The Office québécois de la langue française

The Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF) (English: Quebec Board of the French Language) is a public organization established on March 24, 1961 by the Liberal government of Jean Lesage. Attached to the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, its initial mission, defined in its report of April 1, 1964 was “to align on international French, promote good Canadianisms and fight Anglicisms, […] work on the normalization of the language in Québec and support State intervention to carry out a global language policy that would consider notably the importance of socio-economic motivations in making French the priority language in Québec.”

Its mandate was enlarged by the 1977 Charter of the French Language, which also established two other organizations: the Commission de toponymie (Commission of Toponymy) and the Conseil supérieur de la langue française (Superior Council of the French Language).

History

The Office was originally named Office de la langue française (OLF), and is still occasionally referred to as such. The OLF was renamed OQLF pursuant to the adoption of Bill 104 by the National Assembly of Quebec on June 12, 2003, which also merged the OLF with the Commission de protection de la langue française (Commission of protection of the French language) and part of the Conseil supérieur de la langue française.

The creation of a “Board of the French language” was one of the recommendations of the Tremblay Royal Commission of Inquiry on Constitutional Problems which published its five-volume report in 1956.[2] Such an institution was part of the list of 46 vows formulated by the Second Congress on the French Language in Canada held in Quebec City in 1937.

Mission and Powers

Sections 159 to 164 of the Québec Charter of the French Language defines the mission and powers of the commission.:

  • To define and conduct Quebec’s policy pertaining to linguistic officialization, terminology and francization of public administration and businesses; (Section 159)
  • To monitor the linguistic situation in Québec and to report thereon to the Minister at least every five years; (Section 160)
  • To see to it that French is the normal and everyday language of work, communication, commerce and business in the civil administration and in enterprises; (Section 161)
  • To assist and inform the civil administration, semi-public agencies, enterprises, associations and natural persons as regards the correction and enrichment of spoken and written French in Québec; (Section 162)
  • To establish the research programmes needed for the application of the Act. (Section 163)
  • To make agreements or take part in joint projects with any person or agency. (Section 164)

In 2004, the organization had a yearly budget of $17.8 million. In 2005-2006, the budget rose to $18.5 million and in 2007-2008 to $19.0 million.

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