Bilingualism: CBA National Language Policy

CBA will encourage its branches to implement this policy.

1. The Principles

The Canadian Bar Association’s goals for linguistic equality are based on these principles.

Commitment to linguistic equality
1.1 The Canadian Bar Association is committed to the principles of linguistic equality set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Official Languages Act.

English and French are the official languages
1.2 English and French are the official languages of the Canadian Bar Association.

Right to service in language of choice
1.3 Members of the Canadian Bar Association and the public may communicate with the CBA in either English or French and have the right to be served in the official language of their choice.

Use of English and French to be encouraged at all levels
1.4 The Canadian Bar Association is committed to creating an environment, at all levels of the national organization, in which people feel free to use the official language of their choice.

Branches encouraged to offer bilingual services
1.5 The Canadian Bar Association encourages its Branches to offer services in both official languages so that members may address the Branch in the official language of their choice.

2. National Meetings

Goal - A speaker at national meetings should expect to be understood when speaking in either official language.

Bilingual services at Council meetings
2.1 Council meetings must be bilingual and simultaneous interpretation services must be provided unless all members present decide otherwise

Bilingual services at Annual and Mid-Winter meetings
2.2 The Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Plenary Sessions at the Annual and Mid-Winter meetings must be bilingual. Simultaneous interpretation services must be provided unless all members present decide otherwise

Bilingual staff at Annual and Mid-Winter meetings
2.3 Bilingual personnel must be among the staff assigned to Annual and Mid-Winter meetings.

3. Committee Meetings

Goal - Committees should be able to work in both official languages.

Definition of “committee”
3.1 In this Part, the word “committee” includes the Executive Committee, the Finance and Planning Directorate, all standing, special, and ad hoc committees, all Forum and Sections, all task forces, and the boards of directors and committees of all companies reporting to the Canadian Bar Association.

Bilingual members
3.2 All committees should include, to the extent practicable, some members with an excellent command of both English and French.

Members choose language of discussion
3.3 Committees may operate in the official language(s) chosen by their members, bearing in mind the Canadian Bar Association’s commitment to linguistic equality.

4. Documents

Goal - Bilingual versions of all important Canadian Bar Association documents should be released simultaneously.

Council resolutions and by-laws
4.1 All resolutions of Council and all by-laws must be adopted and available in both official languages. The English and French versions are equally authoritative and in the case of any ambiguity, are to be interpreted in the same way that the courts would interpret bilingual statutes in Canada.

Word-for-word record of Council meetings
4.2 A word-for-word record of a Council meeting must reflect the official language used by each speaker.

Minutes - Council meetings
4.3 If prepared, minutes of Council meetings must be available in both English and French.

Notices and registration packages - Council members
4.4 All notices of Council meetings, all formal notices addressed to Council members and registration brochures for members of Council must be issued simultaneously in English and French

Notices and program and registration packages - general membership
4.5 All notices and program and registration brochures for general membership meetings must be issuedsimultaneously in English and French.

Documents - Annual and Mid-Winter meeting
4.6 All draft resolutions and major documents prepared for consideration at the Annual and Mid-Winter meetings must, to the extent possible, be simultaneously released in English and French.

Task Force and Committee reports
4.7 All major Task Force and Committee Reports must bepublicly released simultaneously in English and French.

Branch constitution and by-laws
4.8 The Canadian Bar Association Branches are encouraged to have English and French versions of their constitution and by-laws available.

5. Communication with Members of the Public

Goal - All members of the Canadian Bar Association and the public should be able to receive service in the official language of their choice.

Correspondence
5.1 All correspondence addressed to the National Office in one of the official languages must be answered in that language.

Third party services
5.2 The Canadian Bar Association shall ensure that third parties offering services to its members on its behalf respect the principles of linguistic equality in this policy.

Publications
5.3 All national CBA magazines, newspapers, bulletins, newsletters, reports, directories and other written communications with the public or members generally, must be bilingual or intersperse English and French in a proportion that reflects their use in Canada.

News releases
5.4 All national news releases must be issued simultaneously in English and French.

Speeches by the President
5.5 The President should give attention to the desirability of including English and French in his/her speeches.

Awards
5.6. When the Canadian Bar Association chooses recipients for awards or recognizes achievements in other ways, it must respect the proportionate presence of each language group when making its selection. The award or recognition of achievement should be presented in the official language of the recipient.

6. Internal Administration

Goal - Canadian Bar Association employees should be able to serve members and the public in both official languages.

Inquiries for services
6.1. All Canadian Bar Association services shall be available in both official languages. Staff who are likely to be the first point of contact with CBA members and the public should be able to answer calls in both official languages. They should refer calls to knowledgeable staff who can answer the inquiry in the official language used by the caller.

Senior personnel
6.2 Directors, senior directors and executive directors at the national Canadian Bar Association office should be able to communicate with members in both official languages. Among this group, there must be some employees with an excellent command of English and some with an excellent command of French.

Protected employees
6.3 Employees working at the Canadian Bar Association when this policy is adopted cannot lose their position because of an inability to meet the policy’s language requirements.

Hiring and promotion
6.4 A person’s ability to communicate in both official languages is one of the abilities that must be considered when hiring a new employee or considering an employee for promotion.