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“What language do you speak?”: Pearson Airport faces its language liabilities

“What language do you speak?”: Pearson Airport faces its language liabilities

From the moment they walk through the gates until they board their plane, passengers passing through the country’s busiest airport are entitled to service in French. But in the context of difficult hiring, Pearson Airport has a policy that, according to one lawyer, conflicts with the principles of the Official Languages ​​Act.

On December 12, Radio-Canada visited dozens of restaurants at the airport. None of them were able to provide service in French.

Most restaurateurs did not even know Molière’s language. what language do you speak? For example, a café manager asked.

But the law on official languages ​​is clear. It is the responsibility of federal institutions to ensure this […] Organizational services provided to travelers by third parties approved by them for this purpose, in both official languageswe can read in federal law.

These regulatory services include those provided by restaurants, car rental agencies, currency exchange offices and duty-free shops.

The leases that Pearson Airport’s director signs with restaurant owners require bilingual signage.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Yannick Lepage

In response to a recent complaint filed with the Office of the Official Languages ​​Commissioner, the director of Pearson Airport confirmed that restaurant owners’ leases require them to Make an active offer of bilingual service and provide services covered by the law in both official languages.

What is active display?

The active offer of service is an invitation to the public to use one of the two official Canadian languages: French or English. The active display includes a bilingual welcome, e.g Hello Hello.

In a memo sent to Radio-Canada, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) explains its expectations of its merchants.