In 2004, the Government of Nova Scotia put its commitment to providing services in French into law by passing the French-language Services Act. The French-language Services Act and Regulations provide the framework for the delivery of services in French by the provincial government. The Act’s overall purpose is to provide quality French-language services to the Acadian and francophone community, while contributing to its preservation and growth.
The Act applies to all designated public institutions listed in the French-language Services Regulations, which include all departments and district health authorities, and a number of offices and agencies.
Support from Acadian Affairs
Acadian Affairs offers a full range of programs and services, including professional translation services and project funding, to assist designated public institutions in providing services in French. Designated public institutions can contact Acadian Affairs for more information or for guidance on interpreting the French-language services legislation.
Implementing the French-language Services Act
The French-language services legislation spells out a number of requirements for designated public institutions with respect to French-language services. These obligations apply to a number of business areas, from policy and planning to communications and public consultations. The following provides an overview of these obligations.
Government institutions may have additional legislated obligations or policies relating to French-language services that are not covered here.
French-language Services Plan
Designated public institutions must publish an annual French-language Services Plan before March 31 of each year. The plan must be published in English and French. Learn more about the requirements of French-language Services Plans.
French-language Services Coordinator
The Deputy Minister or CEO of each designated department or office must appoint a French-language services coordinator to assist and advise them on the implementation of the French-language Services Act. French-language services coordinators from departments and offices serve on the interdepartmental French-language Services Coordinating Committee chaired by Acadian Affairs.
Communicating with the Public in French
In their dealings with the public, designated public institutions must ensure that:
- All written communication received in French is replied to in French
- Reasonable and appropriate steps are taken to make the public aware that services are available in French
Issuing Information in French
Designated public institutions should give priority to issuing information simultaneously in French and English when:
- It is of particular relevance to the Acadian and francophone community
- It pertains to French-language service delivery
- Failure to provide the information in French may compromise the health, safety, or security of members of the public
All information issued in both French and English must display the bilingual provincial logo.
French-language services must be provided during at least one session of province-wide public consultations.
Third Party Services
Third parties that provide services on behalf of a designated public institution are required to provide services in accordance with the French-language Services Act and Regulations, if practicable. Designated public institutions must ensure that this is reflected in new contracts or renewals of contracts with third party service providers.
Agencies, Boards and Commissions
Designated public institutions must encourage members of the Acadian and francophone community to become members of provincial agencies, boards and commissions.