Canadian Refugee Procedure/Official Languages Act

Relevant provisions of the Official Languages Act[1] read:

Section 3: InterpretationEdit

Definitions

3 (1) In this Act,
Commissioner means the Commissioner of Official Languages for Canada appointed under section 49; (commissaire)

Crown corporation means
(a) a corporation that is ultimately accountable, through a Minister, to Parliament for the conduct of its affairs, and
(b) a parent Crown corporation or a wholly-owned subsidiary, within the meaning of section 83 of the Financial Administration Act; (sociétés d’État)

department means a department as defined in section 2 of the Financial Administration Act; (ministère)

federal institution includes any of the following institutions of the Parliament or government of Canada:
(a) the Senate,
(b) the House of Commons,
(c) the Library of Parliament,
(c.1) the office of the Senate Ethics Officer and the office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner,
(c.2) the Parliamentary Protective Service,
(c.3) the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer,
(d) any federal court,
(e) any board, commission or council, or other body or office, established to perform a governmental function by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament or by or under the authority of the Governor in Council,
(f) a department of the Government of Canada,
(g) a Crown corporation established by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament, and
(h) any other body that is specified by an Act of Parliament to be an agent of Her Majesty in right of Canada or to be subject to the direction of the Governor in Council or a minister of the Crown,

but does not include
(i) any institution of the Legislative Assembly or government of Yukon, the Northwest Territories or Nunavut, or
(j) any Indian band, band council or other body established to perform a governmental function in relation to an Indian band or other group of aboriginal people; (institutions fédérales)

National Capital Region means the National Capital Region described in the schedule to the National Capital Act. (région de la capitale nationale)

Definition of federal court
(2) In this section and in Parts II and III, federal court means any court, tribunal or other body that carries out adjudicative functions and is established by or pursuant to an Act of Parliament.

Part III: Administration of JusticeEdit

PART III
Administration of Justice

Official languages of federal courts
14 English and French are the official languages of the federal courts, and either of those languages may be used by any person in, or in any pleading in or process issuing from, any federal court.

Hearing of witnesses in official language of choice
15 (1) Every federal court has, in any proceedings before it, the duty to ensure that any person giving evidence before it may be heard in the official language of his choice, and that in being so heard the person will not be placed at a disadvantage by not being heard in the other official language.

Duty to provide simultaneous interpretation
(2) Every federal court has, in any proceedings conducted before it, the duty to ensure that, at the request of any party to the proceedings, facilities are made available for the simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings, including the evidence given and taken, from one official language into the other.

Federal court may provide simultaneous interpretation
(3) A federal court may, in any proceedings conducted before it, cause facilities to be made available for the simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings, including evidence given and taken, from one official language into the other where it considers the proceedings to be of general public interest or importance or where it otherwise considers it desirable to do so for members of the public in attendance at the proceedings.

Duty to ensure understanding without an interpreter
16 (1) Every federal court, other than the Supreme Court of Canada, has the duty to ensure that
(a) if English is the language chosen by the parties for proceedings conducted before it in any particular case, every judge or other officer who hears those proceedings is able to understand English without the assistance of an interpreter;
(b) if French is the language chosen by the parties for proceedings conducted before it in any particular case, every judge or other officer who hears those proceedings is able to understand French without the assistance of an interpreter; and
(c) if both English and French are the languages chosen by the parties for proceedings conducted before it in any particular case, every judge or other officer who hears those proceedings is able to understand both languages without the assistance of an interpreter.

Adjudicative functions
(2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies to a federal court only in relation to its adjudicative functions.

Limitation
(3) No federal court, other than the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court or the Tax Court of Canada, is required to comply with subsection (1) until five years after that subsection comes into force.

R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 16 2002, c. 8, s. 155
Authority to make implementing rules

17 (1) The Governor in Council may make any rules governing the procedure in proceedings before any federal court, other than the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court or the Tax Court of Canada, including rules respecting the giving of notice, that the Governor in Council deems necessary to enable that federal court to comply with sections 15 and 16 in the exercise of any of its powers or duties.

Supreme Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Federal Court and Tax Court of Canada

(2) Subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada may make any rules governing the procedure in their own proceedings, including rules respecting the giving of notice, that they deem necessary to enable themselves to comply with sections 15 and 16 in the exercise of any of their powers or duties.

R.S., 1985, c. 31 (4th Supp.), s. 17 2002, c. 8, s. 156
Language of civil proceedings where Her Majesty is a party

18 Where Her Majesty in right of Canada or a federal institution is a party to civil proceedings before a federal court,

(a) Her Majesty or the institution concerned shall use, in any oral or written pleadings in the proceedings, the official language chosen by the other parties unless it is established by Her Majesty or the institution that reasonable notice of the language chosen has not been given; and

(b) if the other parties fail to choose or agree on the official language to be used in those pleadings, Her Majesty or the institution concerned shall use such official language as is reasonable, having regard to the circumstances.

Bilingual forms

19 (1) The pre-printed portion of any form that is used in proceedings before a federal court and is required to be served by any federal institution that is a party to the proceedings on any other party shall be in both official languages.

Particular details

(2) The particular details that are added to a form referred to in subsection (1) may be set out in either official language but, where the details are set out in only one official language, it shall be clearly indicated on the form that a translation of the details into the other official language may be obtained, and, if a request for a translation is made, a translation shall be made available forthwith by the party that served the form.

Decisions, orders and judgments that must be made available simultaneously

20 (1) Any final decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given therefor, issued by any federal court shall be made available simultaneously in both official languages where

(a) the decision, order or judgment determines a question of law of general public interest or importance; or

(b) the proceedings leading to its issuance were conducted in whole or in part in both official languages.

Other decisions, orders and judgments

(2) Where

(a) any final decision, order or judgment issued by a federal court is not required by subsection (1) to be made available simultaneously in both official languages, or

(b) the decision, order or judgment is required by paragraph (1)(a) to be made available simultaneously in both official languages but the court is of the opinion that to make the decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given therefor, available simultaneously in both official languages would occasion a delay prejudicial to the public interest or resulting in injustice or hardship to any party to the proceedings leading to its issuance,

the decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given therefor, shall be issued in the first instance in one of the official languages and thereafter, at the earliest possible time, in the other official language, each version to be effective from the time the first version is effective.

Oral rendition of decisions not affected

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) or (2) shall be construed as prohibiting the oral rendition or delivery, in only one of the official languages, of any decision, order or judgment or any reasons given therefor.

Decisions not invalidated

(4) No decision, order or judgment issued by a federal court is invalid by reason only that it was not made or issued in both official languages.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Official Languages Act, RSC 1985, c 31 (4th Supp), <https://canlii.ca/t/530sl>.