Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Sport Policy in Canada

 | 
Lucie Thibault
, 
Jean Harvey

Section III. Policy issues

Chapter XII. Official Languages and the Canadian Sport System: Steady Progress, Constant Vigilance Needed

Graham Fraser

Texte intégral

The author would like to acknowledge Marcel Fallu of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for his work on this chapter

  • 2 In this chapter, the term ‘international sport events’ refers to international events held in Cana (...)

1Canada’s language policy applies to all federal institutions and covers many facets of Canadian life, including social and economic development, immigration, transportation and the environment. The policy also addresses high performance sport and the staging of national and international sport events.2 Both federal support for amateur sport and the federal legislative and administrative framework regarding official languages came into being in the 1960s. There have been a number of points of intersection since that time.

  • 3 Some sections of this chapter rely on content from Commissioner Adam’s (2007) chapter.

2The aim of this chapter is to discuss the intersection between sport and official languages at the Canadian federal level based on the experience of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). The chapter presents some of the key points outlined in a chapter written by Commissioner Dyane Adam (2007) for Jeux, sports et francophonie: L’exemple du Canada,3 summarizes lessons learned from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and provides insights for the future.

3Since its creation on April 1, 1970, following the adoption of the Official Languages Act in 1969, the OCOL has taken action on several occasions in relation to the Canadian sport system and national and international sport events. Those interventions were intended to foster equality and respect and to ensure that events respect and reflect not only Canada’s image, identity, and values, but also the tenants of linguistic duality.

4The first section discusses official languages in the Canadian sport system in general. We first examine how the OCOL views the connections between the Canadian sport system and official languages, followed by a brief summary of the laws and policies that govern federal support for the Canadian sport system. The main thrust is a historical overview of official languages in the Canadian sport system from the 1960s to the end of the 1990s.

5The second section discusses the OCOL’s 2000 study on the Canadian sport system, the follow-up report (published in 2003) and the context in which those publications were released. Continuing the chronological overview, this section focuses on the era in which the Canadian Sport Policy and the Physical Activity and Sport Act were adopted. Next, it examines the independent study commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the action plan adopted by its Sport Canada branch in response to recommendations.

6The third section presents the principal linguistic challenges raised by the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and the OCOL’s work in that regard. Highlights are presented of the Games’ main success stories from a language point of view. The section then sets out a few difficulties that arose during preparations for the Games, as well as shortcomings that tarnished the Games’ admirable overall performance in terms of official languages. The chapter concludes with some practical tips for future national and international sport events in Canada, based on the Vancouver experience.

Official languages in the Canadian Sport System

The OCOL and the Canadian Sport System

7The Commissioner of Official Languages is a federal ombudsman who reports directly to the Parliament of Canada and is therefore independent of the Canadian government. The OCOL is responsible for upholding Canadians’ language rights and investigating alleged breaches of the Official Languages Act. The OCOL also promotes linguistic duality and works proactively to help federal institutions meet their language obligations. The OCOL therefore has a dual role of protection and promotion.

8In recent years, the OCOL’s sport-related interventions have focused primarily on high performance sport at the national and international level, which is under federal government jurisdiction. For the OCOL, there are three aspects to the relationship between the Canadian sport system and official languages. The first two of these aspects are addressed in this chapter:

  1. National sport organizations must provide services of equal quality in both official languages to ensure that Canadians who are active in high performance amateur sport have equal chances to realize their potential;
  2. National and international sport events are important moments in Canada’s national life and opportunities to promote the use and full recognition of both official languages. Therefore, they must properly reflect linguistic duality in terms of the quality and availability of services to participants and visitors as well as cultural expression (e.g., ceremonies, cultural activities);
  3. Sports and sport events play an important role in developing the identity of young people in minority language communities. The Canadian Francophone Games and the Jeux de l’Acadie are examples of sport events that combine sport and cultural identity and can foster a strong sense of belonging.

9Other considerations pertaining to the place of both official languages in Canadian amateur sport go beyond the federal government’s jurisdiction and the scope of this chapter. These considerations include the many aspects of physical activity and ‘amateur’ sports at provincial/territorial, local and community levels, such as federalprovincial/territorial co-operation in physical literacy and sport participation, all of which are within the scope of the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 (Sport Canada, 2012).

The Official Languages Act and the Canadian Sport System

10By enshrining the equal status, rights and privileges of English and French within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (Canada, 1982), the Government of Canada has recognized that linguistic duality is a fundamental value in Canadian society. The objective of the Official Languages Act is not only to ensure the linguistic equality of both official languages in federal institutions, but also to encourage progression towards the equal status and use of English and French in all aspects of Canadian society.

11Under Part IV of the Act, members of the public have the right to receive services from federal institutions in the official language of their choice. Services in the two official languages must be of equal quality in terms of both access and content, no matter which language the person chooses to use. Moreover, Part VII of the Act requires federal institutions to take positive measures to support the development and enhance the vitality of official language minority communities and foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.

12The Physical Activity and Sport Act, a federal law enacted in 2003, creates a framework for the Government of Canada’s actions in this area (Parliament of Canada, 2003). Official languages are an integral part of the Act. Its preamble states that the federal government “is committed to promoting physical activity and sport, having regard to the principles set out in the Official Languages Act” (Parliament of Canada, 2003, p. 1). Section 6 of the Act states that the government may “provide financial assistance in the form of grants and contributions to any person, in accordance with Parts IV and VII of the Official Languages Act” (Parliament of Canada, 2003, p. 4). This constitutes clear recognition that the Canadian sport system must also help promote both official languages, which are fundamental to our national identity.

13Sport Canada, a branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage, co-ordinates the Canadian government’s support for high performance sport organizations, elite athletes and national and international sport events. It is important to understand that organizations that receive grants and financial contributions from the Canadian government are not directly subject to the Official Languages Act because they are not federal institutions. However, they have substantial language obligations of a contractual nature.

  • 4 Note that in this document, the term ‘sport organization’ refers to the three types of organizatio (...)

14The Canadian Sport Policy 2012 stipulates that the Government of Canada is committed to “ensuring access to services in English and French” (Sport Canada, 2012, p. 17). Sport Canada’s Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF) prescribes official languages standards that must be met by national sport organizations (NSOs), multi-sport/service organizations (MSOs) and Canadian Sport Centres/Institutes (CSCs/CSIs).4

15For its part, the Federal Policy for Hosting International Sport Events describes the frequency with which the Canadian government is willing to provide financial assistance for international multi-sport games, international single-sport events, and games for Aboriginal peoples and persons with a disability (Canadian Heritage, 2008). The role of Sport Canada is also to support Canadian applications for such international events. In addition, Sport Canada provides financial assistance for every edition of the Canada Games.

16The Canadian sport system is a complex network of non-profit organizations that are financially supported in part by the federal, provincial/territorial, and local governments. These levels of government make an enormous contribution to the physical and administrative infrastructure that underpins our sport system and supports the athletes, coaches, officials and other participants. However, provincial/territorial and local governments as well as the non-profit sector do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Official Languages Act, which applies only to federal institutions. As a result, the challenge in terms of official languages is to “overcome structural and jurisdictional compartmentalization in order to enable Canadians to realize their full potential, whatever their official language may be, by practising sports in the language of their choice” (Adam, 2007, p. 28, translation).

Overview of Official Languages in Canada’s Sport System from the 1960s to the 1990s

17The federal government’s role in the area of sport and physical activity gradually became more structured starting in the 1960s (Mills, 1998). It was an exciting time for Canada’s national identity, with many symbols and policies central to Canadian identity being put in place. The Canadian flag and universal health care are just two examples. The 1960s also gave rise to a complete overhaul of Canada’s linguistic framework, in part because of the clear predominance of English and the under-representation of Francophones in the federal public service at the time. In 1963, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson created the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, co-chaired by André Laurendeau and A. Davidson Dunton. The Commission was the result of both the increasing selfaffirmation of Canada’s French language society, particularly in Quebec, and a growing openness to French language and culture among the English-speaking majority and within the federal government (Fraser, 2010).

18The Commission travelled across Canada to hear from Canadians and learn more about such topics as socioeconomic status, minority language instruction, learning a second language and bilingualism in the federal administration. It produced a preliminary report in 1965 and a final report, broken down by subject into six volumes, between 1966 and 1970. The Commission laid the foundations for the federal official languages policy framework in general and the Official Languages Act in particular. Passed in 1969, the Act established institutional bilingualism at the federal level.

19A profound cultural shift took place in the federal public administration following the adoption of the Act, not without certain difficulties. For some people, the changes were revolutionary insofar as they amounted to a major change to the status quo. The 1969 Act, and the official languages policies adopted subsequently by the government, sought to guarantee the individual’s right to communicate with the federal government and receive services in the official language of his or her choice, establish a bilingual civil service and support the development of official language minority communities. These three objectives are clearly set forth in the Act, which underwent a complete overhaul when its scope was broadened in 1988.

20Official languages were not an integral part of the federal government’s role in sport and physical activity at the outset. The first federal statute on fitness and amateur sport, enacted in 1961 and since repealed, did not cover language-related aspects of sport and physical activity. As for the first draft of the Official Languages Act, passed in 1969, it did not give the Commissioner of Official Languages much power with respect to non-profit organizations subsidized by the federal government concerning the delivery of services in both official languages. At the time, support for sport organizations was channelled through the National Sport and Recreation Centre, an administrative structure created in the early 1970s. The language obligations incumbent upon these organizations were completely undefined from a legal point of view. The federal administration rarely intervened in their operations, which were carried out essentially in English.

21In 1973, the first Commissioner of Official Languages, Keith Spicer, recommended that Canada’s Department of Health and Welfare, which provided federal support for the sport system at the time, take the necessary steps to provide equal services in both official languages. His successor, Maxwell Yalden, noted with regret in 1980 that “such work as has been done to counter this splintering effect has made little apparent impact” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1981, p. 55). The year before, Commissioner Yalden had pointed out that it was vital for the language obligations of non-governmental organizations financed in whole or in part with public funds to be more clearly defined, adding that the real challenge was to help those organizations fulfill their moral and legal obligations under the Official Languages Act. He stated: “If those responsible have no more conviction of the importance of third-party dealings than is now the case, polarization of the voluntary sector will not simply happen; they will have helped it along the way” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1980, p. 48).

22The focus on ensuring that organizations subsidized by the federal government delivered services in both official languages in keeping with the spirit of the Act was to take on increasing importance in the following years. Directives issued in 1980 regarding financial assistance to non-profit organizations advised government departments to take official languages issues into account when granting financial assistance. Commissioner Yalden, who found that these directives amounted to “non-advice,” recommended that the government require non-profit organizations receiving federal funds and serving both linguistic communities to provide “guarantees that the equal status of the two official languages will be appropriately reflected” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1981, p. 56).

23Shortly after, in 1982, Commissioner Yalden published a language audit of the Fitness and Amateur Sport program of the Secretary of State Department. The audit showed that “Francophone organizations have sometimes been chary of joining national sport organizations because they believe, rightly in many cases, that Anglophones control the decision-making process in these organizations. This perception is often reinforced by very real shortcomings in service in French” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1982, p. 2). The Commissioner recommended that the branch “adopt a comprehensive official languages policy, define the procedures by which the objectives of the Official Languages Act will be promoted, evaluated and controlled in all the activities funded by the branch” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1982, p. 6).

24In 1983, Commissioner Yalden noted that the National Sport and Recreation Centre continued to neglect its language obligations despite the implementation of an official languages program at Fitness and Amateur Sport and the inclusion of language clauses in contracts signed with sport organizations. In 1984, his successor, Commissioner D’Iberville Fortier, stated in his annual report that despite “[a] funding contribution agreement [that came into effect that year] containing a commitment to take better account of the two linguistic communities” and a provision that national sport organizations were to submit official languages plans, less than half of the organizations had submitted such a plan at year’s end (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1985, p. 146). Moreover, a special fund put in place to help the organizations meet their language obligations had not been used.

25The wind began to turn in the second half of the 1980s, as sport organizations receiving funds from the Canadian government began to improve their performance in delivering services in both official languages. The initiatives designed to help national sport organizations provide higher-quality services in both languages, implemented in 1985, were paying dividends. In the 1988 annual report, Commissioner Fortier pointed to the solid ability of the Fitness and Amateur Sport Branch of the Department of National Health and Welfare to provide services in both official languages. He also noted the branch’s “laudable efforts” to “ensure that the national fitness, sport and recreational associations it subsidizes conducted their activities with due regard for official languages matters” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1989, p. 166). In the same report, however, Commissioner Fortier indicated that he had received some complaints regarding the place of the two official languages at various sport events held during the year.

26In 1988, the Parliament of Canada revised the Official Languages Act in response to the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. The revised Act maintained the focus on government services in both official languages and broadened the scope of the federal linguistic framework considerably. In particular, it introduced the Canadian government’s commitment to promote the full recognition and use of both official languages in Canadian society and to enhance the vitality of linguistic minority communities, namely Anglophones in Quebec and Francophones living in the other provinces and territories.

27The OCOL began focusing on national and international sport events in 1989 with the publication of an Official Languages Act compliance audit of national and international events (sport events, but also commercial events, cultural events and so on). In fact, Fitness and Amateur Sport’s improved performance would raise “new expectations, especially in regard to the bilingual nature of many regional, national, and international sport events that require the co-ordination of partners at several different levels (federal, provincial, local, non-profit organizations and the commercial sector)” (Adam, 2007, p. 33, translation).

28In the 1989 audit, Commissioner Fortier’s proposals included establishing a set of language criteria, including adequate resources for bilingual services, accountability and monitoring, and the active participation of both linguistic communities. In the wake of this audit, the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Joint Committee on Official Languages recommended that the government adopt a policy on the use of official languages at national and international popular events. The Treasury Board Secretariat then asked federal institutions to make their financial contributions subject to compliance with the principles of linguistic duality.

29Despite the progress accomplished on political and administrative fronts, major obstacles to Francophone participation in the Canadian sport system persisted in the early 1990s. In 1992, the Task Force on Federal Sport Policy, created by the Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport and chaired by J.C. Best, tabled a report that emphasized the persistence of problems related to Frenchlanguage services and major obstacles to the full participation of Francophones in sport activities (Minister’s Task Force, 1992). This result came on the heels of a federal-provincial advisory committee finding that identified, in 1990, numerous deficiencies in the delivery of bilingual services that could pose structural obstacles to the participation of athletes from both language groups (Federal-Provincial Advisory Committee, 1990 as cited in Adam, 2007, p. 35).

30In response to the Best Report, the federal government worked with its many partners in the sport community to adopt a new approach to its support of the Canadian sport system. This new approach coincided with a climate of belt-tightening and bringing down public deficits. Significant changes were taking place in public administration just as practices in the field of sport were being transformed, all of which led to a major re-engineering of the Canadian sport system in the mid-1990s.

31In 1996, Sport Canada adopted a new Sport Funding and Accountability Framework (SFAF) for organizations receiving public funds. Canadian Sport Centres were also created to group and co-ordinate support services for elite athletes and coaches. During this period, the Canadian government simultaneously adopted “a ‘hands-off’ approach to the administration of sport organizations; [clarified] its expectations on social policies, including official languages; and [cut] funding to sport organizations” (OCOL, 2000, p. 9). For the organizations in question, these changes posed new challenges in providing services of equal quality in both official languages. By way of example, and to demonstrate the scale of the cuts, the assistance granted by Sport Canada decreased from CA$ 66.7M in 1987 to CA$ 51.1M in 1997 (Adam, 2007, p. 35). In addition, the common administrative services previously provided by the National Sport and Recreation Centre were no longer available as government withdrew from subsidizing common services to sport organizations.

32In December 1998, the House of Commons Sub-Committee on the Study of Sport in Canada tabled a substantive report that examined sport’s contribution to the overall Canadian economy (Mills, 1998). Known as the Mills Report, the document dealt with the role of the federal government in promoting amateur sport and participation in sports, as well as sport’s contribution to national unity. Among other elements, the report recommended that “the Government of Canada ensure the development and delivery of services and programs in both official languages” (Mills, 1998, p. 133). In a dissenting report, the Bloc Québécois opposed the report’s conclusions and affirmed that it ignored “the many difficulties facing both amateur and professional French-speaking athletes in Canada and fail[ed] to propose any real measures to remedy the situation” (Mills, 1998, p. 165).

33In fact, during the sub-committee’s work, some speakers categorically affirmed that French-speaking athletes were being discriminated against in terms of the services available in their language and the selection of athletes for national teams. The OCOL was also receiving complaints in early 1998 regarding the Canadian Olympic Association’s ceremony presenting Canadian athletes at the Nagano Olympic Winter Games, which had taken place solely in English (Stubbs, 1998). In the same year, a similar incident occurred at a press conference, held in English only, in connection with the presentation of Canada’s flag bearer for the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In his 1998 annual report, Commissioner Victor Goldbloom recommended that Canadian Heritage establish “a mechanism to ensure that when national and international sporting events are being considered the language aspects be taken into account before the events are held” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 1999, p. 50).

34The conclusions of the Sub-Committee on the Study of Sport in Canada, along with a number of requests made by members of Parliament in the wake of its work, led Commissioner Dyane Adam to launch a special study on the use of official languages in the Canadian sport system as soon as she was appointed in August 1999. During the Sub-Committee’s work, “It seemed to some that Frenchspeaking athletes were victims of discrimination in terms of the services provided to them and their opportunities to be selected for national teams” (Commissioner of Official Languages, 2000, p. 58). This study is addressed in the next section.

Impact of the Office of the Commissioner’s Study on Official Languages in the Canadian Sport System

The 2000 Study5

  • 5 This section essentially presents the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ 2000 study (...)

35Official Languages in the Canadian Sports System, published in 2000, was a substantive study based on some 100 interviews with athletes, coaches, sport administrators and researchers, a mail-in survey of athletes and an analysis of parliamentary, government and media documents (OCOL, 2000). Among the study’s chief findings were Sport Canada’s insufficient bilingual capacity to manage its programs in both official languages, an under-representation of Francophone athletes in national high performance sport and major shortcomings in French services provided by sport organizations financially supported by Sport Canada. In the study, Commissioner Adam made a number of recommendations to Sport Canada, which fell into three main categories:

  1. implementing administrative measures to ensure that sport organizations are able to provide an adequate level of service in French;
  2. improving the French-language capacity of coaches, managers, and staff; and
  3. improving Sport Canada’s official language program management, including its bilingual capacity.

36The study showed that while the percentage of Canadians who spoke French as their first official language was 24.6%, only 18% of high performance athletes (receiving direct financial assistance from the federal government) stated that French was their first official language. This was a major discrepancy, given that factors determining sport participation rates are quite similar among Francophones and Anglophones (Adam, 2007; OCOL, 2000).

37Previous studies had shown that the national team selection process was a major obstacle to the careers of French-speaking athletes; however, at the time of the 2000 study, all signs indicated that the process had become more transparent and fairer. Nonetheless, obstacles posed by conflicts between provincial and national sport organizations, particularly in Quebec, seemed to persist. Although the problem no longer necessarily stemmed from the selection process, its effects were felt strongly in athletes’ experiences.

38Anglophones were generally satisfied with the language aspects of their sport experience, whereas Francophones signalled various shortcomings, particularly with respect to coaching and services received from sport organizations. The athletes also emphasized the importance of receiving services such as psychological consultations and medical services in the official language of their choice. At the time the study was conducted, for instance, the Canadian Sport Centres in Calgary and Winnipeg provided only English-language services to national teams, while the Canadian Sport Centre in Montreal was able to provide services in both languages.

39The fact that many coaches and service providers were not bilingual, along with a lack of cultural sensitivity in some cases, left their mark. Too often, the main obstacle to Francophone participation was the fact that many of the sport organizations financially supported by Sport Canada operated solely in English, had insufficient resources to provide services in French, and still lacked a clear official languages policy.

40At the time of the 2000 study, Sport Canada’s Sport Funding and Accountability Framework attached little importance to the delivery of services in both official languages. Minimum expectations for the services to be offered were identified in the contribution agreements, but there were major monitoring and follow-up deficiencies by this Canadian Heritage branch. Evaluations focused more on processes (asking, for example, whether an official languages policy was in place) than on results (Were services in fact provided in both official languages?). Although some organizations provided services in both languages and many demonstrated cultural sensitivity, this was far from being the case for all organizations.

41Regarding the Government of Canada’s support for major sport events, the study concluded that the recommendations made following the 1989 audit on national and international events had, as a rule, been implemented. The study also pointed out that the Winnipeg Pan American Games in 1999 had been a success on the linguistic front “because the organizers planned ahead for linguistic services and committed enough money and human resources to ensure that they could be delivered” (OCOL, 2000, p. 35). Concerning the linguistic aspect of major games, the 2000 study also recommended that Sport Canada ensure the necessary budgets be granted to that end and set clear expectations to be met by recipient organizations.

Canadian Sport Policy, the Physical Activity and Sport Act, and the OCOL’s Follow-Up Report

42The OCOL’s 2000 study was published shortly before the federal, provincial and territorial governments, sport organizations and several other stakeholders began the development of the first Canadian Sport Policy. Focusing on participation and inclusivity, the Canadian Sport Policy (2002–2012) set expectations pertaining to official languages, specifically by stipulating that sport organizations “provide essential services in English and French for the development of athletes, coaches, officials and administrators” (Sport Canada, 2002, p. 14). It also prescribed that the federal government ensure “access to essential services in English and French” (Sport Canada, 2002, p. 15) and that the provinces and territories should help meet those objectives in their respective areas of jurisdiction. The policy stipulated that “despite past efforts, language-based barriers still exist in the sport system for [F]rancophones, especially at the national team level” (Sport Canada, 2002, p. 8).

43In June 2002, the government tabled Bill C-12 on physical activity and sport in the House of Commons. Judging that the bill’s official languages provisions were insufficient, Commissioner Adam appeared before the parliamentary committee and made a number of recommendations. Many of those recommendations were included in the Physical Activity and Sport Act, which received royal assent on March 19, 2003 (Parliament of Canada, 2003). As Commissioner Adam stated, the bill required certain amendments “because history had shown more than once that in the absence of clear provisions, Canadians’ language rights were not respected. The conclusions of the study conducted by the Office of the Commissioner were proof of the fact” (Adam, 2007, p. 45, translation). The Physical Activity and Sport Act led to the creation of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, which is required to take specific steps to provide services in both official languages. The centre handles a range of disputes, including language-related complaints.

  • 6 This section essentially presents the follow-up report as summarized in Adam (2007).

44In addition to recommending changes to Bill C-12, the OCOL prepared a follow-up report published in 20036 that monitored implementation of the recommendations made in the 2000 study (OCOL, 2003). The follow-up report indicated that three of the 15 recommendations in the 2000 study had been fully implemented by Sport Canada, nine others had been partially implemented and three others had not been implemented. Commissioner Adam deplored the slow pace of change and the lack of a consistent approach—flaws that affected Francophone athletes most directly, since they were required to adapt to the sport system’s shortcomings. In addition, the issue of under-representation of Francophone athletes had deteriorated slightly between 2000 and 2003 (OCOL, 2003).

45However, some progress had been noted, including improvements to official languages standards, considerable efforts to make many documents available in both languages, and a survey of sport organizations to evaluate the delivery of bilingual services.

46In addition to reiterating the recommendations that had not been implemented or had been only partially implemented, the 2003 followup report recommended that Sport Canada “undertake an independent study on Francophone participation in sports overall and determine what conditions are conducive for ensuring equal access by both official languages groups to high performance sports” (OCOL, 2003, p. 37).

Athletes and Official Languages: Subsequent Study of the Issue

47In response to the recommendation set out in the OCOL’s 2003 follow-up report, Canadian Heritage commissioned an independent study on the subject. Linguistic Barriers to Access to High Performance Sport was prepared by researchers Mira Svoboda and Peter Donnelly based on the OCOL’s methods and findings (Svoboda & Donnelly, 2006). Their study dealt with Francophone and Anglophone participation in high performance sports, barriers to participation, institutional infrastructure, and coaching.

48Although it confirmed the findings of the OCOL’s 2000 study, the new study did not clearly demonstrate the existence of linguistic barriers for Francophones in high performance sports. However, it did show that the quality of services and support provided to athletes in both official languages was, at times, inadequate, or that such services were not of the same quality in both languages.

49Whereas previous studies had primarily identified cases where Francophones bore the brunt of official languages shortcomings in the Canadian sport system, Svoboda and Donnelly’s (2006) study also referred to certain situations where Anglophones were most affected. This showed the importance of emphasizing the place of both official languages.

50Svoboda and Donnelly (2006) made several recommendations, many of which were consistent with the OCOL’s 2000 study. Specifically, they recommended that Sport Canada:

  • lead by example by ensuring that it has sufficient official languages capacity to interface with client groups in English and French;
  • continue its efforts with sport organizations that receive financial assistance from the federal government by focusing on organizations that have been less successful in meeting their language goals, providing them with official languages tools and expertise, and applying any necessary sanctions;
  • implement a social marketing program directed at athletes to encourage them to request services in their preferred language once services of equal quality are available in both official languages;
  • in collaboration with its partners, expand its knowledge of linguistic barriers at the provincial level and improve partnerships between federal and provincial/territorial stakeholders with the intent to tear down those barriers;
  • develop a linguistic profile of coaches; and
  • establish strategic alliances with organizations in official language minority communities and develop a pool of volunteers to help integrate athletes living in minority situations.

51Sport Canada created an ad hoc official languages committee to advise on its response to the study’s recommendations. Based in part on the committee’s work, Sport Canada adopted an action plan on official languages for 2008–2012 (Canadian Heritage, 2007). The plan set out the steps already taken and those planned at the time of its adoption for each recommendation made in Linguistic Barriers to Access to High Performance Sport. Among the most noteworthy steps, the action plan indicated that sport organizations could be subject to financial penalties “if they do not demonstrate a firm commitment to meeting their contractual obligations with respect to official languages” (Canadian Heritage, 2007, p. 11). On the positive side, however, the action plan described significant progress in Sport Canada’s bilingual capacity. At the time of writing, Sport Canada indicated that the vast majority of the measures identified in its 2008–2012 action plan had been implemented. Considerable progress has thus been made since the 1990s, when the Sport Funding and Accountability Framework paid little attention to official languages.

Current Issues

52The OCOL had studied the issue of Francophone and Anglophone participation in the Canadian sport system and the availability of French-language services for athletes primarily in response to the lack of data on the subject. Those efforts, in addition to the work since carried out by and for Sport Canada, have supplied relevant data and raised awareness of these issues among Canadian sport system stakeholders.

53While the genuine progress made over the years is certainly encouraging, all those working in the Canadian sport system must remain vigilant. For its part, Sport Canada must continue to fulfill its commitments and evaluate what has been accomplished so improvements are lasting.

54The Commissioner’s 2009–2010 annual report mentioned that, in the run-up to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, websites of many national sport organizations contained French content that was less than and often of inferior quality to the English. As the OCOL’s 2009–2010 annual report pointed out:

Although these organizations are not subject to the Act directly and their resources for functioning in English and French are often limited, they do have official languages obligations because they receive financial support from Sport Canada’s Sport Support Program. Sport Canada has not ensured that these organizations are fulfilling their obligations and providing information of equal quality in English and French on their Web sites. (OCOL, 2010, p. 17)

55This problem, which has reoccurred frequently over the past few years, still persists today. In addition, a new variant has arisen with the evolution of the Internet: even when websites do offer content of equal quality in both official languages, social media content (whether it be tweets or videos, for example) generated by organizations on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is not always available simultaneously in both official languages. Sport Canada has an important role to play to monitor progress to ensure equal and prompt access to services and communications in both official languages.

56This concludes the short review of the equal use and status of both official languages at Sport Canada and the sport organizations that it financially supports. We will now examine the question of official languages at major sport events, focusing on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Official Languages and Major Sport Events: The Vancouver Games

57National and international sport events are opportunities to showcase our country, our values and our symbols. Since linguistic duality is both a characteristic and a fundamental value of Canada, it is important to reflect this distinctive trait properly in the services provided to participants and visitors at sport events, and in the associated forms of cultural expression, including ceremonies and cultural activities. All Canadians should see themselves reflected in the image presented to the world.

Vancouver 2010: Raising our Game

  • 7 With this announcement, the Multi-Party Agreement signed by the various levels of government, the (...)

58As soon as the International Olympic Committee announced on July 2, 2003 that Vancouver had been selected as the host city, the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games were destined to be a highlight of Canadian life.7 In light of the event’s scope and past experiences with sports and official languages, the OCOL resolved to make the issue a priority and take action proactively and preventively and then share the lessons learned after the Games. The OCOL’s actions were carried out in five phases:

  • an initial study published in December 2008 (OCOL, 2008) contained recommendations to help Canadian Heritage and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC 2010)8 to fully meet the requirements of the Multi-Party Agreement for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (Canadian Heritage, 2002) and the Official Languages Act;
  • an awareness campaign was conducted in early 2009 to help federal institutions incorporate official languages obligations into their planning processes;
  • a follow-up report, published in September 2009 examined progress related to official languages at the Games and described obstacles still to be overcome (OCOL, 2009);
  • a final report, released in December 2010 evaluated the Games in regard to Canada’s official languages and included a number of lessons learned and comments applicable to subsequent major sport events to be held in Canada (OCOL, 2011b); and
  • a practical guide to promoting official languages at major sport events held in Canada was published in March 2011 based on lessons learned from the Vancouver Games (OCOL, 2011a).

59In the years immediately preceding the Games, the OCOL also took action regarding access to French-language Vancouver Games broadcasts across the country. That action came in response to concerns expressed by a number of parties, including the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA). However, the issue of these broadcasts comes with its own specific dynamics and challenges and is beyond the scope of this chapter (OCOL, 2011b).

60The Multi-Party Agreement set out specific language obligations incumbent upon VANOC 2010. Those obligations covered most organizational aspects, including services to participants and the general public, all communications and the content of ceremonies. A first for the Olympic Games, the Multi-Party Agreement set out specific language obligations for the organizing committee (Canadian Heritage, 2002).

Major Success Stories

  • 9 The Office of the Commissioner did not carry out systematic monitoring to check compliance. Howeve (...)

61The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games left an important linguistic legacy. Indeed, according to information gathered by the OCOL,9 the Games were a great success in terms of public services available on the ground in both official languages. As for the Paralympic Winter Games, they were the first to be entirely bilingual (English and French). The cultural events that preceded the Olympic Winter Games, such as the Cultural Olympiad (spread out over three years) and the Olympic Torch Relay, also reflected Canada’s linguistic duality to a significant degree.

  • 10 English and French are the official languages of both Canada and the Olympic Movement. However, Ca (...)

62VANOC 2010 successfully rose to the challenge of recruiting thousands of bilingual volunteers—nearly 3,000 out of the 20,000 volunteers, according to figures provided before the Games. Generally speaking, this made it possible for both Anglophones and Francophones to have access to information and services in the language of their choice. The bilingual volunteers were easy to identify thanks to their “Bonjour” buttons, and many unilingual volunteers called on the assistance of their bilingual colleagues to provide adequate services, as planned. The announcements and comments broadcast by loudspeakers at the competition sites were made in English and French10 in the vast majority of cases.

63With just a few exceptions, Games signage was bilingual, including the one found on event sites in downtown Vancouver, at Whistler and at Vancouver International Airport. Some national and international sponsors put up signs in both languages. The host cities, Vancouver and Whistler, made a considerable effort to offer services in English and French to the general public, particularly in their signage and by ensuring that the information services and teams of volunteers included bilingual personnel. All these efforts gave Canada’s linguistic duality a tangible presence.

64VANOC 2010 enjoyed a fruitful cooperative relationship with various partners from the French-speaking community, including the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique, the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. The Advisory Committee on Official Languages, established to advise VANOC 2010 on language-related issues, proved to be a particularly effective organizational mechanism. Moreover, Place de la Francophonie, a cultural showcase held in parallel with the Olympic Winter Games on Granville Island in the centre of Vancouver, was a resounding success. It helped increase the visibility of French in British Columbia by showcasing the vitality and diversity of French culture both nationally and internationally.

  • 11 Following the study of the state of preparedness of 11 federal institutions to meet the increased (...)

65In many cases, federal institutions providing essential services (related to health and safety, for example), or services to the travelling public for the Games,11 also took steps to meet the higher demand for services resulting from the influx of visitors who came to the Games.

A Preparatory Phase with its Share of Pitfalls

66As we have just pointed out, the Games were a great success from a linguistic standpoint. Efforts to overcome obstacles encountered in the months and years preceding the Games led to this success. It is important, however, to recognize the shortfalls, which are discussed in greater detail below. It is also important to mention that, during the preparatory phase, several problematic situations arose where VANOC 2010 would have had difficulty complying with the spirit or the letter of its language obligations if corrective action had not been taken.

  • 12 Senate of Canada, Standing Committee on Official Languages. Reflecting Canada’s Linguistic Duality (...)

67Concerns about volunteer recruitment and training, signage, cultural activities, and translation and interpretation, among others, were brought to light by a number of parties, including the Standing Committees on Official Languages of the Senate (which published a report and follow-ups on the issue)12 and of the House of Commons; organizations representing Francophone communities, including the FCFA; and the OCOL.

68One of the issues that attracted a great deal of attention from stakeholders, but not necessarily from the media, was the allocation of sufficient resources to translation and interpretation—services for which demand grew constantly as the Games approached. This was a major challenge for VANOC 2010, one that just a few months before the Games compromised its ability to meet the Multi-Party Agreement requirements regarding communications with the general public. For example, it was decided that the biographies of certain athletes would not be translated despite the agreement’s provision to the contrary. A number of interested parties had to work very hard to get VANOC 2010 to rectify the situation.

69It is important to acknowledge that the difficult economic circumstances at the time led VANOC 2010 to review all expenses, including those related to official languages. Nevertheless, many of the difficulties that arose during the preparatory phase can be attributed to the fact that VANOC 2010’s leaders did not necessarily have the official-language “reflex,” and as a result, may have underestimated the fundamental importance of official languages to the success of the Games.

70The inadequacy of translation and interpretation resources was resolved by means of an additional Government of Canada contribution, which enabled VANOC 2010 to utilize the services of the Translation Bureau, an agency of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Although this last-minute intervention was appropriate under the circumstances, steps should be taken to avoid such situations in the future. According to the OCOL (2011b), translation and interpretation services are essential and should be integrated into the federal government’s basic contribution to major sport events.

The Vancouver Games Opening Ceremony: A Window to the World—Almost Entirely in One Language

71As indicated earlier, the considerable work accomplished by VANOC 2010 and Canadian Heritage to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that marked the preparatory phase was apparent in every facet of the Games. Nevertheless, certain shortcomings were noted. For example, some announcements were not made in both official languages at certain venues. VANOC 2010 had deployed its bilingual volunteers strategically, an appropriate measure under the circumstances, but it also meant that French services were not available in some locations. In addition, some unilingual volunteers did not follow procedure and refer people to a bilingual colleague. Moreover, the OCOL’s on-site personnel were unable to find any souvenir programs in French. It is also regrettable that some sponsors posted information in English only.

72As for federal institutions providing key services—including services for travellers as well as health and safety services—many took steps to meet the higher demand for services in both official languages, but only a few monitored the availability of these services in order to ensure that visitors were always provided service in the official language of their choice (OCOL, 2011b).

  • 13 The opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games was held on February 12, 2010 at BC Place Stadium (...)
  • 14 The expression ‘narrative component’ refers to musical performances, choreography and speeches tha (...)

73However, it was the large discrepancy in the use of English and French during the Olympic Games opening ceremony,13 which was broadcast worldwide, that drew the most attention, casting a shadow over the numerous success stories. While French was noticeably present in the protocol components of the opening ceremony, the near total absence of French in the narrative component14 raised the ire of many people. After receiving 39 complaints regarding the ceremony’s content, the OCOL carried out an investigation and determined that these complaints were founded.

74While the ceremony itself included participants from both language groups, French was heard very little outside the strict protocol components. An excerpt of a poem by Quebec author François-Xavier Garneau was translated into English, and the only French-language song came at the very end of the ceremony. VANOC 2010 and Canadian Heritage (which contributed CA$ 20M to the ceremony) highlighted the Francophone contribution to the ceremony and the addition of visual components representing the Francophonie. In the opinion of the OCOL (2011b, p. 17), “non-spoken performances by Francophone artists cannot compensate for the lack of participation by French-speaking Canadians expressing themselves in their language in song, speeches or in other ways.” While recognizing that organizing this type of event is highly complex, the Commissioner:

deplores the fact that the language clauses negotiated by Canadian Heritage in the contribution agreement were not more explicit regarding both the presence of French in the cultural part of the opening ceremony and the proper representation of official language communities. (OCOL, 2010, p. 43)

Maintaining the Standard Set in Vancouver

75Notwithstanding the shortcomings previously mentioned, the Vancouver Games raised the bar in terms of public services in both official languages and co-operation with official language minority communities. In addition to bilingual services, the importance of working with official language minority communities and taking into account their needs in organizing major sport events have become inescapable. This co-operation is included in the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Multi-Party Agreement for the event to be held in the Greater Toronto Area (2015 Pan Parapan American Games, 2009). This constitutes major progress and another linguistic legacy of the Vancouver Games.

76Because national and international sport events provide a platform where our two official linguistic communities come together, and because they project Canada’s image, these events must uphold the standard set by the Vancouver Games. To aid organizing committees and contributing federal institutions in preparation for upcoming major sport events in Canada, the OCOL offers information, ideas and advice in a practical guide that draws on the Vancouver Games experience (OCOL, 2011a). This section provides a brief outline of the planning steps described in the guide.

77It is important for all agreements governing the Government of Canada’s financial and logistical assistance to be clear and identify the anticipated results, performance indicators and accountability mechanisms so that signatories have a firm grasp of their official languages obligations.

78The role of any federal institution that co-ordinates the Government of Canada’s participation in an event is not only to guide the organizers but also to monitor preparations attentively and on an ongoing basis, as well as to take necessary corrective action. It is important for the federal funding agency to provide the organizing committee with advice and expertise on how to meet its language obligations. The federal partner and organizers must define their mutual expectations from the outset. The federal partner must also clearly define what such terms as ‘sufficient,’ ‘adequate’ mean from an operational perspective.

79A team in charge of official languages, provided with sufficient resources and authority, must be put in place at the beginning of the process. It is also important to establish a language policy that is promoted by senior management as being vital to the event’s success. Indeed, the personnel’s work to promote Canada’s official languages will not be fully effective unless management is firmly committed to presenting a bilingual event. To carry out the necessary follow-up, official languages must be a regular item on meeting agendas. This work will be considerably easier if the organizing committee includes a sufficient number of people who are aware of the cultural sensitivities and references of both language groups. It is also important to ensure that sufficient human and financial resources are available to meet all translation and interpretation needs, including the growing demand as the event approaches.

80In terms of public services, an active offer of services must be made in both official languages through a bilingual greeting. Unilingual staff must be familiar with and follow the procedure for contacting a bilingual colleague whenever a member of the public communicates with them in the other official language. It is important to hire sufficient numbers of bilingual personnel to satisfy the demand at every public point of service, at all times. Moreover, planning must include contingency measures to handle unforeseen events and emergency situations.

81Cooperating with official language minority communities and taking their needs into account when preparing events has become essential, as indicated above. This co-operation stems from the commitment made by the Government of Canada, as a financial and logistical contributor to the event, to promote their development and enhance their vitality. To ensure the committee takes community needs into account, it must establish a relationship based on dialogue and co-operation with the community. Creating an advisory committee and signing agreements with community representatives are some of the means by which this goal can be met. In any event, it is important to define the roles and expectations of each party at the outset.

82To ensure that ceremonies properly reflect Canada’s linguistic duality, it is critical that both official languages be used in the spoken and visual aspects of performances. Both languages must be heard beyond the official speeches. However, an adequate representation of linguistic duality in the ceremonies and cultural performances does not necessarily mean a precise half-and-half mix. Rather the balance depends on the situation. It is vital, however, that the clauses governing the government’s contribution clearly set out its expectations of the organizers, and that the organizers ensure they are adequately reflecting the cultural richness and diversity of both official language communities.

83Language requirements are minimum standards, and responsible organizations are free to exceed these requirements to better serve the two official language communities. Even when the provisions are clear, difficulties related to official languages are not always the result of bad faith. Forecasts may turn out to be in error, for instance. By handling official languages questions in a timely fashion and allocating sufficient resources, it will be possible to prevent situations that could tarnish an event’s reputation. Accordingly, planning and follow-up are essential ingredients to ensure success.

Conclusion

84Official languages are an important part of the Canadian sport system, just like equitable participation and ethics. In recent decades, major progress has been made in including specific language obligations in agreements governing the federal government’s financial contributions to sport organizations and the organizing committees of major sport events. Today, whenever the Government of Canada grants its support to a sport organization or to a committee responsible for organizing a major sport event, it is just as crucial for that support to be paired with clear and comprehensive provisions and close monitoring of their implementation. Official languages success stories are rarely a product of chance. They require understanding, leadership, planning, execution and evaluation, a series of crucial steps illustrated in the OCOL’s Annual Report 2009–2010 as a virtuous circle (OCOL, 2010).

85In recent decades, there has been a great improvement in the level of co-operation with official language minority communities and the degree to which their needs are considered. These efforts must be pursued and bolstered, both for major sport events and sport organizations that receive financial support from the Government of Canada. This would be in keeping with the spirit of the Official Languages Act and in the best interest of all Canadians.

86Canada is showing increasing maturity in implementing federal language policy. However, upholding official languages principles must be a reflex, not an afterthought. Vigilance is required from every stakeholder in the Canadian sport system to avoid situations where one language becomes more official than the other and the fundamental objectives of Canada’s language framework are not respected.

Bibliographie

References

2015 Pan Parapan American Games. (2009). 2015 Pan Parapan American Games Multi Party Agreement. Toronto, ON: Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee. Retrieved from http://www.toronto2015.org/assets/files/pdf/multipart-TO2015.pdf

Adam, D. (2007). Les langues officielles et la participation des athlètes francophones dans le système sportif canadien. In J.-P. Augustin & C. Dallaire (Eds.), Jeux, sports et francophonie: L’exemple du Canada (pp. 27–50). Talence, FR: Maison des Sciences de l’Homme d’Aquitaine.

Canada. (1982). Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982. Enacted as Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982, 1982, c. 11, (U.K.)

Canadian Heritage. (2002). Multi-Party Agreement for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Retrieved from http://www.canada2010.gc.ca/role/gc/mpa/MPA-e.pdf

Canadian Heritage. (2007). Proposal: Sport Canada 2008–12 Action plan for official languages. Retrieved from http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/sc/pubs/pda-ap/pda-ap-eng.pdf

Canadian Heritage. (2008). Federal policy for hosting international sport events. Ottawa, ON: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/sc/pol/acc/2008/accueil-host_2008eng.pdf

Commissioner of Official Languages. (1980). Annual report 1979. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

Commissioner of Official Languages. (1981). Annual report 1980. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

Commissioner of Official Languages. (1982). Official languages audit. Fitness and Amateur Sport program, Secretary of State department. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

Commissioner of Official Languages. (1985). Annual report 1984. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

Commissioner of Official Languages. (1989). Annual report 1988. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

Commissioner of Official Languages. (1999). Annual report 1998. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Commissioner of Official Languages. (2000). Annual report 1999–2000. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Federal-Provincial Advisory Committee. (1990). Federal-Provincial Advisory Committee on equal linguistic access to services in sport. Report submitted to assistant deputy ministers and interested deputy ministers. Ottawa, ON: Author.

Fraser, G. (2010, September 22). Linguistic duality in Canada and narratives on language: For a different reading of history. Speaking notes for a presentation at the monthly meeting of the Société d’histoire de Toronto and the Alliance française de Toronto. Retrieved from http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/html/speech_discours_22092010_e.php

Mills, D. (1998). Sport in Canada: Everybody’s business. Leadership, partnership and accountability. Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Sub-Committee on the Study of Sport in Canada. Ottawa, ON: Government of Canada. Retrieved from http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=1031530&Mode=1&Parl=36&Ses=&Language=E

Minister’s Task Force. (1992). Sport: The way ahead. Minister’s task force on federal sport policy. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2000). Official languages in the Canadian sports system, vol. 1. Ottawa, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ocolclo.gc.ca/docs/e/sport1_e.pdf

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2003). Official languages in the Canadian sport system: Follow-up. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/docs/e/SportEng.pdf

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2008). Raising our game for Vancouver 2010: Towards a Canadian model of linguistic duality in international sport. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/docs/e/vanoc_covan_e.pdf

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2009). Raising our game for Vancouver 2010: Towards a Canadian model of linguistic duality in international sport—Follow-up report. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/docs/e/vanoc_covan_2009_e.pdf

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2010). Annual report 2009–2010: Beyond obligations, Volume II. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2011a). Organizing a major sporting event in Canada: A practical guide to promoting official languages. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/docs/e/guide_eng.pdf

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. (2011b). Raising our game for Vancouver 2010: Final report on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Ottawa, ON: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Retrieved from http://www.ocol-clo.gc.ca/docs/e/stu_etu_games_jeux_e_02_2011.pdf

Parliament of Canada. (2003). Bill C-12. An Act to promote physical activity and sport (S.C. 2003, c. 2). Retrieved from http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/LegislativeSummaries/37/2/c12-e.pdf

Sport Canada. (2002). The Canadian sport policy. Ottawa, ON: Department of Canadian Heritage. Retrieved from http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/sc/pol/pcs-csp/2003/polsport-eng.pdf

Sport Canada. (2012). Canadian sport policy 2012. Ottawa, ON: Department of Canadian Heritage. Retrieved from http://sirc.ca/CSPRenewal/documents/CSP2012_EN_LR.pdf

Stubbs, D. (1998, February 7). ‘Embarassing’ start for COA: Canadian officials virtually ignore French-speaking athletes during team reception. The Montreal Gazette, p. D1.

Svoboda, M., & Donnelly, P. (2006). Linguistic barriers to access to high performance sport—study, 2005. Toronto, ON: TNS Canadian Facts Social Policy Research. Retrieved from http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/sc/pubs/obstacles_linguistiques-linguistic_barriers/obstacles_linguistiqueslinguistic_barriers-eng.pdf

Notes

2 In this chapter, the term ‘international sport events’ refers to international events held in Canada.

3 Some sections of this chapter rely on content from Commissioner Adam’s (2007) chapter.

4 Note that in this document, the term ‘sport organization’ refers to the three types of organizations.

5 This section essentially presents the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ 2000 study as summarized in Adam (2007).

6 This section essentially presents the follow-up report as summarized in Adam (2007).

7 With this announcement, the Multi-Party Agreement signed by the various levels of government, the host cities (Vancouver and Whistler), and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees came fully into force.

8 Although VANOC 2010 was not a federal institution subject to the Official Languages Act, the Multi-Party Agreement and the contribution agreements signed with the Government of Canada contained specific language obligations. The Department of Canadian Heritage, which co-ordinated the Government of Canada’s role in the event, was in charge of ensuring that VANOC fulfilled the language obligations contained in the Multi-Party Agreement governing the Games.

9 The Office of the Commissioner did not carry out systematic monitoring to check compliance. However, the Commissioner was present at the Olympic Winter Games from February 12 to 17, 2010, and other members of his staff also attended. The assessment was completed by means of exhaustive documentary searches and interviews conducted after the Games for the purpose of drafting the final report on the Games.

10 English and French are the official languages of both Canada and the Olympic Movement. However, Canada’s official languages requirements applicable to VANOC went further than the Olympic requirements in terms of the presence of French. These language requirements applied just as fully to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, even though English is the only official language of the Paralympic Movement.

11 Following the study of the state of preparedness of 11 federal institutions to meet the increased demand for French services in connection with the Games, the Commissioner asked them to monitor their own performance during the Games and to report to it thereafter. Chapter 8 of the Final Report on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (which begins on p. 25) presents the information provided by the federal institutions (OCOL, 2011b).

12 Senate of Canada, Standing Committee on Official Languages. Reflecting Canada’s Linguistic Duality at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: A Golden Opportunity. 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. http://www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/392/offi/rep/rep04jun08-e.htm.

13 The opening ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games was held on February 12, 2010 at BC Place Stadium. It is not to be confused with the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Winter Games.

14 The expression ‘narrative component’ refers to musical performances, choreography and speeches that went beyond strict protocol components, where French was very present as an official language of the Olympic Movement.

Auteur

Highly respected journalist and author. During a long and distinguished career that has straddled the language divide, Graham has reported on issues affecting Canada and Canadians, including cultural and foreign policy; constitutional debates; and provincial, national, and international politics. Graham has written five books Fighting Back: Urban Renewal in Trefann Court (1972), Playing for Keeps: The Making of a Prime Minister (1988) and Vous m’intéressez: Chroniques (2001). His latest book, Sorry, I Don’t Speak French (2006) helped stimulate renewed public discussion of language policy in Canada. Graham’s 1984 book PQ: René Lévesque and the Parti Québecois in Power which deals with Québec language policy was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction

© Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa | University of Ottawa Press, 2013

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540