Your Language Rights
Our two official languages, English and French, are a fundamental characteristic of Canadian identity. This is why throughout its history, our country has passed laws and adopted policies to better protect and promote its official languages.
The importance of our official languages is also recognized in the Canadian Constitution. In fact, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the Constitution, includes a series of language rights. Canada’s Official Languages Act clarifies the rights and obligations set out in the Charter.
The purpose of the Act is to:
- ensure respect for English and French and ensure equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in federal institutions;
- support the development of English and French linguistic minority communities; and
- advance the equal status and use of English and French.
The Official Languages Act does not apply to provincial and municipal governments, or to private businesses. However, certain provinces and territories have adopted policies and legislation to protect languages.