Bill 213 2007
An Act to recognize sign language as an official language in Ontario
Sign language is the language of the deaf community of Ontario. It is the first language of a large number of members of Ontario's deaf community and it is integral to the culture of the deaf community in Ontario and to its linguistic integrity.
It is appropriate for Ontario to recognize the importance of sign language and, therefore, to extend official language status to sign language in the courts, in education and in the Legislative Assembly. The respect that Ontario affords to sign language demonstrates Ontario's commitment to the recognition of the fundamental human rights of the members of Ontario's deaf community and to the recognition of the deaf community as a distinct cultural-linguistic society.
Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. In this Act,
"Commission" means the Sign Language Commission of Ontario established under subsection 5 (1); ("Commission")
"sign language" includes American Sign Language, Langue des Signes Quebecoise and First Nation Sign Language. ("langue des signes")
Use of sign language
2. The Government of Ontario shall ensure that sign language may be used in the courts, in education and in the Legislative Assembly.
Existing practice protected
3. This Act shall not be construed to limit the use of sign language outside of the application of this Act.
Limitation of obligation
4. The obligations of the government, of educational institutions and of the Legislative Assembly under this Act are subject to such limits as circumstances make reasonable and necessary, if all reasonable measures and plans for compliance with this Act have been taken or made.
5. (1) There shall be established a commission known as the Sign Language Commission of Ontario in English and the Commission ontarienne de la langue des signes in French.
(2) The purposes of the Commission are:
1. To advise the Government of Ontario in all matters related to sign language.
2. To support research into sign language.
3. To support the development of sign language.
4. To undertake such other activities as may be assigned to it by the Government of Ontario.
Funding of research
6. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may authorize the funding of research into the use and development of sign language out of funds appropriated for those purposes by the Legislative Assembly.
7. This Act comes into force 180 days after the day it receives Royal Assent.
8. The short title of this Act is the Recognition of Sign Language as an Official Language Act, 2007.
The Bill recognizes sign language as an official language in Ontario in the courts, in education and in the Legislative Assembly.