Infuriated by the poor record of Air Canada’s official languages, the official languages commissioner now requires parliamentary tools to force the airline to comply with his obligations.
Graham Fraser wanted to make sure to mark the occasion: in an unusual move, he filed a special report to Parliament, covering only Air Canada.
The carrier is a bad student in regard to bilingualism and nothing seems to work for it improves his grades. Impact: The Commissioner of Official Languages requests changes to the law to give it more teeth.
To tighten the screw in Air Canada, Fraser has four tracks, including the imposition of fines for non-compliance with its obligation to provide bilingual services.
The law could also be amended to allow the court to impose statutory damages for infringement, without having to prove harm. The introduction of administrative monetary penalties to encourage compliance with the law is another possibility. The Commissioner may also have the power to sign binding agreements with Air Canada on the issue.
Mr. Fraser asks parliamentarians to study these four options “with all urgency and priority” on one of the two committees on official languages.
In a letter sent to the Commissioner, Air Canada is of the view that a special report – a measure that has been used another time in the past – was not justified. It also reports that the number of complaints against the carrier remained stable, hovering around 50 each year.