Language rights pilot should be expanded provincewide

Posted on: December 13th, 2017 by Suzanne Deliscar Add A Comment

An Ottawa pilot project that improved the communication of language rights in civil and criminal matters should be expanded provincewide, Brampton lawyer-linguist Suzanne Deliscar tells

The provincial government recently released its final report on the Seamless Access to Justice in French pilot project, which ran for 18 months from mid-2015 at the Ottawa courthouse.

The report describes the project as the first time a “collaborative effort has been made in a specific location to enhance access to justice in French and to address potential challenges faced by francophones seeking to access services in French, or to exercise their language rights under the Courts of Justice Act or the Criminal Code of Canada.

“This is really helpful because there is a great deal of confusion among francophone litigants as to what their rights are to service in French,” says Deliscar, principal of Deliscar Professional Corporation, a law firm that offers services in English, French and Spanish.

“There also needs to be education of court staff on these points all over the province because people are not always aware, even in areas with a high volume of French speakers,” she adds.

Much of Deliscar’s practice involves family law matters, and she says French-speaking clients would particularly benefit from some of the ideas developed during the pilot project.

For instance, project staff worked with the providers of the family law mandatory information program, which must be attended by all family law litigants, to include sessions with details on how to request a bilingual proceeding, as well as how to contact a bilingual lawyer.

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