traditionally already scheduled bail hearings in French, where feasible. This practice was formalized as part of the Pilot Project:

When a request is made for a French bail hearing, the OCJ trial coordinator is immediately notified and he or she then coordinates with those involved. Scheduling of French bail hearings requires the cooperation of the justices of the peace, CSD court support staff, the OCJ trial coordinator, the provincial and federal Crown’s offices and Legal Aid duty counsel. Although Ottawa has traditionally provided French bail hearings on request, the new protocol, which was forwarded to the trial coordinator from the Regional Senior Justice of the Peace as a directive, formalizes the scheduling process to ensure all interested parties (and their back-ups, if applicable) are notified. The protocol will need to be reviewed periodically and updated as needed.

Although bail hearings can always be scheduled in French during the regular work week, they cannot be scheduled on weekends and statutory holidays. The bail courts held on those days, known as WASH[52] courts, involve a rotation of justices of the peace, CSD staff and assistant Crown attorneys. These courts may have a French-speaking justice of the peace and/or Crown on some days, but they are never specifically scheduled as French capability courts. In Ottawa, a French interpreter is always on call for this court. It would create an unfair practice to require only bilingual Justices of the Peace, Crowns, duty counsel and court staff to work weekends and statutory holidays.

WASH courts are held for persons who are taken into custody on weekends, or on a statutory holiday, to appear before a justice of the peace.

5.3 Guilty Plea Court

Some judges and lawyers are of the opinion that the language rights provisions set out in section 530 of the Criminal Code apply not only to trials and preliminary hearings, but also to guilty pleas. While there is no general consensus on this point, the Ottawa Courthouse does provide French-speaking accused persons with the opportunity to plead guilty in French.

In addition to the French bail hearing protocol, a new protocol was established between Court Services Division, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Crown’s Office and Legal Aid duty counsel regarding French guilty pleas. As a result, arrangements can now be made, on most days, to have a guilty plea heard by a French-speaking judge with a French-speaking assistant Crown attorney in a court with bilingual court staff.

Prior to the Pilot Project, it had been the practice in Ottawa to schedule French guilty pleas in advance on days where a French-speaking judge was assigned to Plea Court; however, if the judge in question was later switched to a different courtroom, the French plea could no longer be heard that day, causing additional delays. Furthermore, a French-speaking Crown and court staff had not always been provided for a French plea, and an interpreter may have been required to interpret for the Crown or for court staff.

A French-speaking OCJ judge is not always assigned to the guilty plea court. As part of the Pilot Project, the judiciary offered to ensure that when possible[53], on days where the plea court judge assigned is not French-speaking, one bilingual OCJ judge would keep his or her court open until 2:00 pm to hear French guilty pleas. Therefore, if there is no French-speaking capability in the courtroom where an accused person would normally plead guilty, arrangements can usually be made for their matter to be transferred to that other court on the same day, without the accused having to return on a different day to plead guilty before a French-speaking judge (or pleading before an English judge for the sake of convenience). The Crown’s Office has also agreed to make every effort to have a French-speaking assistant Crown attorney available (although this may mean transferring them out of another court proceeding), and CSD has agreed to provide bilingual courtroom staff. Bilingual Legal Aid duty counsel can also be made available when required.

One of the important lessons learned during the pilot project was that having a new protocol designed to facilitate access to justice in French is of little benefit if lawyers and the public are not aware of it. This was made apparent at a meeting with French-speaking criminal defence counsel in April 2016, where several lawyers indicated that they did not know of the new French guilty plea protocol. Following this meeting, to promote awareness, signs were posted outside each of the courtrooms where guilty pleas are normally heard. Despite this new protocol and efforts made to promote awareness, some defence counsel have expressed dissatisfaction with having to wait until the afternoon instead of being able to have their French guilty pleas heard earlier in the day.

5.4 First Appearance Court

All accused persons have a first appearance in court. Accused persons who are not in custody and attend that court for the first time receive a screening form package from a French-speaking court services officer. The presiding justice of the peace may on occasion be French-speaking, but the court normally deals with court matters in English. There is no statutory right to appear in First Appearance Court before a justice who speaks French.

For First Appearance Court, the Pilot Project focussed on awareness of language rights and on ensuring through various means that accused were advised of their right to a French criminal trial as early as possible. Prior to the Pilot Project, it had not been standard practice for the justices of the peace sitting in that court to systematically ensure accused persons were advised of their language rights[54].

In addition to an advisory from the presiding justice, there are now also posters setting out the Criminal Code language rights outside the courtroom, at the police station, and in the cell block of the courthouse. Language rights also now appear on the release forms given to adults and young persons by the police.

6. Partner and Stakeholder Collaboration

6.1 Importance of Collaboration

The importance of collaboration with other Justice Sector partners and with stakeholders cannot be overstated. Coordination, cooperation, shared awareness, and proper communication between all partners led to the success of many Pilot Project initiatives. Sharing information, tools and resources is essential. Ideas that seem good in a meeting room do not always have the desired effect when put into practice, and seeking feedback from staff, stakeholders (court users) and partners is equally important. This section will set out the various Pilot Project achievements that resulted from common messaging and from working together to address and meet the expectations of all involved.

6.2 Project Implementation Team

The Pilot Project Implementation Team was led by the project’s Executive Lead and Director of Court Operations for the East Region, Danielle Manton, and composed of representatives from the Ministry’s Court Services Division, Criminal Law Division (CLD) (Ottawa Crown’s Office), and Victims and Vulnerable Persons Division (Victim/Witness Assistance Program), as well as Legal Aid Ontario (family and criminal duty counsel) and the Ministry’s Communications Branch, Legal Services Branch and Office of the Coordinator of French Language Services. The team met on a regular basis, starting prior to the launch of the project.

The implementation team members suggested, discussed, and reviewed project initiatives; and shared ideas, practices, resources and training materials. Feedback from staff and stakeholders received during the pilot was also considered by the team at their meetings. The individual practices and initiatives of each of the main team members are set out in Appendices C to F, and elsewhere in this report, as applicable.

Court Services Division, the Criminal Law Division, V/WAP and Legal Aid Ontario (the on-site project implementation team members) also held internal meetings with managers and targeted staff, as required, to discuss specific initiatives. The work of assistant Crown attorneys and of CLD and V/WAP administrative staff relates to criminal matters only, and that of LAO duty counsel to criminal and family matters; CSD staff are involved in all types of court services and proceedings and that division was therefore impacted by a larger number of Pilot Project initiatives.

6.3 Partnership with the Judiciary

The Pilot Project was launched by the Ministry in partnership with the Chief Justices of Ontario, and judicial leads were appointed to the project by the Chief Justices of the SCJ and OCJ (judge and justice of the peace). The Executive Lead met before the launch of the pilot and thereafter as required with the judicial leads and with the regional senior justices (or their representatives) and justice of the peace, to determine challenges, discuss protocols and identify solutions and best practices.

The justices of the peace who sit in First Appearance Court are responsible for advising accused persons of their language rights. In preparation for the Pilot Project, a presentation on the project was given by the Executive Lead to all of the justices of the peace for the East Region at their conference in June, 2015; during the same month, the Regional Senior Justice of the Peace spoke to the province’s bilingual justices of the peace about the Pilot Project.

Although the judiciary were not involved in some aspects of the pilot, such as the delivery of FLS and the active offer, they were active partners in others, in particular those that fall under their direction, such as scheduling of court matters and the conduct of court hearings. Having a courtroom capable of taking French or bilingual cases without unnecessary delays relies on the cooperation of all partners to ensure the availability of a bilingual judge or justice of the peace, a bilingual Crown, if applicable, and bilingual court staff (clerk, reporter and, in some cases, court services officer).

The French guilty plea protocol is a prime example of working together to facilitate access to justice in French. A French-speaking OCJ judge is not always assigned to the guilty plea court. The new protocol involving the OCJ, Crown’s Office and Court Services Division means that arrangements can now virtually always be made for a French plea. The scheduling of French bail hearings also requires the collaboration of different partners: that of the justices of the peace, court support staff, the OCJ trial coordinator, Legal Aid duty counsel, if applicable, and the Crown’s Office. The formalization of these practices will ensure the consistent availability of these French hearings over the long term.

The CSD staff responsible for trial coordination in the OCJ take their direction from the judiciary and are instrumental in ensuring the smooth transfer of cases from one courtroom to another. To know if a courtroom is available to take a French plea, and to have arrangements made for the transfer, courtroom staff contact the OCJ trial coordinator’s office. The trial coordinator’s office also facilitates the scheduling of French bail hearings.

6.3.1 Scheduling practices

Scheduling is the sole responsibility of the judiciary. Nevertheless, scheduling practices rely on a high level of cooperation between CSD and the judiciary, which was evidenced throughout the Pilot Project; there was a real willingness to work together to enhance access to justice in French. One scheduling initiative in particular provides an excellent example of how, in some cases, a small change can lead to an easy win:

At the beginning of the Pilot Project, with the assistance of the OCJ and the SCJ, the Executive Lead reviewed the scheduling of different types of court cases to see whether there was a longer wait time for those wishing to proceed in French (a common complaint). For short civil motions, there were at that time two days a month when parties could appear before a French-speaking judge; those bilingual days were often back to back at the same time of the month. This caused a longer wait time for many of those seeking a bilingual motion – not because there were not enough bilingual motion days, but simply because they were not spaced out. The SCJ, by making best efforts to space out the bilingual motions court, instead of having two at the same time in the month, was able to address the problem of this longer delay without the need for any additional bilingual sittings.

Switching court staff, Crowns or judges from one courtroom to another is often necessary to accommodate a French or bilingual hearing and this can be disruptive and stressful for those involved. With this in mind, CSD has started scheduling bilingual court staff in OCJ guilty plea courtrooms where there is a bilingual judge, when feasible, even if that courtroom is scheduled to hear English matters only. Similarly, if French documents are filed in family or Small Claims Court matters that are not otherwise scheduled as bilingual proceedings[55], the court office flags this and the matter is usually heard by a French judge, who will be in a position to read the complete file.

Some types of scheduling requiring collaboration between different partners do not necessarily involve the judiciary: for example, the V/WAP notifies the Crown’s Office in advance when a witness is French-speaking so that arrangements will be made in advance for a French-speaking assistant Crown attorney to be scheduled for that matter.

6.4 Working with Other Partners and Stakeholders

Various other partners within the courthouse collaborated with the Pilot Project team and Executive Lead to make Pilot Project initiatives possible:

Timeline Exceptions for Requesting Bilingual Proceeding

Tracking Bilingual Proceedings

Filing Documents in French

Identification of Bilingual Files

French Court Interpretation

Witnesses who Speak Neither English nor French

Court Transcripts

Reasons for Decision

Written Translations for Parties and/or Counsel

All official translations should be done by staff interpreter-translators, or by ministry vendors of record. (Procurement Directive – FLS Q&A)

Tools Available on CSD FLS Desktop Icon

Appendix M – Family Court of the SCJ (‘Unified Family Court’) Language Rights Tips

Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ)

Language Rights Tip Sheet

Requesting Bilingual Proceedings

(Exception: For Applicants the requisition or written statement referred to at “b” above must be filed at the time the application is commenced. (s. 5(5) O. Reg. 53/01)

Timeline Exceptions for Requesting Bilingual Proceeding

Tracking Bilingual Proceedings

Filing Documents in French

Identification of Bilingual Files

Written Translations for Parties and/or Counsel

All official translations should be done by staff interpreter-translators, or by ministry vendors of record. (Procurement Directive – FLS Q&A)

French Court Interpretation

Witnesses who Speak Neither English nor French

Court Transcripts

Reasons for Decision

Tools Available on CSD FLS Desktop Icon

Appendix N – Family Court of the OCJ Language Rights Tips

Family Court of the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ)

Language Rights Tip Sheet

Requesting Bilingual Proceedings

(Exception: For Applicants the requisition or written statement referred to at “b” above must be filed at the time the application is commenced. (s. 5(5) O. Reg. 53/01))

Timeline Exceptions for Requesting Bilingual Proceeding

Tracking Bilingual Proceedings

Filing Documents in French

Identification of Bilingual Files

Written Translations for Parties and/or Counsel

All official translations should be done by staff interpreter-translators, or by ministry vendors of record. (Procurement Directive – FLS Q&A)

French Court Interpretation

Witnesses who Speak Neither English nor French

Court Transcripts

Reasons for Decision

Tools available on CSD FLS Desktop Icon

Appendix O - SCJ Family Matters Language Rights Tips

Family matters in the Superior Court of Justice

(where there is no Family Court of the SCJ)

Language Rights Tip Sheet

Note: Family matters heard in the Superior Court of Justice (SCJ) where there is no Family Court of the SCJ (Unified Family Court) are heard as civil SCJ matters. The language rights below apply:

Requesting Bilingual Proceedings

(Exception: For Applicants the requisition or written statement referred to at “b” above must be filed at the time the application is commenced; (s. 5(5) O. Reg. 53/01))

Timeline Exceptions for Requesting Bilingual Proceeding

Tracking Bilingual Proceedings

Filing Documents in French

Identification of Bilingual Files

Written Translations for Parties and/or Counsel

All official translations should be done by staff interpreter-translators, or by ministry vendors of record. (Procurement Directive – FLS Q&A)

French Court Interpretation

Witnesses who Speak Neither English nor French

Court Transcripts

Reasons for Decision

Tools Available on CSD FLS Desktop Icon

Appendix P – Small Claims Language Rights Tips

Small Claims Court

Language Rights Tip Sheet

Requesting Bilingual Proceedings

Timeline Exceptions for Requesting Bilingual Proceeding

Tracking Bilingual Proceedings

Filing Documents in French

Identification of Bilingual Files

Written Translations for Parties and/or Counsel

Note: When the defendant requests the claim they have been served with to be translated, the defendant may serve and file a defence within 20 days … from when they received a translation of the claim, subject to judicial direction. (SCC Procedures Manual, Section 9).

All official translations should be done by staff interpreter-translators, or by ministry vendors of record. (Procurement Directive – FLS Q&A)

French Court Interpretation

Witnesses who Speak Neither English nor French

Court Transcripts

Reasons for Decision

Tools Available on CSD FLS Desktop Icon

Appendix Q - Summary of Recommended Best Practices[74]

Summary of Recommended Best Practices

French Language Services based on the Active Offer

Communication of Court-Specific French Language Rights

Partner and Stakeholder Collaboration

Delays and Perceived Delays

Statistics and Tracking

Rather than seeking numerical statistics, the following questions proved to be more relevant and to lead to concrete and effective solutions. These should be asked on a regular basis:

Training, Tools and Resources

Bilingual Capacity


[1] The court that is referred to traditionally and in this report as First Appearance Court has recently started being referred to as Case Management Court.

[2] https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2015/05/ontario-launches-pilot-to-strengthen-access-to-justice-in-french.html

[3] http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/fls_report_response/index.html

[4] http://csfontario.ca/en/rapports/ra1314/priorites-strategiques/justice/recommandation-4

[5] https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2014/10/strengthening-access-to-justice-in-french.html

[6] https://news.ontario.ca/mag/en/2015/05/ontario-launches-pilot-to-strengthen-access-to-justice-in-french.html

[7] Although there was no budget attached to the Pilot Project, some tools and resources were financed with project funding available to Court Services Division from the federal government under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on French Language Services.

[8] Case law can also provide direction on language rights issues and dictate practices. This section does not deal with case law, but only with the governing language rights legislation.

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

[10] 25 designated areas are shown on this map. The 26th area, the City of Markham, was designated in 2015 and has 3 years, until July 2018, to achieve full compliance with the FLSA.

[11] Ontario Regulation 284/11, Provision of French Language Services on behalf of Government Agencies, can be consulted at: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/source/regs/english/2011/elaws_src_regs_r11284_e.htm.

[12] Ontario Regulation 284/11, s. 2(2)

[13] Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46

[14] Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43

[15] A bilingual civil proceeding under the CJA may be a civil, family, Small Claims Court or Provincial Offences Act proceeding.

[16] http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-46/page-138.html#h-173

[17] Criminal Code of Canada, s. 530(3)

[18] An administrative inconvenience is not considered to be a valid reason to deny a late application.

[19] Criminal Code of Canada, s. 530.1 (e)(f)(g)(h)

[20] Criminal Code of Canada, s. 530.1(a)(b)(c.1), 530(6)

[21] Some judges and lawyers are of the opinion that the provisions set out in section 530 also apply to guilty pleas; however there is no general consensus on this point.

[22] Disclosure is a copy of the evidence that the Crown and police have collected to prosecute the case.

[23] POA and Court of Appeal matters are not heard in the Ottawa courthouse and did not form part of the Pilot Project. Specific language rights provisions relating to them have not been referenced in this report.

[24] https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice-ont/french_language_services/rights/designated_region.php

[25] Courts of Justice Act, ss. 126(2)1, 9, 5, 8; and O. Reg. 53/01, s. 11

[26] O. Reg. 53/01, s. 5(5)

[27] There are 17 Family Court of the SCJ locations in Ontario: Barrie, Bracebridge, Brockville, Cobourg, Cornwall, Hamilton, Kingston, L'Orignal, Lindsay, London, Napanee, Newmarket, Oshawa/Whitby, Ottawa, Perth, Peterborough, and St. Catharines. Where the Family Court branch exists, the court hears all family law matters. In all other sites across the province, family law matters are divided between the OCJ and the SCJ.

[28] There are currently four other court locations in Ontario that are designated under the FLSA and CJA and also have a Family Court of the SCJ: Cornwall, Hamilton, L’Orignal and London.

[29] The list of partners who agreed to post new signs is provided in Section 6 of this report.

[30] Then Secretary of Cabinet, Tony Dean, stated in the 2006 Framework for Action Report on

A Modern OPS that “high-quality modern public services … include an active offer and delivery of French language services to Ontario's Francophone citizens.” (http://sciencessociales.uottawa.ca/crfpp/sites/sciencessociales.uottawa.ca.crfpp/files/plan_strategique-avr2007_e.pdf)

[31] More recently, in May 2016, the FLS Commissioner for Ontario released a special report on the active offer of FLS highlighting “the need for the Government of Ontario to put concrete measures in place and acquire the tools that are needed for government ministries, agencies and entities and third parties that provide services on behalf of the government to implement the active offer of services in French”; and recommending that the necessary steps be taken to have the FLSA amended to include a provision on the active offer of FLS.

[32] http://csfontario.ca/en/articles/5807

[33] In this section of the report, general references to court staff or administrative staff refer to courthouse staff working at the counters and in the offices of the various Ministry divisions, and sometimes of Legal Aid duty counsel offices (and not to staff working in the courtroom). The specific involvement of each division can be found in the appropriate appendices.

[34] All accused persons have their first appearance(s) in the OCJ.

[35] The Pilot Project Executive Lead had explored the idea of flying a Franco-Ontarian flag outside the courthouse; however, this proved to be prohibitively expensive.

[36] The CSD 2015 Client Satisfaction Survey results showed that 92% of respondents at the Ottawa courthouse had been made aware that counter service was offered in French at that location.

[37] Further detail is provided for each Ministry division in the appendices at the end of the report.

[38] A list of the Pilot Project initiatives involving the Ottawa Police Service is included in Appendix I.

[39] CBRE (Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis) provides commercial real estate services.

[40] Access to Justice in French report, page 14

[41] There was no money allocated to the Pilot Project.

[42] Lawyers’ and paralegals’ obligations in this regard are entrenched in rule 3.2-2A of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct and rule 3.02(22) of the Paralegal Rules of Conduct.

[43] Association of French-speaking Jurists of Ontario

[44] The Centre also provides legal advice over the phone and to the whole province. It launched a toll-free telephone line in October 2016, with funding provided by Court Services Division under the Canada-Ontario Agreement on French Language Services.

[45] S. 530(3) of the Criminal Code

[46]To ensure that all accused, and not only those who were appearing for the first time, had been advised of their language rights, justices of the peace initially advised all accused appearing in that court of their rights for a given period of time.

[47] The court information is the document that sets out the criminal charges laid against an accused person.

[48] Access to Justice in French report, p. 26

[49] Although the Criminal Code does not use the wording “French trial” and can allow for the use of English in some circumstances during the trial, it was felt that the wording French trial constitutes a simpler and more easily understandable message than using the lengthier and more complicated wording of the Code, or complicating the message by referring to bilingual trials.

[50] As described in Section 2, there are other regions in the province where documents cannot necessarily be filed in French for civil proceedings.

[51] It was noted during the Pilot Project that the requisition form for a civil bilingual proceeding did not appear on the Ontario Court Form website, and that situation has been remedied.

[52] WASH stands for Weekends and Statutory Holidays.

[53] Although a bilingual OCJ judge should normally be available at 2:00 pm for this purpose, there could be a day where there is no such availability.

[54] Section 530 of the Criminal Code requires that the judicial official before whom accused persons first appear, ensure that they are aware of their language rights and the timelines in which to exercise them.

[55] Documents may be filed in French in all matters in the Small Claims Court and in the Family Court of the SCJ. For other types of civil matters, documents can only be filed in French if the proceeding is bilingual.

[56] Access to Justice in French report, page 26

[57] One courtroom is reserved every Friday for French trials of one day or less.

[58] Section 2 sets out what documents may be filed in French and what written translation is provided by the court on request of a party or counsel.

[59] Documents that are lengthy or that include technical terminology may be inappropriate for sight translation.

[60] Less than 5% of the population of Ontario identify as Francophone.

[61] Enhancing Access to Justice in French: A Response to the Access to Justice in French Report, 2015 (https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/fls_report_response/index.html)

[62] The snapshots of available dates to accommodate different types of matters in English and French do not take into account the availability of counsel or self-represented persons.

[63] Not all of these presentations were Pilot Project initiatives per se; however, they nevertheless had the result of enhancing language rights awareness on the part of justice professionals and supporting the objectives of the Pilot Project.

[64] These language rights tip sheets are attached as Appendices K to P.

[65] This software was also made available to CSD staff throughout the province.

[66] For staff at the beginner to intermediate level, a CD Rom version of this software is also available through the OCFLS.

[67] Of the 41 who registered, 19 were from CSD, 5 from CLD, 10 from V/WAP and 7 from LAO.

[68] Court Services Division staff throughout the province were also offered this learning opportunity.

[69] The Toolbox was initially produced several years ago by the OCFLS for use by staff of both Justice Sector ministries.

[70] Réseau en immigration francophone de l’Ontario

[71] Previous members from Court Services Division: Josée Boulianne, Michelle Flaro

[72] Previous member for Communications Branch: Maureen Lynch

[73] Previous member for Legal Aid Ontario: now Case Management Master Nathalie Champagne

[74] Appendices C to I may include additional best practices that relate to one or more justice partners.