French Language Services Policy

Type: Operational

Target audience: Public

1.0 Rationale

The French Language Services Act, R.S. 1990 (FLS Act) applies to all Ontario government ministries and agencies and protects the rights of French-speaking people in Ontario. The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) recognizes its responsibilities under the FLS Act to actively offer French language services to French speaking clients and to consider the Francophone communities in its communications plans, strategies, and service delivery models.

2.0 Scope

This policy applies to all OTF services, programs, functions, and departments.

The obligations of this policy do not apply to the internal business language of OTF, which is conducted in English. Internal business involves interactions between OTF employees, volunteers, Board of Directors, and Government.

3.0 Purpose

This policy outlines OTF’s compliance with the FLS Act and its commitment in guaranteeing that all persons and corporate entities have the right to actively receive French language services.

4.0 Policy

OTF will actively offer French language services and comply with the FLS Act which guarantees that all persons and corporate entities have the right to receive services from OTF in French. OTF recognizes the needs and expectations of Ontario’s Francophone communities and is committed to delivering quality services in French.

5.0 Active Offer

5.1 General Communications

Francophone groups or individuals will receive service-related information in their language of choice. French speaking clients will have equal access to quality French language services. This includes initial contact with OTF, front-line support, program and grants expertise, applicant support and throughout communications and interactions with OTF. The availability and quality of all French language services will be equivalent to that provided in English.

5.2 Written Communications

All written material (print or digital) related to OTF services that is provided to the public for display or distribution will be available simultaneously in English and French and will be equal in quality and content. This includes, but is not limited to: signage, stationery, public notices, announcements, grant applications, resources, advertisements, public relations material, and social media posts. English documents will include a message in French stating that the document is also available in French. 

All communication received in French will be replied to in French following OTF standards and delivered in the same manner as those established for English correspondence.

5.3 Verbal Communications

When French speaking clients contact OTF by phone, the first point of contact with employees will include a greeting in both official languages, French and English. If the employee is not able to communicate to the French speaking client in their language of choice, the client will be immediately directed to an employee in a designated bilingual position.

OTF’s automated telephone services will be available in French and English, including the interactive voice response system. Employees in designated bilingual positions will provide information in both French and English in their voicemail and e-mail signatures. Employees in non-designated bilingual positions who serve the public will have a French greeting in their voicemail.

6.0 Roles and Accountability

6.1 Chief Executive Officer

The overall responsibility for the provision of quality French language services rests with OTF’s Chief Executive Officer. 

While this ultimate responsibility cannot be delegated, all employees who provide services to clients are accountable for the delivery of French language services as part of their professional obligations. Delivering quality French language services will be in accordance with established performance standards related to the core responsibilities of the role and the core values and culture of OTF.

6.2 Francophone Liaison

The Francophone Liaison acts as an expert resource and strategic advisor on French language services.

The Francophone Liaison is responsible for:

  • advising OTF’s Senior Leadership Team on matters related to the planning, development, implementation, and monitoring of French language services for continuous improvement and strengthening of French language services at OTF.
  • ensuring OTF’s French Language Services policy aligns with the FLS Act and is reviewed and updated every two years to ensure that it reflects the most recent and applicable legal developments of the FLS Act.
  • establishing and maintaining relationships with relevant provincial ministries and the Ministry of Francophone Affairs of Ontario. 
  • integrating the interests of Ontario’s diverse Francophone communities, as well as its needs, issues, and priorities with the directions of OTF and those of the relevant provincial ministries and the Ministry of Francophone Affairs of Ontario.

6.3 Department Heads and Directors

Department Heads and Directors are responsible for:

  • ensuring their department and/or respective teams deliver French language services in accordance with this policy and the FLS Act.
  • ensuring their department and/or teams have sufficient designated bilingual employees available to actively offer French language services. 
  • ensuring French language service requirements are considered and integrated in their service delivery models, activities, and channels of communication to meet the French language services requirements and the needs of the local Francophone community.

6.4 Employees

Employees are responsible for:

  • possessing the necessary French linguistic skills to deliver timely and effective information. This only applies to employees in bilingual designated positions.
  • being familiar with OTF’s French language services, the obligations under the FLS Act and this policy.
  • offering French language services to each client from the first point of contact with OTF. 
  • promptly directing French speaking clients to an employee in a designated bilingual position should they not be able to provide services in French.

7.0 Application Assessment Decisions

Every year, OTF reviews more than 3,000 grant applications and awards hundreds of grants to build healthy and vibrant communities in Ontario. 

OTF grant applications can be submitted in either of the official languages, French or English, and will be reviewed and assessed in their language of submission. Grant applications submitted in French or from a Francophone organization will be assessed in French by an OTF employee in a designated bilingual position and by a panel of Francophone volunteers. This process ensures the integrity and tone of French grant applications is maintained during the full assessment process. Follow up discussions regarding funding decisions for grant applications submitted in French will be actively offered in French.

8.0 Inquiries

Inquiries related to OTF’s French language services can be sent to The Francophone Liaison will process the inquiry pursuant to OTF’s Customer Service Policy

The Ombudsman of Ontario also receives inquiries from members of the public regarding complaints on the provision of French language services. Learn more about making a complaint with the Ombudsman of Ontario.