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Bill S-222

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First Session, Forty-second Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-222
An Act for the promotion and advancement of Canada’s linguistic plurality
FIRST READING, MARCH 22, 2016
THE HONOURABLE SENATOR Jaffer
4210921


SUMMARY
This enactment establishes a national policy to promote and advance Canada’s linguistic plurality and requires the Minister of Canadian Heritage to take measures to implement this policy. It requires the Minister to prepare and cause to be laid before each House of Parliament an annual report on the operation of this Act.
Available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the following address:
http://www.parl.gc.ca


1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
SENATE OF CANADA
BILL S-222
An Act for the promotion and advancement of Canada’s linguistic plurality
Preamble
Whereas a language shared between individuals helps to maintain cultural ties and foster new friendships;
Whereas in the 2011 Census of Populations, Canadians reported using more than 200 of the languages spoken around the globe as a home language or mother tongue, including Canada’s two official languages and Aboriginal languages;
Whereas the linguistic plurality of the Canadian population is a valuable yet underused asset that has the potential to increase Canada’s competitiveness in and accessibility to world markets, yielding greater trade, commerce and international cooperation;
And whereas Canada would benefit from having a national policy for the promotion and advancement of its linguistic plurality;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short title

Short title
1This Act may be cited as the Linguistic Plurality Act.

Interpretation

Definitions
2The following definitions apply in this Act.
linguistic plurality refers to the multilingual character of Canada. (pluralité linguistique)
Minister means the Minister of Canadian Heritage. (ministre)

Purpose

Purpose
3(1) The purpose of this Act is to increase Canada’s international competitiveness in and accessibility to international markets and to facilitate its engagement and cooperation with international communities by promoting and advancing linguistic plurality.
English and French
(2) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed as to abrogate or derogate from the constitutional guarantees afforded to English and French under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or from the principles and purposes of the Official Languages Act.

Linguistic Plurality Policy of Canada

Policy
4It is hereby declared to be the policy of the Government of Canada to
(a) preserve and enhance the use of languages other than English and French while strengthening the status and use of the official languages of Canada;
(b) foster the recognition and appreciation of the socio-economic benefits of linguistic plurality, including the cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and opportunities that arise from interactions between individuals and communities when the means of communication is a shared language;
(c) recognize and promote the understanding that linguistic plurality is not only a characteristic of the historic make-up of the Canadian identity, but an asset that has the potential to increase Canada’s role in international trade, commerce and cooperation; and
(d) encourage and assist the social, cultural, economic, government and political institutions of Canada to make use of, as appropriate, and to derive benefit from the language skills and cultural understanding of individuals who speak languages other than English and French, in furtherance of international trade, commerce and cooperation.

Implementation of the Linguistic Plurality Policy of Canada

General responsibility
5The Minister, in consultation with other ministers of the Crown, must encourage and promote a coordinated approach to the implementation of the linguistic plurality policy of Canada and may provide advice and assistance in the development and implementation of programs and practices in support of that policy.
Specific mandate
6The Minister must take such measures as the Minister considers appropriate to implement the linguistic plurality policy of Canada, including, but not limited to,
(a) promoting, through public education and discussion, the acquisition, retention and use of languages other than the official languages, as well as the socio-economic benefits to Canada that accrue from that acquisition, retention and use;
(b) encouraging and supporting federal institutions, as defined in section 2 of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, to promote and facilitate the certification of language instructors, linguists, interpreters and translators, as well as the use of languages other than English or French as a means of communication;
(c) encouraging and supporting provincial, territorial, municipal and local authorities in working with various language communities to implement programs for the purposes of carrying out this Act;
(d) encouraging consultation in matters relating to languages between governments, institutions, organization and individuals interested in languages and linguistic plurality;
(e) encouraging and supporting programs that increase opportunities for Canadians to learn languages in Canada and abroad; and
(f) promoting the production and dissemination of Canadian-oriented materials related to the study of languages.
Arrangements with provinces
7The Minister or any other minister of the Crown may enter into an agreement or arrangement with any province for the purpose of implementing the linguistic plurality policy of Canada or to otherwise carry out the purpose of this Act.
Arrangements with foreign governments
8The Minister may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, enter into an agreement or arrangement with the government of any foreign state in order to foster linguistic plurality.
Consultation
9The Minister must take such measures as the Minister considers appropriate to ensure consultation with language communities in the design, development and implementation of policies and programs under this Act.

Regulations

Regulations
10The Governor in Council may make regulations for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this Act.

Annual Report

Annual report
11(1) The Minister must, as soon as possible after the end of each fiscal year, prepare and cause to be laid before each House of Parliament a report on the operation of this Act for that year.
Contents
(2) The Minister must include in the annual report
(a) a description of the measures the Minister has taken to carry out the purpose of this Act;
(b) an evaluation of the impact the measures have had and of the progress that has been made in carrying out the purpose of this Act;
(c) a description of the consultations undertaken by the Minister respecting the design, development and implementation of policies and programs under this Act; and
(d) a statement of the actions the Minister intends to take in the next fiscal year to carry out the purpose of this Act.

Coming into Force

Coming into Force
12This Act comes into force two years after the day on which it receives royal assent or on any earlier day that may be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
Published under authority of the Senate of Canada

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