Professor François Larocque has been awarded the prestigious Ordre des francophones d'Amérique by the Conseil supérieur de la langue française for his contributions to the preservation of the French language in North America. He was selected as the 2019 representative for Ontario.
Professor Larocque, who hails from the Franco-Ontarian community of Sturgeon Falls, has focused his research, teaching, and legal practice on the linguistic rights of official language minority communities. He holds the Canadian Francophonie Research Chair in Language Rights at the University of Ottawa, the first-ever research chair in Canada dedicated to the study of language rights and the active development of legal standards that frame them through strategic interventions.
Employing an innovative methodology that combines theory and practice, Professor Larocque advances research on the legal protection of minority language communities and their institutions. As a lawyer, he is an active contributor to the development of Canadian case law on the interpretation and application of legislative and constitutional norms that underlie language rights. He has intervened at all levels of the judicial system, including the Supreme Court of Canada, to advocate on behalf of groups and individuals from linguistic minorities. His research and activism has contributed to elucidating the problems arising from the continuing unilingualism of the Canadian Constitution, and the obligation of Canada and the provinces, under section 55 of the Constitution Act, 1982, to enact a French version of the constitutional texts “as soon as possible”. He has also taken part in editorial committees to modernize and strengthen the language protections of Ontario's French Language Services Act, the City of Ottawa Act, 1999, and the Regulation on Bilingualism of the University of Ottawa.
For his contributions to the advancement of the linguistic rights of Francophones living in minority situations, for his work to strengthen the status of French in the legal profession, and for his contribution to the constitutional right to education in French, the Conseil supérieur de la langue française awards Professor Larocque the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique.
The Ordre des francophones d'Amérique is given out annually to recognize the merits of individuals who have devoted themselves to preserving and developing both the French language and French life on the American continent. As many as seven new members may be inducted into the Order in any given year, including two for Quebec and five for the Atlantic provinces, Ontario, Western Canada, the Americas and other continents.
Congratulations to Professor Larocque on this wonderful recognition!