“Whether we personally agree or not with Bill 101”, stated Mayor Robert Grimaudo, “members of Council are government representatives, and they must respect the Law. Changes must be made to the way we have systematically supplied bilingual information to all our citizens in the past, but rest assured we will continue to inform everyone while respecting our provincial laws. As a municipal government, we cannot ignore a provincial law, and we must obey by the Charter of the French language”.
Over the years, l’OQLF has asked the Town to comply with the Charter in several respects, including the Town’s welcome signs at the city’s entrances, the way the Town uses its official French name and official department names, its website welcome page and more recently, its written publications. ”This does not mean that we will no longer provide services in English” explained the Mayor, “in fact, the Town will continue to supply every document it previously did in English, just in a separate and distinctive format, as prescribed by the Charter.”
“Of course, before proceeding”, added the Mayor, “Council waited for the 2011 Census results issued by Statistics Canada on October 24, 2012, to review the possibility of requesting a bilingual status. The City did not reach the required percentage; we must therefore proceed to the corrective measures.”
According to the most recent 2011 Census data, Ville de Saint-Lazare did not reach the magic 50% for residents with an English mother tongue. Indeed, only 36.5% declared English has their mother tongue, while 53.3% of our residents declared French has their mother tongue. The 7.3% allophones cannot be compiled with the English percentage.
What does this mean on a daily basis? “Our residents must expect all-French publications, press releases, newsletters, administrative forms and documents, including their tax bills as well as any other official Town correspondence. A distinct separate English version will be made available online for documents 8 pages or less, and in a printed format for documents more than 8 pages, or of high interest, such as the Liaisons, the resident guide, the day camp brochure and the garbage calendar for example. These paper copies will be made available for pick-up at one of 3 locations including the Town hall, the Community centre and the Complexe professionnel.
Changes will start December 10, 2012. Residents can expect to see their last bilingual Liaisons, Resident Guide and general tax account mid-February or March 2013.