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Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario

Filing of French documents available in all Ontario courthouses by February, AG announces

Friday, September 24, 2021 @ 3:52 PM | By Amanda Jerome

On Sept. 24, Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General announced that document filing in French will be possible at all courthouses across the province.

According to a government release, these “changes, which will also expand access to translation of documents, will come into force on February 1, 2022, and will be available in every type of proceeding, including criminal, civil and family law matters.”

In a statement, Attorney General Doug Downey stressed that the government is “determined to work with justice partners and participants to accelerate access to justice across Ontario, including in Francophone, rural and Northern communities.”

Doug Downey, Ontario Attorney General

Doug Downey, Ontario Attorney General

“Expanding the filing of documents in French to all Ontario courthouses is another important breakthrough in our work to better meet expectations for how justice can be done,” he added.

The changes, introduced in the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, the release noted, will provide a better, more consistent experience for Francophones accessing the court system, including having the right to:

  • file documents written in French at all Ontario courts, in all types of proceedings
  • request and receive the translation of any filed document into English or documents filed in English into French."

Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney said “Franco-Ontarians deserve to have access to justice in French.”

“This Act will strengthen French language services in courthouses across the province. It is an additional step forward that highlights our government’s commitment to our Francophonie and our determination to support its full development,” she added in a statement.

According to a government release, 1.5 million Ontarians speak French, and “more than 620,000 Ontarians identify as Francophones.”

“Ontario has the largest French-speaking community in Canada outside of Quebec,” the release noted.

“Ontario’s Francophone community holds an important and unique position in our province’s past, present and future,” explained Downey.

“Our government is committed to respecting, protecting and advancing the fundamental rights, gains and progress that Franco-Ontarians have worked for over the course of generations,” he added.

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