The French Language Services Act, 1986 (FLSA) guarantees to every person the right to communicate with and to receive all services in French from the Government of Ontario, its ministries and agencies. This includes the right to full and equal access to administrative justice services.
The Tribunal has set out the following guidelines to assist staff in meeting FLSA requirements.
- Proceedings before the Tribunal may be held in English or in French or in both English and French.
- Parties, witnesses, counsel and interveners participating in proceedings may choose to be heard in English or French.
- Mechanisms will be in place to ensure that French-speaking clients have the same opportunities to participate in French as their English-speaking counterparts, and that all parties are able to communicate freely and understand each other in either French or English.
- All parties to proceedings, including adjudicators, representatives and witnesses must be able to communicate freely and understand each other in either French or English.
- Linguistic assistance will be provided to parties at Tribunal hearings. Linguistic assistance outside of the hearing may be provided at the discretion of the Panel or Vice-Chair.
Contact with the public
Any person has the right to communicate with and/or obtain Tribunal services in French. The level of services and communication offered to French-speaking participants will be the same as the level of service and communication offered to English-speaking participants.
All written materials generated by the Tribunal for public consumption, including publications, the Tribunal's internet website, practice directions and general information will be available in English and French.
Forms designed for the parties will be bilingual, or at least available in French and English. Single language forms will carry the notice that they are also available in the other language.
All aspects of hearings, such as the production of documents, the presentation of arguments and submissions, questioning and cross-questioning may be carried out in English or French.
Proceedings may be held in English or in French and when necessary in both languages.
Parties to proceedings have the right to receive notice of the hearing in either English or French.
Notice of Appeal Application forms (NOA) must give appellants the choice of having their case heard in English or French.
The appellant and the respondent will have the choice of communicating in either English or French with the Tribunal throughout the proceedings.
Parties, witnesses, counsel and interveners participating in any proceedings may choose to be heard in English or French.
Linguistic assistance will be provided through qualified interpreters to enable French-speaking or English-speaking participants to actively participate without prejudice to them.
Where one of the parties has requested to participate in the hearing in the French language, all members of the Panel or the Vice-Chair sitting alone will be fluent in French.
Parties may submit written submissions or evidence either in English or in French. These documents will form part of the record in the language in which they are submitted.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s file will be reproduced and provided to the parties in the form in which the Board provides it to the Tribunal pursuant to section 125(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
The Tribunal will not translate the Board file or provide translations of hearing transcripts.
All communications between Tribunal staff and the Vice-Chair or Panel that need to be disclosed to the parties will be disclosed in the language of the hearing.
If the parties communicate with the Tribunal in different languages (i.e. one party uses French and the other party uses English), all communications between Tribunal staff and the Vice-Chair or Panel that need to be disclosed to the parties will be disclosed in both languages or translated. In such cases, Vice-Chair or Panel instructions will be disclosed in both languages or translated if necessary.
Correspondence with the Board
Tribunal correspondence with the Board will be disclosed in the language of the hearing.
If the parties communicate with the Tribunal in different languages (i.e. one party uses French and the other party uses English), Tribunal correspondence with the Board will be disclosed in both languages or translated.
Where one of the parties participates in the proceedings in French, the Tribunal will ask the Board to forward the policies that apply to the subject-matter of the appeal pursuant to section 126(2) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act in both English and French.
Correspondence with the parties
The Tribunal will communicate in the language requested by the parties on the Notice of Appeal (NOA) or Response Form notwithstanding the fact that the party's representative may speak a different language. A party may change the language of his or her communication with the Tribunal by notifying the Tribunal in writing of this request.
Tribunal decisions will be released in the language of the hearing.
Decisions relating to hearings where the parties have participated in both English and French will be released simultaneously in both languages.
The Tribunal will review these guidelines annually to ensure that they reflect the current state of the FLSA. The Tribunal has a French Language Services coordinator to oversee this review and to respond to inquiries regarding French language services with the Tribunal.
Dated at Toronto this 7th day of February, 2012