chapter  11
French-Language Services in Ontario: A Policy of "Overly Prudent Gradualism"?
Pages 28

In the late 1960s, the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (RCBB, commonly known as the B. and B. Commission) recommended that French and English receive official status for all the functions of the Parliament and Government of Canada and in the operation of all federal institutions. Similar official-languages status was recommended for the provinces of New Brunswick and Ontario. This policy was founded on the concept of institutional bilingualism whereby services are made available through government agencies according to the linguistic request of the recipient. It was not the intention of the Commission that official-languages status would be interpreted as a move to enforce individual bilingualism. To clarify this it was stated in the general introduction to the Report, "A bilingual country ... is a country where the principal public and private institutions must provide services in two languages to citizens, the vast majority of whom may very well be unilingual" (Canada, RCBB, 1967, p. xxvii). The members of the B. and B. Commission also based their guidance for French-language services throughout the country on the principle of personality, whereby services are available to individuals according to their choice, because they believed that the francophone

populations beyond Quebec were an important linkage between French and English Canada, a symbolic force for political integration.