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This private member’s Bill amends Part IV (Communications with and services to the Public) of the Official Languages Act. The objective of this legislation is to better align the Regulations of the Act with the “fundamental purpose of the Official Languages Act, which is to enhance the vitality and protect the rights of official language minority communities”. It requires an increase in the availability of bilingual federal services and communications by broadening the basis for determining whether there is significant demand. It does this by requiring services to those members of the public who are able to communicate in the minority official language rather than only those whose First Official Language Spoken is the minority official language.
The number of new bilingual offices will increase from 1,984 to 3,648, which includes new Canada Post points of service. The incremental cost of the implementation of the provisions related to the ability to communicate in the minority language contained in Bill S-209 is approximately $146 million for one-time expenses, and approximately $9 million ongoing, for the federal government. The cost to Canada Post is over and above this amount and is not available for public release.