When lawyers and paralegals have clients who speak French, they have a responsibility to advise them of their French-language rights, as set out in the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct and in the Paralegal Rules of Conduct. The resources included below describe lawyers and paralegals’ responsibilities to advise their clients of their language rights, to discuss when and in what circumstances that responsibility applies, and to ensure that lawyers are aware of their responsibility in this respect.
The following is a brochure for members of the public on their right to receive legal services in French.
You have a legal issue - You speak French
French Language Services Protocol
The Law Society of Upper Canada and the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner are pleased to announce the establishment of a protocol to address complaints received about the Law Society’s French language services, effective October 4, 2014.
The protocol lists the terms and conditions under which the Commissioner may refer a complaint to the Law Society for investigation, and details the process by which the complaint will be investigated, which will promote equitable access to services in French to the Francophone community.
The Law Society has acknowledged that persons have the right to communicate in French with the organization, and to receive in French available services from the Law Society. “This is an important confirmation of the rights of Ontarians, as well as a confirmation of the Law Society’s continuing commitment to access to justice in French,” said Treasurer Janet Minor.
“I am very pleased to have achieved this important protocol with the Law Society,” said French Language Services Commissioner François Boileau. “It gives me confidence that anyone wishing to communicate with the Law Society or to benefit from their services, will be able to do so in French.”
Full details of the protocol can be found here.
French Language Services Policy
The Law Society of Upper Canada has adopted a French Language Services Policy to complement its obligation under By-Law 2. The policy is available here.