Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, and thank you for the invitation to appear before you today.
We are pleased to be here to present the findings of our report entitled “Cost Estimate for Bill C-13: An Act for the Substantive Equality of Canada's Official Languages”, which we were honoured to prepare at the request of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages.
With me today is one of our lead analysts on the report, Katarina Michalyshyn.
Of the many provisions set out in BillC‑13, financial implications arise mainly from the proposed extensions of French language rights to federally regulated private businesses. We expect private compliance costs to implement these rights to be $240 million in one-time costs plus $20 million each year in ongoing costs. These costs arise primarily from language training and bilingualism wage premiums for managers in designated bilingual regions outside Quebec.
The 2021‑22 Fall Economic Statement allocated $16 million in 2022‑23 for initial implementation costs for federal departments and agencies. The $16 million does not cover ongoing administrative costs and was not intended to cover those costs. However, it will allow additional initial implementation activities to be undertaken. We requested details regarding how the money is currently being spent.
Despite a lack of cooperation from the responsible departments, we estimate federal administration costs to implement these rights to rise by at least $2.9 million per year. However, the amount of funding provided is fundamentally discretionary since the activities that can be undertaken in support of the implementation of Bill C‑13 will be limited by the funding available.
Ms. Michalyshyn and I will be pleased to respond to any questions you may have regarding this report or other PBO work.