French Language Services Commissioner to investigate unilingual government out-of-home advertising

July 6, 2023

6 July 2023

Apparent absence of French in billboards and electronic panels raises concerns

(TORONTO – July 6, 2023) The French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario (Interim), Carl Bouchard, today announced that he is launching an investigation, on his own initiative, into the lack of French in the provincial government’s out-of-home (outdoor) advertising.

“We have noticed that French has been missing in recent advertising, in particular on some electronic panels, bus shelters and buses,” said Mr. Bouchard. “This raises serious questions about how government agencies communicate with Francophones in Ontario.”

The interim Commissioner initiated the investigation on his own motion to determine to what extent the French Language Services Act is being respected. There is no fixed deadline for the investigation; it will be completed as quickly as possible.

This is the second formal investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman under the French Language Services Act. It will be led by the Office’s French Language Services Unit.

Mr. Bouchard encourages anyone who has information relevant to this investigation to file a complaint online, to email, or to call 1-866-246-5262.

The Ombudsman is an independent, impartial Officer of the Ontario Legislature who resolves and investigates public complaints about provincial government bodies, as well as French language services, child protection services, municipalities, universities and school boards.

The Ombudsman recommends solutions to individual and systemic administrative problems. Within the Ombudsman’s Office, the French Language Services Commissioner resolves and investigates complaints, makes recommendations to improve the delivery of public services in French, and ensures the linguistic rights of Ontarians and the obligations of government bodies set out in the French Language Services Act are respected.

Media contacts:

Emmanuelle Bleytou
Communications Manager, French Language Services and Children and Youth Units

Josée Laperrière
Communications Officer, French Language Services Unit