Laws and government services

Federal government

Federal agencies and departments offer services in French at various locations. According to the Public Service Agency, 4.5 percent of the 9,520 federal government positions in Alberta are designated bilingual.

Provincial government

The Languages Act of 1988 reaffirmed unilingualism in the province; there is currently no policy or law on French in Alberta.

However, Alberta recognizes some constitutional obligations, including the right to education and school governance, as well as the right to use the official language of one's choice before provincial courts.

The Alberta government is working with the Franco-Albertan community to develop practical approaches to meet the needs of the province's Francophones.


Beaumont, Legal and Falher are the only bilingual municipalities in Alberta. Some municipalities (Edmonton and Calgary) publish brochures in French. Several others have bilingual signs.

Legal services

  • In criminal matters, the province has put in place a system of French services, in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Code (interpreters, list of bilingual lawyers, etc.) In civil matters, there is no official policy, but the Languages Act of 1988 named four civil courts where it is possible to have a trial in French.
  • On December 9, 2003, Gilles Caron challenges the validity of a traffic ticket, as it was not in both official languages of Canada, and asks for a trial in French. He claims that his constitutional rights have been denied and asks the court to declare Alberta's Languages Act null and void. On July 2, 2008, the Provincial Court of Alberta recognizes that respect of the linguistic rights of Francophones was a condition for entry of the Northwest Territories (which then included Alberta) into Confederation. Mr. Caron is declared not guilty. A month later, the province appealed this decision; the appeal was heard on January 19 and 27, 2009. A decision is pending.