DEI Alternative Facts: #10: Official Languages





It is well-intentioned to honour Canada’s past…to want to ensure we recognize Canada’s official languages. We cannot honour & recognize Canada’s past without recognizing *all* of its past—Its colonial past, which did not have an end date.


Whether you speak FR & consider yourself a linguistic minority or if you speak EN, both are colonial languages. The fact that these are our “official languages” needs a critical look. Let’s consider at whose expense EN/FR have thrived. How many Indigenous languages were forcibly extinguished?


Now let’s consider a modern-day form of colonialism: Imperative bilingualism for jobs.


Starting June 2020, orgs publicly made Anti-Black racism statements & committed to diversity. It is now March 2021, what substantive changes were made? Have orgs removed the bilingual imperative based on the official languages? Official language bilingualism & bilingualism are not the same thing. Many of us are bilingual, just not in EN&FR. We cannot reflect Canada’s diversity in our workforce if we continue to use the same exclusionary tools.


Imperative bilingualism based on the ‘official languages’ is a modern-day machination of colonialism & is a form of institutionalized racism.