Language Policies in Canada: Building on Progress

Debates about the recognition and protection of Canada’s two official languages, English and French, have been prominent throughout Canadian history. Indeed, measures for their use in key political and judicial institutions were part of the compromise that led to the country’s founding. In their recently published paper, Linda Cardinal and Miranda Huron review the evolution of language policies adopted by the federal government and by certain provinces and territories – for French and English, as well as for Indigenous languages. The authors include a timely discussion of Bill C-13 (now before the House of Commons), which proposes a significant reform of the federal Official Languages Act.

The authors conclude: “There is a tradition of well-established language policies in Canada, but there is always room for improvement. Language policies, like any other public policy, need to be revised and modernized in order to remain legitimate and effective. In fact, it is good practice to review language policies at regular intervals as stipulated in the recent Quebec and federal legislation and in the Indigenous Languages Act, and to prioritize them for discussion at federal/provincial/territorial ministers’ meetings.”

In this webinar, the authors and expert panelists discuss the findings of the paper and the implications for future language policy making in Canada.


Linda Cardinal
Professor, Université de l’Ontario français

Miranda Huron
Director, Indigenous Education and Affairs, Capilano University

Charles Breton
Executive Director, Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation, Institute for Research on Public Policy


Graham Fraser
Former Commissioner of Official Languages

Download « Canada’s Language Policies: Well Established, but Still Room for Improvement » by Linda Cardinal and Mirando Huron (Forum of Federations, 2022) here:

Forum of Federations