Every year on March 20, francophones and francophiles around the world mark the International Day of La Francophonie. With the theme of En français… s’il vous plaît [In French…please], 220 million Francophones and friends worldwide celebrate their language and culture. They share its diversity through word contests, shows, film festivals, literary meetings, culinary events, art exhibits and more.
This year, there is one more reason to celebrate, as 50 years ago, Canada adopted the Official Languages Act. The act established the equality of status of French and English. The act sets out broad principles with respect to official languages in the federal public service.
This fundamental law has given Canadians a model of living together that is the envy of many countries – something to be collectively proud of.
In some regions, employees of federal institutions have the right to work in their official language of choice. These public servants can access work tools, receive supervision and training, prepare documents and speak during meetings in their preferred official language. The list of these regions, established in 1977, no longer takes into account the realities of today’s federal public service, such as working remotely and virtual work teams.