According to the Senior Associate Deputy Minister of the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development, Service Canada, “the administrative region of the Atlantic extends to Newfoundland and all of the Maritime Provinces and is designated unilingual”. The Minister responsible claims instead that “the Service Canada Atlantic Region has not been designated unilingual. There has been absolutely no change in bilingual services in the region”.
However, according to the Canada Employment and Immigration Union which represents more than nineteen thousand federal public service workers, including many Service Canada employees, the designation of the Atlantic Region as unilingual was “a sad but all-too-predictable result of Service Canada’s recent decision to amalgamate the region’s four provincially-based administrative units into one entity”. The union also confirmed that the headquarters of the new Atlantic Region will be located in Nova Scotia. Will these federal employees be granted the right to work in French?
The uneasiness felt by many Acadians and Francophones in Atlantic Canada has quickly spread westward. Francophones and Acadians across Canada are now standing in solidarity with their eastern cousins. In only a few short days, close to six thousand individuals have signed a petition sharply criticizing Service Canada’s decision to designate Atlantic Canada as a unilingual English administrative region.
Trying to make sense of all this contradictory information and is still searching for answers.