Airport Complaint Highlights Ontario’s French Services Shortage

Posted on: September 17th, 2015 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar says an incident involving a man who asked for service in French on a Porter Airlines flight and at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport shines a spotlight on the dearth of French-language services for Francophones in Ontario.

“This case – and others like it – exposes the shocking inequalities that exist for people who want to access French-language services in Ontario,” she tells

Deliscar notes that while Ontario isn’t an officially bilingual province, such as New Brunswick, this man’s complaint really highlights the shortage of services for Francophones in this part of the country.

“This could be seen as a human rights issue for discrimination based on one’s language and ethnic group,” she says.

The Office of the Official Languages Commissioner is investigating a complaint against the Toronto city airport from a Francophone Toronto man who says he was escorted off a Porter Airlines flight “like a terrorist” after demanding service in French, reports Yahoo.

Le Droit newspaper first reported that Louis Labrecque was on a Porter flight from Montreal to Toronto on July 1 when he asked for a “jus de pomme.” A flight attendant told him that they did not speak French. Then, nearing the end of the flight, he was given a safety instruction in English and that’s when he raised his voice, the newspaper reported.

He was escorted off the plane by three security agents, none of whom spoke French, and the man had to wait 10 minutes at the airport until a French-speaking agent arrived. He says he was “humiliated” by the experience, says the article.

Labrecque, who says he has made many complaints about language to the commission over the last 30 years, had initially filed complaints against Porter and Ports Toronto, which operates the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, but the complaint against Porter was dismissed.

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