Demand low for French

Richard Froese
South Peace News
It appears High Prairie RCMP will become exempt from being required to provide services and documents in the French language.

That was the consensus during a community forum Oct. 25 hosted by the RCMP when no French-speaking local residents appeared.

“From the comments we heard, there doesn’t seem to be a need for the French language in the High Prairie detachment,” says Loretta Beaudet, Alberta regional program manager of the official languages program, RCMP.

Three local residents at the meeting indicated the detachment area does not have many francophone citizens to demand the service.

Community consultation was part of the process as results from the data collected through the Official Languages Regulations Re-application Exercise [OLRRE] indicate that High Prairie detachment is no longer required to provide services in both official languages.

Census statistics in 2011 show that less than five per cent of the population used French as main language, she says.

“Significant demand is a minimum of five per cent,” Beaudet says.

In August 2013, the review was launched by Treasury Board, which mandated a review and update of the linguistic designation of all offices of federal institutions that provide services to and communicate with the public, subject to the requirements of Part IV of the Official Languages Act [Communications with and Services to the Public] and the Official Languages Regulations.

The review is conducted after every second census.

If the language is not required, the change would occur April 1, 2017.

Currently, High Prairie RCMP has three designated positions for bilingual officers.

But those officers would not be terminated at that date, but would continue until they transfer or retire, Beaudet says.

For anyone requesting French-language services at the High Prairie detachment would still be served with various options.

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