French Language Services

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About us

French Language Services (FLS) plays an important role in supporting City departments in providing quality municipal services in French to its residents and staff. FLS supports mutual respect and recognition of both official languages in accordance with the City’s Bilingualism By-law No. 2001-170 and Bilingualism Policy.

The Bilingualism Policy identifies several priorities for action by FLS including translation services, complaint resolution, coordination and support to the development of annual departmental operational plans, interpretation services for Committees and City Council, and the promotion and active offer of French-language services.

FLS supports all City departments in the delivery of municipal services in French to residents and City staff by:

  • Assisting departments in developing, implementing and evaluating programs and services offered in French.
  • Working with internal stakeholders to ensure a Francophone lens is applied when planning for municipal projects and offers expertise on best practices related to French-language services delivery.
  • Working with departments to develop departmental operational plans to improve the delivery of French-language services throughout the organization.
  • Receiving and handling City-wide complaints pertaining to French-language services.
  • Assisting departments in adapting their communications strategies and outreach for the Francophone community.
  • Actively engaging with the Francophone community by organizing activities and liaising with key stakeholders.
  • Supporting the French Language Services Advisory Committee (FLSAC) in carrying out its mandate.
  • Supporting the City’s membership to the Association française des municipalités de l’Ontario (AFMO) by sitting on its Board of Directors.
  • Coordinating all City-wide translation and simultaneous interpretation services.

Questions or comments about municipal services in French

For questions or comments pertaining to French-language services at the City of Ottawa, please contact FLS:

Bilingualism Policy

On May 1, 2001, the City’s former Corporate Services & Economic Development Committee carried recommendations to amend the former City of Ottawa’s Bilingualism Policy.

On May 9, 2001, City Council passed the Bilingualism By-law No. 2001-170 that recognized the City’s bilingual character and enacted a citizen’s right to communicate and receive services in English and French in accordance with the Bilingualism Policy.

At the same meeting, City Council enacted the Bilingualism Policy, which reaffirmed its commitment to offering municipal services in English and French to both residents and staff. The Bilingualism Policy is based largely on that of the former City of Ottawa and is deemed to be both practical and flexible in its approach.

The Bilingualism Policy contains provisions that govern several aspects of bilingual municipal services. This includes communications, the proactive delivery of municipal services in both languages to residents and staff, and organizational requirements such as the designation of bilingual positions, language training, and cultural program management.

The Bilingualism Policy requires the City to establish the French Language Services Advisory Committee whose mandate is to advise the City Council on issues that impact the implementation of the Bilingualism Policy and its application to the City’s services, programs, policies, and initiatives.

Complaints regarding municipal French-language services

French Language Services (FLS) is responsible for managing, investigating, and responding to all concerns relating to the provision of municipal French-language services for the City. The City adheres to strict service standards in the handling of all complaints received through the Corporate Complaints mechanism and FLS reports publicly on these complaints on an annual basis through the Office of the City Clerk’s Annual Report to City Council.

Complaints regarding French-language services can be submitted through the Office of the City Clerk online form.

Annual Francophone events

A bit of history 

When the village of Bytown was founded in 1826, the area already had a large Francophone population. Bytown became the City of Ottawa in 1855 and was named Canada’s capital in 1867.

The Francophone community made many significant contributions to the city’s creation. For example, the Ottawa Hospital was founded in 1860 by the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa, under Élisabeth Bruyère’s direction, and the University of Ottawa was founded by the Oblate Fathers.

Over the years, many other Francophone institutions and initiatives have emerged in a variety of fields, including education, economics, health, community social services, recreation, and arts and culture. Some examples include the Montfort HospitalLa Cité, is the largest French-language college of applied arts and technology in Ontario; the Festival franco-ontarien (link is in French only); and the Francophone community radio station Unique FM 94.5 (In French only).

Let’s Celebrate La Francophonie

French Language Services and the Office of Protocol conduct two major events annually, the annual Francophone RendezVous with the Mayor and the Franco-Ontarian Day. These events are great opportunities to learn about and celebrate the many facets of this dynamic and vibrant community while helping to make Ottawa a great place to live. To be invited to upcoming Francophone events at City Hall and join the celebrations, subscribe to eSubscription.

March – Francophone RendezVous with the Mayor

In recognition of the invaluable contributions and vitality of Ottawa’s Francophone community, once a year, the Mayor welcomes community representatives and staff members during his annual Francophone breakfast.

On March 21, 2024, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe hosted the 17th Francophone RendezVous with the Mayor at Ottawa City Hall. La Cité, the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University co-hosted this year’s event, which highlighted their significant contributions to francophone and bilingual post-secondary education in Ottawa and support in making Ottawa a destination of choice to live, learn, work, play, invest, and visit.

Mayor Sutcliffe presenting the proclamation to Réjean Thibault from Collège La Cité, Sylvain Charbonneau from University of Ottawa, and Louis Patrick Leroux from Saint-Paul University.

Numerous other events and activities are held during the month of March throughout the world as part of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. For information on this year’s theme and to discover the host of local activities that are planned, visit Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie’s website.

September – Franco-Ontarian Day

Franco-Ontarian Flag

Celebrate Franco-Ontarian Day on September 25th with over 622,340 Francophones in Ontario. Almost one quarter of Franco-Ontarians live right here in Ottawa! That’s Canada’s largest francophone community outside of Quebec. The province officially named September 25 Franco-Ontarian Day in 2010. On this day we recognize and celebrate the contributions of the Francophone community to the development of Ontario’s culture, history, society, economy and political structure.

The Franco-Ontarian flag flew for the first time on September 25, 1975, at the University of Sudbury. It was designed by history professor Gaétan Gervais and political science student Michel Dupuis. The flag became the symbol of the Franco-Ontarian community and was officially recognized in 2001. 

Did you know?

  • La Francophonie in Canada consists of over 7 million people who have chosen to live across the country.
  • Almost a quarter of Franco-Ontarians live in the Ottawa area.
  • Every year since 2006, the City of Ottawa has marked the anniversary of the Franco-Ontarian flag.
  • There are 18 Franco-Ontarian Monuments in the province, including eight located in different areas of Ottawa. More information on the 18 monuments is available online (In French only).
  • Here are the names of some Franco-Ontarian celebrities who hail from Ottawa:
    • Alanis Morissette
    • Alex Trebek
    • Patrick Groulx
    • Chantal Hébert
  • Close to 15 per cent of Ottawa’s population have indicated having French as their mother tongue during the 2021 Census.

For more information on Ottawa’s francophone community consult the French Mother Tongue (FMT) population by Ward 2011‐2016 Comparison Chart [PDF - 0.35M].