French Language Services (FLS) Branch was created in May 2001 following the adoption of the Bilingualism Policy by City Council. FLS’ mandate is to work with the municipal government to ensure that the Bilingualism Policy is implemented. It works with City departments to ensure they proactively provide French language services to residents and employees. FLS also coordinates the City’s translation services.
Functions and services
To this end, FLS:
Supports the municipal administration and departments in the proactive delivery of French language services
On May 9, 2001, Ottawa City Council enacted the Bilingualism Policy, which reaffirms its commitment to offer 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 governing several aspects of municipal activity, notably communications; the proactive delivery of services in both languages to residents and staff; work organization, including the designation of bilingual positions; language training; and cultural program management.
The declaration of principle sums up City Council’s general objective at the time the Bilingualism Policy was adopted. It states, among other things, that “the City of Ottawa recognizes both official languages as having the same rights, status and privileges.”
The Bilingualism Policy also provides for the implementation of a mechanism to investigate complaints from residents and staff pertaining to the availability and quality of services in both official languages. This task is the responsibility of French Language Services. The branch itself is under the authority of the Office of the City Clerk, which is responsible for implementing the Policy.
Finally, the Policy provides for the creation of a standing advisory committee — the French Language Services Advisory Committee (FLSAC), which is responsible for providing recommendations to Ottawa City Council on issues impacting the implementation of the Bilingualism Policy and its application to City services, programs, policies and initiatives. Above all, the FLSAC is responsible for ensuring that its actions align with and complement Council’s strategic priorities.
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 Hospital; La Cité, is the largest French-language college of applied arts and technology in Ontario; the Festival franco-ontarien (Franco-Ontarian festival); and the Francophone community radio station Unique FM 94.5 (In French only).
Let’s celebrate La Francophonie
French Language Services conducts two major events annually, the Rendez-vous francophone du maire (Mayor’s annual Francophone gathering) and Franco-Ontarian Day. These events are two 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 eSubcription.
March – Rendez-vous francophone du maire
In recognition of the invaluable contributions and vitality of Ottawa’s Francophone community, once a year, Mayor Jim Watson welcomes community representatives and staff members during his annual Francophone breakfast. Numerous celebrations 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. In March, let’s celebrate the richness and vitality of Ottawa’s Francophone community!
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 25th 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.