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CBC/Radio-Canada’s Language Obligations: Communities Want to See Themselves and Be Heard Coast to Coast!

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About the Study

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What is the Official Languages Act?

The Official Languages Act provides that English and French are the official languages of Canada and have equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use. The Act supports the development of English and French linguistic minority communities and fosters the advancement of equality of status and use of English and French. The Act applies to federal institutions, including CBC/Radio-Canada.

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What is the Broadcasting Act?

The Broadcasting Act sets out the parameters within which the Canadian broadcasting system operates. It emphasizes the creation and presentation of Canadian programming. The Act identifies CBC/Radio-Canada as the national public broadcaster, provides a framework for its operations and sets out the elements that must be part of its programming.

Which aspects of the Broadcasting Act were addressed in the study?

The goal of the Senate Committee’s study was to determine whether CBC/Radio-Canada is meeting the requirements of the Broadcasting Act. Three specific aspects of the Broadcasting Act were examined: 

  • offer of services in both official languages; 
  • equivalent quality; and
  • reflection of regional diversity.

Which aspects of the Official Languages Act were addressed in the study?

The goal of the Senate Committee’s study was to determine whether CBC/Radio-Canada is meeting the requirements of the Official Languages Act. Two aspects of the Official Languages Act were examined:

  • communications with and services to the public; and
  • the vitality of official-language minority communities and advancement of linguistic duality. 
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How does CBC/Radio-Canada contribute to the advancement of the two official languages?

“CBC/Radio-Canada’s services make a unique contribution to achieving the principles underlying federal language policy, namely national equality of English and French, respect for language rights and the vitality of [official-language minority communities].”

Graham Fraser, Commissioner of Official Languages

“As a national public broadcaster, the CBC should be a pan-Canadian service that reflects and serves the needs of all Canadians in both official languages regardless of where they live.”

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Senators who participated in this study

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Chair
Claudette Tardif
Lib. - (Alberta)

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Deputy Chair
Andrée Champagne
C - (Grandville - Quebec)

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Lynn Beyak
C - (Ontario)

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Maria Chaput
Lib. - (Manitoba)

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Marie-P. Charette-Poulin
Lib. - (Northern Ontario - Ontario)

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Suzanne Fortin-Duplessis
C - (Rougemont - Quebec)

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Paul E. McIntyre
C - (New Brunswick)

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Rose-May Poirier
C - (Saint-Louis-de-Kent - New Brunswick)

Former Committee members who have participated in this study:
The Honourable Senators De Bané, P.C. (retired), Losier-Cool (retired), Mockler and Robichaud, P.C.

Ex-officio members of the committee:
The Honourable Senators Claude Carignan, P.C. (or Yonah Martin) and James S. Cowan (or Joan Fraser)

Other Senators who have participated from time to time in the study:
The Honourable Senators Bellemare, Boisvenu, Buth, Callbeck, Comeau, P.C., Dawson, Demers, Marshall, McInnis, Ringuette, Rivard and Segal

Contact information

General Information:
613-990-0088 or 1-800-267-7362

Email: ollo@sen.parl.gc.ca

Mailing Address:
Senate Committee on Official Languages
The Senate of Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada, K1A 0A4