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French Services

Canada adopted the Official Languages Act in July 1969 that recognizes the equal status of English and French throughout the federal administration. Its primary goal is to ensure that Canadian citizens have access to federal services in the official language of their choice. 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.

In Ontario, the French Language Services Act gives you the right to receive services in French (driver's licence, birth certificate, information, etc.) from Government of Ontario ministries and agencies in the offices located in or serving on of the 25 designated areas.

You can easily find the government service you need by using the Service Location Finder.

Tip: Look for this icon French Ontario government services icon for services in French.

Viens vivre en Ontario

Ceci est le logo de 'Viens vivre en Ontario'

Ontario's Municipal Francophone Immigration website, Viens vivre en Ontario (in French) provides local information about French services and local information on education, business, employment and health in various communities across Ontario.

Agencies that are partially funded by the province, such as hospitals, children's aid societies and seniors' residences are not automatically subject to the French Language Services Act. However, these agencies may ask to be officially designated, in which case Cabinet will enact a regulation to designate them as providers of services in French. Once designated, the agencies must provide French-language services just as the ministries do. To date, 217 agencies have agreed to provide some or all of their services in French.

Although provincial government services in French are offered in designated areas, everyday life in Ontario requires knowledge of English, as you may not find services in French for all of your every day needs, such as banking, shopping, using public transportation, etc.

Note: You can address language rights issues to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Language and your concerns about French services in designated areas to the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario.

HANDS-ON

 
I live in French.
 

Choose carefully
Ontario is not a bilingual province. If you need a strong French social network for you and your family, consider settling in a designated area of the province where government services are available in both French and English. Do an inventory of associations, health and cultural centres, schools, doctors, library programs and other French services that your town of choice offers before you settle in.

Tip: Use the regional French services directories (all links are in French) found on Etablissement.org for the areas of Hamilton, Ottawa, London-Sarnia, Toronto, Sudbury and Windsor. You can also use the French local directories found on Franco culture sites, such as the ones for Huronia and Chapleau.

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