About us

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is at your service!

Since Canada was created in 1867, our official languages, English and French, have shared an equal role in the development of our country’s cultural and political identity. The British North America Act of 1867 established that the records and laws of the Parliament of Canada must be produced in both English and French. The British North America Act also established that either English or French may be used in the houses of the Parliament of Canada and in Federal Court hearings.

In 1969, the Parliament of Canada adopted the first Official Languages Act, following the work and recommendations of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. The Official Languages Act established the role of the Commissioner of Official Languages, and Keith Spicer was appointed as Canada’s first commissioner of official languages in 1970.

Canada’s commissioner of official languages is an agent of Parliament whose mandate is to promote the Official Languages Act and oversee its full implementation. The Commissioner also acts as Canada’s official languages ombudsman, whose duty is to protect the language rights of Canadians and promote linguistic duality and bilingualism across Canada.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages supports the Commissioner of Official Languages in protecting language rights and promoting English and French in Canadian society. The Commissioner of Official Languages works with staff members across Canada. His head office is in Gatineau, Quebec, and there are five regional offices.

Find out more

For a closer look at the activities of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and historical official languages events that have helped to shape our great country, we invite you to visit the following sections:

Date modified:
2017-09-27