Canadian. Language. News.

March 29th, 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




Nipissing First Nation Chief says Indigenous languages revitalization is critical Comedian shares learning his traditional language on podcast series The Chief of the Nipissing First Nation, west of North Bay, said that he is all for a federal government program, which aims to help Indigenous-led efforts to reclaim, revitalize, maintain and strengthen Indigenous languages. Chief Scott McLeod said that he fully supports the fed’s announcement earlier this month which commits $10 million to fund 78 Indigenous languages programs across Ontario. That’s part of $60 million that the Government of Canada is investing in Indigenous languages programs across the country. The Chief said he has not yet heard how much of that funding will make its way to his community.


10 Indigenous Firsts Indigenous peoples have contributed greatly to Canadian society, culture and politics. Despite facing discrimination, racial segregation and policies of assimilation, Indigenous peoples have fought to make this country a better place for all, and to protect their own Indigenous cultures. From leaders in the fields of medicine and law, to war veterans, chiefs and politicians, many Indigenous peoples have risen to the top of their respective fields, championing a variety of causes. This list of 10 Indigenous “firsts” celebrates those trailblazers who were the first in their profession to make historic accomplishments in Canada.

Modernization plan of Official Languages Act fails Inuit in their homelands  Newly re-elected Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) President Aluki Kotierk is disappointed but not surprised that the plan to modernize the Official Languages Act is “similar” to when it was created in 1969 and made Canada an officially bilingual country.


Self-Governing First Nations in Yukon There are 14 First Nations inYukon. Eleven of these nations are self-governing, while the remaining three are governed under theIndian Act. The 11 self-governing First Nations have legislative and executive powers much like a province&nor territory. In 1993, they signed the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) with the governments of Canada and Yukon. The UFA served as the foundation for individual self-governing agreements made between each First Nation and the territorial and federal governments. These individual agreements were signed between 1993 and 2006. (See also Comprehensive Land Claims.) While the focus of this article is the 11 self-governing First Nations, the remaining three First Nations in Yukon are White River, Liard and Ross River.


Nova Scotia indigenous couple teaches the cast of Vikings to speak in Mi'kmaw The Mi’kmaw language – an indigenous language spoken by nearly 9,000 people in Canada –  was incorporated into the sixth season of Vikings, thanks to an Eskasoni couple from Nova Scotia who made it happen. History Channel’s TV show Vikings tells a story about the adventures of renowned Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok and his people in the year 800. Apart from other plot lines, the sixth and final season unfolds around the Vikings’ trips to North America, where they face the Beothuk, aboriginal people of Newfoundland who have now long been extinct. 


Indigenous languages projects get boost in latest round of federal funding When the Woodland Cultural Centre was founded nearly 50 years ago, its mandate was to repair damages caused to Haudenosaunee culture and languages by the residential school system's long standing legacy.


Change to assisted dying law overlooks Nunavut's mental health crisis, say advocates Nunavut wellness advocates say Canada needs to consider Nunavut voices on changes to the medically assisted dying program. In two years, federal legislation will expand assisted dying to people with a severe mental illness. Medically assisted deaths have been legal in Canada since 2016, but only for people whose death is imminent. Bill C-7 expands the service to people who are very sick and suffering, but not likely to die. 


Pabineau First Nation Elder Gilbert Sewell dies at 81 Gilbert Sewell, a Mi'kmaw elder known for his dedication to language instruction, has died. He was 81. Sewell, from Pabineau First Nation, was a storyteller, woodcarver, guide and oral historian. He taught courses designed to teach young Mi'kmaq their native language.



Government of Canada investment supports the Francophone community in Northwest Territories YELLOWKNIFE, NT, March 23, 2021 /CNW/ - Entrepreneurship is important to the growth and recovery of the Canadian economy, whether national, provincial, territorial or local. The Government of Canada is making investments to help Francophone businesses and communities affected by the pandemic meet new challenges and to help them succeed in a post-COVID economy. On the heels of International Francophonie Day, the Government of Canada is making key investments to ensure the sustainability and vitality of the Francophone business community in the Northwest Territories.


Opinion: Some fundamental truths about language in Quebec Now that our perennial language debate in Quebec is heating up again, it is timely to reflect on some fundamental truths. First, language is an essential public good. It might be compared to arithmetic, as an example of universally important human knowledge.


Statement by the Prime Minister on the International Day of La Francophonie  "Today, on the International Day of La Francophonie, we join Francophones and Francophiles in Canada and around the world to celebrate the French language and the diversity of our Francophone culture and heritage. This day is also an opportunity to celebrate our Francophone communities which, throughout our history, have played an important role in making Canada a dynamic, more inclusive and prosperous country.


Immigration/ Pandemic and Emergency Communication

Caledon Community Services Helping Newcomers Find Their Way Caledon Community Services (CCS), is thrilled to announce they have expanded their programs to include a wide range of settlement services and programs.  In these challenging times it has been even more important for CCS to help newcomers to Canada become better integrated with the community in Caledon and surrounding areas. By becoming a part of a community hub in the new Southfields Community Centre in Southfield Village, Caledon, Ontario, they are in the heart of Caledon’s growing neighbourhood.


Language specific vaccine info sessions available for Guelph newcomers Immigrant and newcomer communities living in Wellington County and Guelph can tune into language specific workshops that focus on providing information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

‘Complex barriers’: Spreading COVID-19 messaging to Canada’s non-English speakers From ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines and new research to misinformation and conspiracy theories, it has not been easy keeping up with the coronavirus infodemic. As most of us attempt to navigate through the scientific jargon and make sense of what a variant is, how mRNA vaccines work, or which mask to wear, getting the right word out is important. 

Language Rights and Advocacy



Cisco Webex introduces real-time translation to meetings When Cisco announced the upcoming real-time translation feature for its Webex conferencing platform in December 2020, it said it would begin with 15 languages. It quickly realized that wasn’t enough. Today the company introduced real-time translation from English to 109 languages. Each user can select their preferred language during a call.


Sign language courses in high school a good move, advocate says Starting this fall, Ontario high schools may offer American Sign Language (ASL) and Langue des signes québécoise (LSQ) as a second language. It's great news for people like Travis Morgan, who's with the Northern Ontario Association for the Deaf, but he says the development came as a bit of a surprise.

Language Education and Technology


There’s no health data available by race, ethnicity or language in the health system in Nova Scotia Sharon Davis-Murdoch, co-president and founding member of the Health Association of African Canadians, says health data is not available by race, ethnicity or language in Canada’s health system. “There is research, but that is different from data,” says Davis-Murdoch.


Nearly 200,000 Ontarians aged 80 and older have not signed up for a COVID-19 vaccination A little under three-quarters of Ontarians age 80 and older have either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have signed up for a shot, a proportion that has some health experts say is not high enough.


Why people don’t use COVID contract tracing apps Researchers at York University in Toronto point out that the contract tracing app in Canada is only offered in the official languages of French and English. Canada has a large number of immigrants and other newcomers, and government information from 2016, showed that 648,970 or 1.9 per cent of the population uses neither language.
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