As the federal government responded to the COVID-19 crisis in March of 2020, certain failures in the treatment of Canada’s official languages became evident. For example, to ease importation from the United States, hundreds of disinfectant products were allowed to pass into Canada with labelling exclusively in English. The government, fortunately, revised its approach, but a pressing question remains: how can Canada ensure respect for the Official Languages Act during an emergency or health crisis?
Professor François Larocque has earned a Partnership Engage Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) – through a special call for COVID-19-related research – to analyze the application of official languages in the implementation of national emergency plans. He is partnering with the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne (FCFA) du Canada, the national organization that advocates for Canada’s French-speaking minority communities, to take advantage of the federal government's intention to modernize the Official Languages Act. Professor Larocque will assist the FCFA in identifying problems and proposing solutions so that Canada can act upon the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic in modernizing the Official Languages Act.
SSHRC’s Partnership Engage Grants COVID-19 Special Initiative provides researchers and their partners a unique opportunity to foster knowledge exchange on COVID-19 crisis-related issues, challenges and impacts.
The Common Law Section congratulates Professor Larocque and wishes him success with this important research.