April 8, 2022 By The Canadian Press
GATINEAU, Que. — The Commissioner of Official Languages says a preliminary report into whether a speech by the chief executive of Air Canada in November met the airline’s obligations under the Official Languages Act has established that the complaints are founded.
However, Raymond Theberge notes that the conclusions are not final and that the parties involved will have the chance to provide comment before the final report.
Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau sparked an outcry last year when, following a speech almost entirely in English, he told reporters he did not need to learn French to get by in Montreal.
He later apologized and has since started taking French lessons.
The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages received 2,680 complaints as of Feb. 28 about the speech to make it the most complaints ever received for a single case.
Theberge said in his statement that bilingualism is a crucial skill for leaders, especially those in institutions subject to the Official Languages Act.