Ombudsman Updates Minister of National Defence on Official Languages Issue

January 9, 2009

The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major General George R. Pearkes Building
13th Floor, North Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K2
 

Re: Official Languages: Training and services at CFB Borden, CFB Gagetown and St-Jean Garrison

Dear Minister MacKay:

As you are aware, the former Ombudsman had asked that the Canadian Forces take immediate action to address a number of serious concerns that had been brought to his attention by Francophone students at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden during an outreach visit in November 2006. The Canadian Forces subsequently advised the Ombudsman’s Office of the steps it had taken to deal with the concerns.

In November 2007, the former Ombudsman posted the correspondence between this Office and the Canadian Forces to the Office’s website. As a result, Canadian Forces personnel from CFB Gagetown and St-Jean Garrison contacted the Ombudsman’s Office with similar concerns about the lack of services in both official languages. As a result, the Office of the Ombudsman conducted an assessment of at CFB Gagetown and St-Jean Garrison. A follow-up review of CFB Borden was also undertaken in 2008 by the Ombudsman’s Office.

Given the importance of this issue, and the fact that we have received numerous public inquiries concerning this matter, we have come to the conclusion that it would be in the public interest to have our observations, as well as the responses, made public by posting on our website.

Therefore, please be advised that pursuant to paragraph 38(2)(b) of the Ministerial Directives, we intend to make public the attached letters and their responses on the expiration of 28 days from this date. As in the past, we will advise your Office of the exact date we intend to post the letters on the website.

I thank you for your continued support of this office.

Yours truly,
 

Mary McFadyen,
Interim Ombudsman

c.c.:

Mr. Robert Fonberg, Deputy Minister
General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff

Enclosures: (7)

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