Ombudsman Welcomes Apparent Progress at CFB Borden

April 16, 2007

General R.J. Hillier, C.M.M., M.S.C., C.D
Chief of the Defence Staff
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0K2

Dear General Hillier:

I would like to acknowledge and thank you for your letter of April 5, 2007 responding to serious concerns that I had raised with you in my January 8, 2007 letter regarding language challenges faced by francophone recruits currently training at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden.

I appreciate that you are committed to resolving the language issues that exist throughout the Canadian Forces over the media and longer term. I also appreciate that you understand the unique and very serious issues affecting francophone recruits at CFB Borden, as well as the fundamental need to address these issues in the near term. In this regard, I note that the CFB Borden Official Strategic Plan, once finalized and implemented, is intended to have an immediate and positive impact on some of the most pressing problems. I also not that an Official Languages Policy Statement from the Base Commander at CFB Borden will be directed at staff to ensure the protection of language rights of Canadian Forces personnel and their families. Finally, I note that a request has been made for extra funding to cover the costs of additional bilingual personnel at CFB Borden.

I believe that these initiatives are a positive step forward, and will go a long way to addressing the significant problems that were brought to my attention by Canadian Forces members when I traveled to CFB Borden late last year.

That being said, I would like the opportunity to review the CFB Borden Official Strategic Plan and the Official Languages Policy Statement from the Base Commander as soon as they are finalized and approved in order to assure myself that these initiatives, and the initiatives mentioned therein, fully address my concerns and are implemented and monitored over time to ensure their effectiveness.

I appreciate your personal involvement in this matter and the steps that you and your staff have taken to date to address my concerns.

Yours truly,

Yves Côté, Q.C.

cc :

Minister of National Defence
Deputy Minister of National Defence

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