Federal institutions having specific official languages responsibilities

Department of Justice
The Department of Justice was responsible for developing the 1988 Official Languages Act and works closely with the Treasury Board. The Minister of Justice retains general responsibility for the Act and works closely with the Treasury Board and the Department of the Canadian Heritage. The major role of the Department is to advise the government on official-language issues relating to law, legislation and legal policy, and to prepare the government's position in litigation involving official-language rights. The Department also has special responsibilities with respect to the administration of justice in both official languages.

Department of Justice
Justice Building
239 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
KlA 0H8
(613) 957-4222

Treasury Board Secretariat
The Treasury Board Secretariat is a central agency responsible for the development and coordination of federal policies and programs relating to communication with and service to the public, language of work and equitable participation of English-and French-speaking Canadians in the federal public service.

Treasury Board Secretariat
L'Esplanade Laurier
140 O'Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario
KlA 0R5
(613) 957-2400

Department of Canadian Heritage
The Department of Canadian Heritage has been given responsibility for coordinating the federal government's commitment to helping official-language minority communities by supporting various groups working for these communities, and by facilitating the contributions of other federal departments and agencies to their development.

The Department also concludes official languages agreements with the provinces and territories to provide schooling to members of the official-language minority communities in their own language, increased opportunities for everyone to learn English or French as a second language, and services in English and French in regions of Canada where these minorities are found.

The Department of Canadian Heritage helps promote English and French in Canadian society by providing support to various groups that help recognize and put into practice the use of both official languages or create understanding and dialogue between the English- and French-speaking communities of Canada.

Department Canadian Heritage
Jules Léger Building
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
15 Eddy St.
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M5
Tel:(819) 994-0943 
Fax:(819) 953-6580

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
It is the duty of the Commissioner of Official Languages to ensure that federal institutions comply with the spirit and intent of the Act. The Commissioner's main role is that of a linguistic ombudsman to receive and investigate complaints against federal institutions about their duties in the area of official languages. The Commissioner may also take action on his or her own initiative.

The Commissioner regularly conducts investigations within federal institutions and makes reports and recommendations to them as well as to the government and to Parliament.

Commissioner of Official Languages
344 Slater Street, 3rd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario
KlA 0T8
(613) 996-6368

Federal Court of Canada
The Act provides the public with a right to seek a remedy before the Federal Court of Canada if federal institutions do not comply with certain rights and duties, including those concerning service to the public. A complaint is first filed with the Commissioner of Official Languages. If the complainant is not satisfied with the results of the Commissioner's investigation, or if the results of the Commissioner's investigation are not communicated within six months of filing the complaint, he or she may then apply to the Federal Court for a remedy.

With the complainant's consent, the Commissioner may apply to the Federal Court for a remedy, appear before the Court on behalf of the complainant, or, with the Court's permission, intervene as a party.

If, after having heard the case, the Court rules that the federal institution concerned has not complied with the Act, the Court may order whatever remedy it considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

Federal Court of Canada
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1A 0H9

The Public Service Commission of Canada
The Public Service Commission is a central agency that is responsible for the administration of the Public Service Employment Act. The Commission promotes the equitable representation of both official-language groups and is responsible for the provision of language training in English or French to public servants.

Public Service Commission of Canada
L'Esplanade Laurier
300 Laurier Avenue West, West Tower
Ottawa, Ontario
KlA 0M7
(613) 995-5010

Senate Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages (LANG)

Departments, agencies and Crown corporations
All federal institutions are subject to the Act, and in particular, to those parts dealing with service to the public, language of work and equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians in federal institutions. They must implement the official languages policies and programs of the Treasury Board Secretariat. Each department signs an agreement with the Treasury Board Secretariat on the planning and management of its responsibilities pertaining to official languages.

Interdepartmental Coordination