As employees of the world’s largest English-French bilingual university, you’ve probably experienced first-hand the difficulties in maintaining a bilingual environment. Keeping the University of Ottawa fully bilingual is hard work, but it shapes us as a University community, challenging us to strive for excellence every day.

Bilingualism at the University of Ottawa is a direct reflection of bilingualism in Canada as a whole. Historically, Canada has always been committed to the diversity and complexity of multiple cultures. French and English have always existed side-by-side. By offering programs and services in both languages, the University encourages students and staff to embrace the linguistic and cultural diversity of our country.

There are a number of different ways you can ensure that the University upholds our bilingual mandate:

  • Always respond to people in the language in which they initiate conversation.
  • If you initiate conversation, be sure to speak in both languages. For example, greet people with “Bonjour. How may I help you?”
  • If you must speak to a colleague about a person’s request and the person is within hearing distance, use the official language he or she has chosen. This also applies to correspondence that the person may have access to. For example, if you’re emailing a colleague and know that the email will be forwarded to the person, use the official language chosen by the individual.

Above all, ensure that the quality of service and the attitude with which you perform your job doesn’t change no matter which language the individual chooses. Always strive to provide the best possible service in both official languages.

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