Lawyer Kelly Burke is appointed Ontario’s French language services commissioner

Burke served as assistant deputy minister in the Ministry of Francophone Affairs from 2014 to 2019

Lawyer Kelly Burke is appointed Ontario’s French language services commissioner

Lawyer Kelly Burke has been named French language services commissioner of Ontario, a position in which she will also act as deputy ombudsman and report to the Office of the Ombudsman of Ontario.

Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney approved of the appointment, stating that “Ms. Burke is a seasoned lawyer and has an in-depth understanding of the rights, obligations and responsibilities regarding the French Language Services Act.”

Mulroney, a lawyer herself, added that Burke’s experience in the Ministry of Francophone Affairs, in which Burke served as assistant deputy minister from 2014 to 2019, has equipped her with knowledge of the “challenges and aspirations of the Franco-Ontarian community.”

“The new commissioner will be truly independent from government and from all stakeholders, and impartial in her work,” said Mulroney’s announcement. “It's a chance to conduct thorough investigations of public complaints regarding French services in Ontario.”

Aside from her work with the Ministry of Francophone Affairs, Burke also previously held the role of assistant deputy minister at the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. All in all, she has served as a career public servant with the Ontario government for around two decades.

According to a news release from the Law Society of Ontario, Burke is “an ardent defender of language rights in Ontario” who is familiar with the country’s official languages in a minority setting.

Burke said that she looked forward to serving in this position due to the “unique opportunity to contribute her knowledge and experience to the promotion of the language rights of Francophones.”

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