Ombudsman appoints Carl Bouchard as French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario

December 4, 2023

4 December 2023

After an extensive nationwide search to fill the position of French Language Services Commissioner on a permanent basis, Ombudsman Paul Dubé today announced that he has appointed Carl Bouchard to the role.

(TORONTO – December 4, 2023) After an extensive nationwide search to fill the position of French Language Services Commissioner on a permanent basis, Ombudsman Paul Dubé today announced that he has appointed Carl Bouchard to the role.

Mr. Bouchard has served as Interim Commissioner since March 3, 2023, and prior to that had led the French Language Services Unit within the Ombudsman’s Office as Director of Operations since February 2020.

“Carl not only has a deep understanding of the French Language Services Act and a strong dedication to the Franco-Ontarian community, he has ably demonstrated how applying the Ombudsman approach to cases can achieve measurable, lasting improvements to French language services,” said Ombudsman Dubé.

“His strong track record as Director of the French Language Services Unit and notable accomplishments as Interim Commissioner uniquely qualify him for this position. I am excited for Ontarians to see his Annual Report this Thursday. It is filled with examples of how the results achieved by Carl and his team – with the support of our entire organization – have improved French language services in Ontario.”

In his nine months as Interim Commissioner, Mr. Bouchard has been highly engaged with the Franco-Ontarian community, meeting with more than 60 Francophone organizations across the province and numerous senior government officials, as well as participating in a wide range of speaking engagements and events.

He also launched an investigation, on his own motion, into the lack of French in the province’s out-of-home advertising, and worked with the French Language Services Unit to ensure previous recommendations were acted upon by the government. He will release his first Annual Report and recommendations – based on cases received by the French Language Services Unit between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023 – on Thursday, December 7 at 9:30 a.m.

“I am thrilled and honoured to be able to continue the important work that the Ombudsman’s Office does to protect and promote the linguistic rights of French-speaking Ontarians and ensure compliance with the French Language Services Act,” said Commissioner Bouchard.

“In recent months, as we increased our outreach efforts across the province and with many diverse aspects of Ontario’s Francophonie, we have seen more and more people turn to us for help in accessing government services in French. Many individuals and groups have thanked us for our help – and many public servants have told us they appreciate how working with us has helped them improve the services they provide.

“I look forward to sharing more details about the progress we’ve made –and my recommendations for future improvements – when I release our 2022-2023 report on Thursday.”

Prior to joining the Ombudsman’s Office, Mr. Bouchard served as Director of Policy for the Ontario Ministry of Francophone Affairs since 2015, where he helped develop legislation and policies across various ministries to improve French language services in Ontario. He has negotiated numerous federal, provincial and territorial funding and collaboration agreements and has contributed to raising the international profile of Ontario's Francophonie.

A graduate in journalism from the University of Ottawa, he has worked with various media organizations, including Groupe Média TFO and CBC/Radio-Canada, where he produced and delivered news content in Ontario and across the country. Commissioner Bouchard is a proud and longtime Franco-Ontarian, with roots in the Saguenay-Lac St-Jean region of Quebec.

About the Office of the Ombudsman: The Ombudsman is an independent and impartial officer of the Ontario Legislature. Under the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman reviews and resolves complaints and inquiries from the public about provincial government organizations, as well as French language services, child protection services, municipalities, universities and school boards. The Ombudsman does not overturn the decisions of elected officials or set public policy, but makes recommendations to ensure administrative fairness, transparency and accountability. The Ombudsman's investigations have benefited millions of Ontarians and prompted widespread reforms, better newborn screening, a more secure lottery system, more tracking of inmates in segregation, and improvements to the Landlord and Tenant Board.

About the Commissioner and French Language Services Unit: The role of the Commissioner is to monitor compliance with the French Language Services Act (FLSA) by government agencies and institutions of the Legislature. As part of the Ombudsman’s Office, the Commissioner is completely independent of government, political parties, individual complainants and interest groups. The Commissioner has the power to investigate on his own initiative and to make recommendations to improve the delivery of French language services. The French Language Services Unit is a team of Early Resolution Officers and Investigators that is supported by the Ombudsman’s Legal Services, Communications, Finance and Information Technology and People and Culture teams.

For more information, please contact:

Emmanuelle Bleytou
Communications Manager, French Language Services and Children & Youth Units

Josée Laperrière
Communications Officer, French Language Services Unit

Note to media: Commissioner Bouchard will hold a press conference in the Queen’s Park Media Studio to release his 2022-2023 Annual Report on Thursday, December 7 at 9:30 a.m., and will be available for media interviews thereafter.