Kelly Burke appointed French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario
The Franco-Ontarian community can celebrate in the appointment of Ontario’s new French Language Services Commissioner, Kelly Burke. Ms. Burke is a lawyer and has been a career public servant with the Ontario government for some 20 years. She was Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Francophone Affairs from 2014 to 2019 and most recently Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Her new position reports to the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario where she will act as Deputy Ombudsman.
In April 2019, the duties of the French Language Services Commissioner were transferred to the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent body within which the new Commissioner will have expanded powers to make recommendations.
Ms. Burke, a native of Cornwall, has always been an ardent defender of language rights in Ontario. She has an excellent knowledge of French Ontario, of Canada’s official languages in a minority setting, and is, of course, familiar with the French Language Services Act. She stated that she sought this role because it provided her a unique opportunity to contribute her knowledge and experience to the promotion of the language rights of Francophones.
In 2014, the Law Society of Ontario signed a protocol with the Office of the Commissioner to engage in a constructive dialogue on the delivery of French-language services within the Law Society. The Law Society will continue to respect the protocol and provide services in French.