1709298586 Monolingualism a historic number of complaints against Air Canada and

Monolingualism: a historic number of complaints against Air Canada and Michael Rousseau

“My office continues to receive regular complaints against him,” he complained Newspaper The Commissioner of Official Languages ​​has been inundated with a historic 3,371 complaints in five years about Air Canada and its CEO Michael Rousseau.

In November 2021, Le Journal reported that Air Canada's new boss, Michael Rousseau, had decided to give his first major speech in Quebec only in English, even though the company is subject to the Official Languages ​​Act.

Two years later, Prime Minister François Legault received him in his office and subsequently wrote on social networks that he had spoken with him about “economic projects and the importance of protecting the French in Quebec.”


Jean-Pierre Beaudoin, a Quebec businessman, will long remember his last trip to Florida on Air Canada. He can't stand the fact that a service in English was forced on him from Quebec. Photo Diane Tremblay

Mistreated Frenchman

However, last Wednesday we learned in the Canadian airline's newsletter that barely 15% of Air Canada administrators are “fluent in French,” even though the official language of Quebec is French.

“Six of the seven members of our Executive Committee are bilingual, and Mr. Rousseau has continued to respect his personal commitment to learning French,” we read.


Image provided by Air Canada

Can Michael Rousseau give an interview in French? How many hours a week does he devote to learning the official language of Quebec?

Despite several reminders Thursday, Air Canada declined to answer the Journal's questions.

Remember, the salaries, bonuses and benefits of Air Canada's top five bosses were $23.8 million last year, up 7.6% from 2022.

“Exemplary Leadership”

In response to a question from Le Journal, Canada's official languages ​​commissioner, Raymond Théberge, once again rebuked Air Canada for its behavior towards Francophones, particularly that of its number 1.

“The speech by Air Canada CEO Mr. Rousseau sparked several hundred complaints. The issue was raised in two successive annual reports to remind us of the importance of leaders showing exemplary leadership on official language issues,” he recalled.


The Commissioner for Official Languages, Raymond Théberge. Photo Boris Proulx

He believes problems related to Air Canada's compliance with the Official Languages ​​Act have existed for too many years and must be ended immediately.

“By taking concrete actions to promote the use of both official languages, these people are leading by example and are better positioned to promote better representation of the Canadian population,” he concluded.


Image provided by the Commissioner of Official Languages ​​of Canada

–In collaboration with Sylvain Larocque

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