Official Languages

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Canada’s Federal Public Service is a powerful symbol of the national linguistic duality and plays a critical role in the protection and promotion of the official languages. Federal public service employees as a whole and the Translation Bureau specifically, are official languages champions but are not always empowered to lead effectively to live up to the expectations placed upon them by the employer and by Canadians who are expecting to receive high quality communication in both official languages.

CAPE acknowledges several challenges that are of concern to our members as they are inhibiting their ability to effectively champion Canada’s official languages. For one, CAPE believes the Translation Bureau is the emblem and protector of federal bilingualism and should have its status restored to being Canada’s Center of Linguistic Excellence as it was in 1994. The Translation Bureau needs to regain complete control over the quality, workflow, and management of vendors to improve language coherence, quality, and uniformity across the federal service, to better manage employee time management and well being and curb service and operational costs.

CAPE also acknowledges issues around language training noting that it is inconsistently prioritized and supported by executives. It is also concerned over lack of monitoring and control of senior management’s language performance. In addition, CAPE notes that some French speaking public service employees feel at a disadvantage in the federal workplace and report pervasive inequality in the use and protection of French in the federal public service, despite their right to 'work in the language of their choice.'

Furthermore, CAPE supports the recommendations made by the Official Languages Committee of the National Joint Council in its 2018 report. CAPE has also presented its own recommendations to the federal government since 2016, appearing before parliamentary committees and joining consultations in the context of the review of Canada’s linguistic legal framework.

Generally, CAPE calls on the Government of Canada to make the Translation Bureau the Federal Government's Official Language Centre of Excellence and to implement an action plan to give public service employees the opportunity to become proficient and maintain their proficiency in a second official language.


  • June 15, 2021 – Introduction of Bill C-32 - an Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English and the Strengthening of the Official Languages Act
  • April 26, 2019 – CAPE participates in Montreal’s consultation for the Review of the Official Languages Act.

Publications, Tools and References