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Our Language Rights: Canadian Language Access and Language Rights News (Nov. 23/2020)

Interpreting a pandemic: How Ooleepika Ikkidluak’s Inuktitut innovations keep Nunavummiut informed - Ikkidluak has been an Inuktitut interpreter for 30 years. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Canada in March, the government of Nunavut began doing briefings for reporters a few times a week, which are carried throughout the territory on the legislative assembly television channel. 76% of Nunavummiut can carry on a conversation in Inuktitut. For many of them, it is their first language. For some, it is their only language. When you’re trying to get out information in a pandemic, being understood is vital.

Cultural genocide': Nunavut passes changes to education, language protection acts - A bill passed in the Nunavut legislature that will shape how Inuit languages are taught in school for years to come is being called a form of cultural genocide. The territory's original Education Act guaranteed bilingual education in Inuktut and English at all grade levels by the 2019-2020 school year, but amendments that passed third reading last week change that.

Proposed changes to Broadcasting Act have Indigenous producers cautiously optimistic - One key change in the bill is in the Broadcasting Policy for Canada. The current act mentioned the inclusion of Indigenous programming, but Guilbeault said the way it was worded said broadcasters would fund Indigenous productions if there was money available.

Now broadcasters will have spending obligations to invest in Indigenous productions.

Mi'kmaw writer says it's about time Halifax get rid of 'Micmac' on street signs - "You see a lot of Indigenous words in names that get taken and called places. Like, when you say "Toronto, Ontario, Canada," you are speaking various Indigenous languages. Ottawa is a nation. We've named cars Pontiac and Winnebago. We take nations' names and we slap them on things. And then we forget the nation. And we forget the people that were killed or removed or displaced or colonized."

A step forward and a long road ahead: promoting Indigenous languages in Montreal - a few weeks ago, the city of Montreal announced its new initiative to promote and assist Indigenous communities in and around the urban conglomeration. One of the objectives listed in the plan was to support cultural development and languages in the urban space, but that is a statement that does not do justice to the magnitude of the task.


Newcomer families at F.W. Begley school seeking help understanding COVID outbreak details. Many of the new Canadian families that attend F.W Begley Public School are turning to local immigration support agencies to help them understand the school outbreak protocols and plans for online learning. The shutdown has left many families concerned about possible exposure to the virus, and parents are still waiting to hear how learning will resume virtually after an outbreak of COVID-19 dismissed the entire school earlier this week.

Black people, minorities, low-income earners at higher risk for COVID-19 infection - New local data suggests the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting Black people, visible minorities, lower income earners and people whose first language is not English or French. Region of Waterloo Public Health collected data on socio-demographic indicators from more than 680 COVID-19 positive cases between July and October.


Bloc to promote bill on French-language proficiency for new citizens - Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet says that familiarity with the official language of Quebec is essential amid what he calls an ongoing threat to the mother tongue of most Quebecers.

Will fines speed modernization of Official Languages Act? - The Official Languages Act is due to be updated and conversation about language rights is ongoing in Canada. Language Commissioner Raymond Theberge has said that the Act must be modernized so it can continue to protect Canada’s linguistic duality — the equal status of both official languages that is entrenched in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


Work permits and language proficiency - Under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, Canadian immigration law facilitates the hiring of foreign nationals who possess knowledge, talent and skills that are not available in Canada. This program requires an employer to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Employment and Skills Development Canada. One of the hurdles in obtaining a work permit is demonstrating language proficiency in either of the two official languages, English or French.

Survey on the Experiences of People with Hearing Loss - The Hearing Health Alliance of Canada (HHAC), of which SAC is a part, is conducting a survey of people in Canada who experience hearing loss. The purpose of this research is to gain insights about the experiences of people with hearing difficulties. Individuals can reply for themselves or on behalf of children or those dependents who are not able to respond.


New AI Predicts Movie Ratings Before Filming - The present work, to the best of our knowledge, is the first to model the co-occurrence of risk behaviors from linguistic cues found in movie scripts,” reported the researchers. “Our proposed model is a multi-task approach that predicts a movie script’s violent, sexual, and substance-abusive content from vectorial representations of the character’s utterances.



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