Canadian airports need to be more bilingual: Languages commissioner



Jessica Hume, QMI Agency Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 6:43 PM ET

OTTAWA — The official languages czar is launching a crusade for bilingual services at Canada’s major airports, but an airport industry group says it won’t do anything but confuse travellers.

A 12-week information campaign on travel websites, Facebook and Google will let French-speaking Canadians know they have the right to order a burger or reserve a car at an airport en Francais.

“People are uncertain about what bilingual services they can expect,” Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser said.

Daniel-Robert Gooch, president of the Canadian Airports Council, doesn’t support the campaign.

“We believe the proposed campaign would create confusion and lead some travellers to have an unrealistic expectation of being able to have a full travel experience in either official language,” he said. “To proceed with such a campaign, we contend, would only serve to needlessly frustrate travellers.

"Canada’s airports are places at which people who speak many different languages converge, and take seriously the needs of all travellers, including needs related to one of Canada’s official languages.”

Less than a quarter of Canadians identify as francophone. Among them, 60% are unilingual, Fraser told QMI Agency.