Ontario Ombudsman launches nationwide search for French Language Services Commissioner

August 15, 2019

15 August 2019

Expert panel to assist in process; Ombudsman Dubé to act as commissioner in interim.

(TORONTO – August 15, 2019) Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé today announced the details of his plans to fill the role of French Language Services Commissioner within his office.

Mr. Dubé will choose the new commissioner with the assistance of an expert panel: Michel A. Carrier (Interim Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick), and Linda Cardinal (University of Ottawa professor and internationally recognized authority on language rights).

Under provincial legislation that took effect May 1, the Ombudsman was given the responsibilities of the formerly independent office of the French Language Services Commissioner, and required to create a position of commissioner at the level of deputy Ombudsman.

“My office takes our new responsibility for protecting and promoting the French language rights of Ontarians very seriously,” Mr. Dubé said. “The new commissioner, who will report directly to me, will be someone who has strong knowledge of and credibility within the franco-Ontarian community, as well as a keen sense of equity and fairness. I am honoured that two of Canada’s top authorities in this area have volunteered their time to assist in making this important choice.”

The full job posting can be found This link opens in a new tabonline.

The new commissioner is expected to be chosen by late fall, Mr. Dubé said. In the interim, the Ombudsman will serve as the commissioner, following the departure on August 15 of Acting Commissioner Jean-Gilles Pelletier, who was executive director of the former Office of the French Language Services Commissioner (FLSC) and continued to lead that office’s staff after they became the Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit as of May 1.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Jean-Gilles for his work in steering the team through a challenging transition period, which included successfully hosting the International Association of Language Commissioners’ annual conference in Toronto in late June,” Mr. Dubé said. “He has also been invaluable in helping us identify key ongoing issues of importance to the francophone community, and ensuring uninterrupted service to the public.”

The Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit, consisting of staff from the former FLSC, continues to respond to complaints and work on ongoing investigations. Since May 1, Mr. Dubé has met with several key stakeholders from Ontario’s francophone community and officials charged with the promotion of language rights across Canada and around the world. He is committed to fostering productive relationships that will help promote Ontarians’ rights under the French Language Services Act.


About the panel:

Michel A. Carrier was New Brunswick’s first Official Languages Commissioner, setting up the office in 2003 and holding the post until 2013. During this tenure, he established an efficient investigation process and undertook many initiatives to foster the advancement of both official languages in the province. He returned to the post in July 2018 and continues to serve as Interim Commissioner, pending the province’s search for a new permanent Commissioner. Mr. Carrier holds a law degree from the University of Ottawa. After practising law in the Fredericton area, he became the Executive Director of the Law Society of New Brunswick in 1988, a position he held until 2003. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in December 1999.

Linda Cardinal is a professor at the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, and leads research development at l'Université de l'Ontario français. From 2004 to 2019, she was the Chair in Canadian Francophonie and Public Policies at the University of Ottawa. She is internationally recognized for her work on the comparative analysis of language regimes, constitutionality, citizenship, and linguistic minorities. She has written and edited numerous works on language policy and the public participation of linguistic minorities in Canada, Quebec and Europe in the fields of justice, mental health, education and municipal politics. She was a member of the Board of Governors and the Senate at the University of Ottawa, as well as a member of the Council of Ontario Universities. In 2018, she was appointed to the Board of Governors of the Law Commission of Ontario and awarded the Ordre du mérite by the Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario. In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her research on public policy and language rights, the Bernard Grandmaître prize from the Association des communautés francophones d’Ottawa (ACFO) for her leadership and commitment and the Pillar of the Francophonie Award from the Assemblée de la francophonie de l’Ontario.

About Ombudsman Ontario:

The Ombudsman is an independent, impartial officer of the Ontario Legislature who resolves and investigates more than 25,000 public complaints per year about more than 1,000 public sector bodies. These include provincial government ministries, agencies, boards, commissions, corporations and tribunals; municipalities, universities and school boards; as well as child protection services and French language services. He also has the power to investigate broad systemic issues of maladministration. The Ombudsman’s recommendations have been overwhelmingly accepted, resulting in public sector improvements affecting millions of Ontarians.

Read more about the Ombudsman’s team structure and view the Office’s full organizational chart online.

Read more about the French Language Services Unit online.

For more information, contact:
Ashley Bursey, Communications Manager
416-586-3521, abursey@ombudsman.on.ca