Filing of French documents will be available in all Ontario courthouses
TORONTO — The Ontario government is building on its work to strengthen access to justice by enabling document filing in French at all Ontario courthouses. These changes, which will also expand access to translation of documents, will come into force on February 1, 2022, and will be available in every type of proceeding, including criminal, civil and family law matters.
“We are determined to work with justice partners and participants to accelerate access to justice across Ontario, including in Francophone, rural and Northern communities,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Expanding the filing of documents in French to all Ontario courthouses is another important breakthrough in our work to better meet expectations for how justice can be done.”
The changes, introduced in the Accelerating Access to Justice Act would provide a better, more consistent experience for Francophones accessing the court system, including having the right to:
- file documents written in French at all Ontario courts, in all types of proceedings
- request and receive the translation of any filed document into English or documents filed in English into French
“Franco-Ontarians deserve to have access to justice in French,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs. “This Act will strengthen French language services in courthouses across the province. It is an additional step forward that highlights our government’s commitment to our Francophonie and our determination to support its full development.”
These latest updates build on Ontario’s work to increase access to justice for Francophones, including action plans implemented in North Bay and Sudbury in partnership with the Superior and Ontario Courts of Justice. Like a previous pilot project in Ottawa, these action plans have developed best practices that can be implemented locally and across the province to improve services for francophones.
“Ontario’s Francophone community holds an important and unique position in our province’s past, present and future,” said Downey. “Our government is committed to respecting, protecting and advancing the fundamental rights, gains and progress that Franco-Ontarians have worked for over the course of generations.”
- 1.5 million Ontarians speak French and more than 620,000 Ontarians identify as Francophones. Ontario has the largest French-speaking community in Canada outside of Quebec.
- Since it was proclaimed in 2010, Franco-Ontarian Day has been celebrated on September 25th.
- Between 2015 and 2017, the government carried out a pilot project at the Ottawa courthouse to provide timely and seamless access to justice in French, followed by pilots in Sudbury and North Bay.
- The Access to Justice in French Advisory Committee was created in 2018 to provide ongoing advice and guidance to the Attorney General about the development of strategies to increase access to justice in French.
Source Province of Ontario