Canadian. Language. News.

February 16th, 2021
Welcome to OUR LANGUAGE RIGHTS, bi-weekly curation of language related news across Canada brought to you by LAD Canada, a community of forward-thinking organizations and individuals in the non-profit, public and private sectors, driven by the desire to make a positive impact by advocating for access to information and services in languages people understand. We are interested in the role languages have in economic recovery, education, mental and seniors' health as well as in creating a more equitable and inclusive society. Our objective is to inform, connect and help with increasing visibility for language rights activism efforts through all relevant platforms, offline and online.

Indigenous Languages


Reinstate N.W.T. Language Bureau, legislative committee recommendsules-nwt-assembly-1.5908117 The N.W.T. Legislative Assembly should close down if one of its members wishes to speak in one of the territory's official languages, and no interpreter is available. That's the suggestion from the standing committee on rules and procedures after examining a situation that arose in the legislature last March

Op-ed: Nunavut education minister responds to languages commissioner’s criticisms A letter by David Joanasie, Nunavut Minister of Education addressing misconceptions about  the new Education Act and responds to the questions raised by the languages commissioner.

Conklin linguist one of the last fluent speakers of endangered Nuxalk language Nater, who lives in Conklin, quickly became one of the few remaining people alive fluent in the language. When he returned to Bella Coola in 2017 to work on a book about the language, he could not hear Nuxalk in the streets. There are only three fluent Nuxalk speakers left in the community, all of them elders in their 70s and 80s.

Respected teacher, elder and deputy chief mourned Flags at Nipissing First Nation are flying at half staff in honour of Muriel Sawyer, a respected elder, community leader and language teacher who passed away on the weekend.

Lil'wat artist Russell Wallace releases groundbreaking new album in St'át'imc language Lil'wat artist Russell Wallace's new album is not only a nod to his own personal history and his family's history, but it's a way of making the St'át'imc language more accessible. "I can't watch Star Trek in my language ... Hearing Lady Gaga on the radio, she doesn't sing in our language. Putting out an album really, providing more resources," Wallace said. 

Indigenous poet and residential school survivor named Canada's next parliamentary poet laureate An award-winning Indigenous poet and residential school survivor who has used poetry to confront Canada’s fraught history with Indigenous people has been selected as the next parliamentary poet laureate. Louise Bernice Halfe, who is also known by her Cree name Sky Dancer, was appointed Canada’s ninth poet laureate, succeeding Nova Scotia’s Georgette LeBlanc.


Demand for French immersion rises amid shortage of qualified teachers Social Sharing A Winnipeg French milieu school is being led by a principal who isn't a francophone after a search failed to find a suitable replacement for his predecessor.

ZYUS Life Sciences Increases National Access to Patient Care Through Strategic Partnership with HelloMD, French-Language Website and Bilingual Patient Care Centre a Canadian life sciences company leading scientific research and development in phyto-therapeutics, announced today that it has partnered with recognized telehealth provider, HelloMD, to help prospective patients access independent medical advice in French and English.

Tom Mulcair: Legault changes the channel to language On Friday, Quebec intergovernmental affairs minister Sonia LeBel fired the opening salvo in what promises to be a drawn-out battle with Ottawa over minority language rights.

English language advocates denounce Quebec’s plan to modernize the Official Languages Act  The Quebec government reignited the province’s language debate on Friday after Canadian Francophonie Minister Sonia LeBel revealed a list of recommendations to modernize Canada’s Official Languages Act.

“Situation critical in the North” – Arctic Tourism & and the Pandemic Podcast: Ep 1 Prior to the pandemic, Arctic regions and chambers of commerce around the world had increasingly touted tourism as a key economic tool. It’s an industry that provides jobs for a variety of education levels, promotes small-scale entrepreneurship and creates sustainable development lacking in many of the expensive and hard-to-get-to regions of the North.

Dawson College | PQ will file a motion to block the expansion project The project will serve to create new spaces in the English-speaking college and not only make the spaces more spacious for existing clients, PQ leader Paul Saint-Pierre Plamond‌n condemned on Monday. According to him, any reinvestment to balance the number of places in the CEGEPs according to the population of Montreal should be a priority for the French-speaking college network.

Immigration/ Pandemic and Emergency Communication

Newcomer parents balance raising child with Nigerian traditions and new ones they've made in Canada Grace and Samuel Bajomo have had their share of major life changes over the past year. They arrived in Regina August 2019 — months before a global pandemic — after tying the knot back home in Nigeria. Between dealing with the realities of the new weather and searching for jobs, they had a rocky time adjusting to their new environment.

N.B. groups fill gap by translating pandemic information into dozens of languages When Mohamed Bagha offers advice to a newcomer to Canada in their first language, he said it helps relieve the stress of a big adjustment amid a pandemic. The managing director of the Saint John Newcomers Centre said there has been a need for updates about COVID-19, particularly for those experiencing language barriers.

Syrian refugee family reflects on 5 years of life in Edmonton When she arrived in Canada five years ago, Sali Al-Masalma was confused about her new home and nervous for her first day of school. Sali's family was part of a wave of people that came to Canada from Syria in 2015 and 2016 as refugees fleeing civil war. 

Language Rights and Advocacy


Benchmarks, Strategies and Resources for Teachers of English Language Learners Seeing ASL interpretation at COVID-19 briefings 'an awesome experience': advocate Eleven months ago, Karen Nurkowski was called on to interpret a provincial news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, few Saskatchewan cases were confirmed but people were worried. It was a challenge. There were new words that hadn't been signed before — like as COVID-19 or coronavirus — and she needed to keep up with both reporters' questions and the premier, health minister and chief medical officer's comments. 

Language Education and Technology


Ontario launching autism program in March with initial enrolment of 600 children Ontario's new autism services program will launch in March for 600 children following months of delay, but critics said it would do little to help thousands of families who remain waiting for support.

PWPSD students learning of Inuit history, culture through Indigenous Speaker series Students in the Peace Wapiti Public School Division are getting a chance to learn about Inuit culture and history, as part of the division’s annual Indigenous Speakers series. Aimed at highlighting and promoting Indigenous leaders in the community, and across Canada, the program has brought Goota Desmarais to the division this month, albeit virtually, to present to students and staff across the division about Inuit culture and history.

Five top tips for encouraging inclusive language in the workplace The health network operating a COVID-19 vaccination center in Washington Heights announced Wednesday night that it’s limiting all new appointments to New York City residents, after THE CITY found the site doling out scarce doses to suburbanites. Effective immediately, all new slots will be reserved for residents of the five boroughs, with a minimum of 60% going to people from Washington Heights, Inwood, Northern and Central Harlem and the South Bronx, NewYork-Presbyterian said in a news release.
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