Summary of language rights in Canada and complaint mechanisms


Applicable Norms

Manitoba Act, s. 23
Manitoba French Language Services Policy
The Bilingual Service Centres Act, CCSM c. B37
The Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act, CCSM c. F157


The Manitoba Act, which is part of the Constitution of Canada, makes English and French the official languages of the legislature and courts of the province. The statutes of Manitoba are therefore enacted, and the regulations made, in French and English, and are published in both languages, and everyone has the right to access justice in the official language of their choice.

In addition to these constitutional language rights, the province adopted a policy on French language services in 1989, which was revised in 1999, 2008 and 2017. The policy provides that communications, websites and documents intended for the general public are to be published in both languages.

The policy also guarantees active offer of government services in both languages in six designated areas via Bilingual Service Centres. The maintenance and operation of the Bilingual Service Centres are codified in the Bilingual Service Centres Act (2012).

The policy designates the following six areas: (1) the rural municipality of Ellice; (2) the rural municipality of Sainte-Rose; (3) the rural municipalities of Alexander and Victoria Beach and certain parts of the rural municipality of St. Clements; (4) the rural municipalities of Lorne, Grey, Cartier, Saint-François-Xavier and Saint-Laurent and certain parts of the rural municipalities of Woodlands, Portage-la-Prairie, Dufferin and South Norfolk; (5) the rural municipalities of Piney, La Broquerie, Sainte-Anne, Taché, Ritchot, De Salaberry and Montcalm and certain parts of the rural municipalities of Macdonald and Morris; and (6) the Saint-Boniface, Saint-Vital and Saint-Norbert neighbourhoods of the City of Winnipeg.

The Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act (2016) codifies an inclusive definition of the Francophone community and the active offer concept, in addition to specifying the role of the Minister responsible for Francophone Affairs and the Francophone Affairs Secretariat and requires that departments and governmental bodies propose a multi-year strategic plan relating to the provision of French language services by it. The Act also provides for the creation of an advisory council to advise the minister about matters relating to enhancing the vitality of Manitoba’s Francophone community.

Complaint Mechanism

Under the Francophone Community Enhancement and Support Act, the Secretariat of Francophone Affairs is responsible for receiving and  processing complaints concerning services in French.

A language complaint can be submitted to the Secretariat:

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