CAPE, Bloc Québécois explore solutions to interpreters’ health and safety concerns


Meeting Bloc 3

Thursday April 28, 2022 - OTTAWA – Improvements to federal interpreters’ working conditions was the focus of a recent meeting between the Canadian Association of Professional Employees (CAPE) and the Bloc Québécois.

On Friday, April 22, CAPE President Greg Phillips met with Bloc Québécois party whip Claude DeBellefeuille, also a member of the Board of Internal Economy, and Mario Beaulieu, Official Languages critic and Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Official Languages, to review CAPE’s proposed solutions.

Threats to the health and safety of federal interpreters, which in several cases have resulted in injuries, have been at the center of a two-year-long struggle with the federal government. The level of frustration has escalated because of the slow response and inadequate corrective measures applied since CAPE’s first appeal in 2020. CAPE has been raising the alarm with the government since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting took place following the submission of CAPE’s brief on this issue to the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy (BOIE). The BOIE started investigating this issue on February 17th, meeting with key witnesses to better assess the problem and respond adequately. The BOIE’s involvement is a potential game-changer, as it has the capacity make binding decisions.

DeBellefeuille has been championing the urgent pursuit of a remedy and went on the record recognizing the seriousness of the problem. And like CAPE, DeBellefeuille and Beaulieu understand that “there is no bilingualism without interpreters,” recognizing that this is no ordinary administrative issue of secondary importance, but rather a situation that could eventually affect that government’s ability to live up to its bilingualism mandate.

Both MPs committed to working collaboratively with CAPE to see a resolution of this issue.

CAPE has met with all five political parties represented in Parliament since the issue was flagged. CAPE continues to work with the Government and opposition parties towards building more political support to see that the recent recommendations made to the BOIE are adopted and enforced.

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In attendance

From the Bloc Québécois

Mme. Claude DeBellefeuille               BQ party whip and member of the Board of Internal Economy

M. Mario Beaulieu                                 Official Languages critic and Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on Official Languages

Carl Pilotte                                               Researcher (MP Claude DeBellefeuille)

Jonathan Beauchamp                           Member’s Assistance (MP Mario Beaulieu)


Participants from CAPE

Greg Phillips                                           President

Jennifer George                                      Senior Advisor to the President

Dina Epale                                               Senior Advocacy and Public Affairs Advisor