Official languages commissioner will be able to ‘impose orders’ on Air Canada, minister says

The Commissioner of Official Languages will be capable of “impose orders” on Air Canada, Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor mentioned Wednesday.

The minister was showing earlier than a parliamentary committee following the tabling, earlier this month, of her proposal to modernize the Official Languages Act.

A number of Conservative MPs took turns declaring that this new model of the legislation doesn’t have sufficient enamel, citing the “administrative financial penalties” of as much as $25,000 that might be imposed on offenders.

“Air Canada did $8 billion in gross sales in 2019, earlier than the pandemic … $25,000 for a advantageous! Do you suppose we’ll shake the columns of the temple of Air Canada with that?” requested the MP Bernard Généreux.

Taylor replied that whereas the sanctions and fines are “tangible,” the opposite powers will probably be way more efficient.

“The order-making energy is actually what is going on to have extra enamel for firms like Air Canada,” she mentioned in one other alternate.

Taylor insisted that the official languages commissioner will be capable of “impose orders” w. at the moment he can solely “examine and report.”

“He wished extra instruments, that is precisely what we delivered,” she mentioned.

After the committee assembly, Genéreux mentioned he’ll work to make clear the that means and scope of the order-making energy.

“That is actually elementary,” he mentioned. “If the Commissioner of Official Languages has the facility to difficulty an order to any firm within the transportation sector in Canada that’s topic to the Act, it might probably go very far.”

Many MPs have been stunned to be taught from the minister that Air Canada will now not be the one airline topic to the Official Languages Act.

Throughout the introduction of the invoice, Taylor had indicated that solely 4 passenger transportation firms have been affected: Air Canada, By way of Rail, the airport authorities and Marine Atlantic.

Requested to make clear her feedback on Wednesday, she advised The Canadian Press that in Quebec “all personal firms underneath federal jurisdiction will probably be topic to the legislation” and that “outdoors Quebec, it would solely be in areas with a powerful francophone presence.”

In different phrases, an airline corresponding to Westjet, for instance, could be topic to the act solely within the “areas with a powerful francophone presence” w. it operates, she mentioned.

The areas in query will probably be laid out in a regulation to be drafted solely after the legislation has acquired Royal Assent, a state of affairs that “worries” Généreux. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed in French on March 23, 2022. 


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