I call this meeting to order, so I ask for some calmness and discipline.
Welcome to meeting number 55 of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages.
I would like to inform the committee that, before the meeting, all the members completed the required connection and sound tests.
Pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, May 30, 2022, the committee is resuming consideration of Bill C‑13, An Act to amend the Official Languages Act, to enact the Use of French in Federally Regulated Private Businesses Act and to make related amendments to other Acts.
Our committee will hold two meetings today: one this morning, from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m., and another one this afternoon, from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Both meetings will fulfill the terms of the motion passed on March 10 to add a total of six and a half hours of floor time to debate clauses of Bill C‑13 and proposed amendments.
At the next meeting, to be held on Tuesday, April 18, pursuant to the motion adopted on December 1, all remaining amendments shall be deemed to be proposed, and I shall put forthwith and successively, without further debate, all remaining amendments before the committee, all remaining clauses of the bill, and each question necessary to dispose of the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill and report the bill to the House.
I now welcome the officials who are here to support our committee and answer technical questions. Some of them have been supporting us in our work for quite some time now. We have with us once again Ms. Boyer, Mr. Fallu and Ms. Terrien from the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as Mr. Newman from the Department of Justice. We also welcome Karim Adam and Daniel Cadieux from the Treasury Board Secretariat.
Did I forget to mention anyone? I don't think so. I felt like someone was missing, as we were used to seeing Mr. Quell at the table, but he is not here today. He's allowed to take a vacation.
I would ask for the attention of the committee members before we get to the heart of the matter.
At my request, the clerk has sent to you a message from Statistics Canada. You will recall that, as a result of an amendment proposed by Ms. Kayabaga, there was an error in the percentage of immigration. It said 6.6% instead of 6.1%. You received the same letter I did. I will explain what is going on with that.
Statistics Canada contacted the committee regarding Ms. Ashton's subamendment to amend LIB‑8, which was subsequently adopted, on February 7. The amended version of the amendment that currently appears in the report is:
That Bill C‑13, in Clause 6, be amended by adding after line 8 on page 5 the following: “restoration means, in respect of the demographic weight of French linguistic minority communities, the return of the demographic weight of all those communities whose first official language spoken is French to its level at the time of the census of population of Canada taken by Statistics Canada in 1971, namely, 6.6% of the population outside Quebec. (rétablissement)”
Statistics Canada has contacted us with the following clarification:
[Translation] According to the 1971 census, the demographic weight of the population with French as their first official language spoken was 6.1%, not 6.6%. This proportion of 6.1% is obtained after distribution of multiple languages, and thus includes two components: 1) the population with only French as their first official language spoken and 2) half of the population with both French and English as their first official language spoken.
As a result, the amended amendment we passed on February 7 should read 6.1%, instead of 6.6%.
A request for verification was made to ensure that we had the correct numbers.
I seek the committee's unanimous consent to make the change suggested by Statistics Canada. Therefore, the number that would appear in LIB‑8 as amended by Ms. Ashton's subamendment would be 6.1%.
Mr. Godin, do you have a question?