How it works

You can get services in French from all ministries of the provincial government. It’s your right under the French Language Services Act.

This includes things like getting a driver’s licence or birth certificate. If you need information about a government program, you can get that in French too.

To get these services and information in French, you’ll go to a government office in – or near – an area where Francophones make up at least 10% of the population. A city must have at least 5,000 Francophones. These are called designated areas.

Find a designated area

There are 26 designated areas in Ontario, as shown on this map. They are also listed below:

  1. City of Toronto – all
  2. City of Hamilton – as boundaries existed on Dec. 31, 2000
  3. Cities of Port Colborne and Welland in Regional Municipality of Niagara
  4. City of Ottawa – all
  5. Cities of Mississauga and Brampton – Regional Municipality of Peel
  6. Sudbury – city and greater Sudbury area
  7. Township of Winchester – Dundas County
  8. Essex County:
    • City of Windsor
    • Towns of Belle River and Tecumseh
    • Townships of Anderdon, Colchester North, Maidstone, Sandwich South, Sandwich West, Tilbury North, Tilbury West and Rochester
  9. Glengarry County – all
  10. Kent County:
    • Town of Tilbury
    • Townships of Dover and Tilbury East
  11. Prescott County – all
  12. Renfrew County:
    • City of Pembroke
    • Townships of Stafford and Westmeath
  13. Russell County – all
  14. Simcoe County
    • Town of Penetanguishene
    • Townships of Tiny and Essa
  15. Stormont County – all
  16. District of Algoma – all
  17. District of Cochrane – all
  18. Township of Ignace in District of Kenora
  19. District of Nipissing – all
  20. District of Sudbury – all
  21. District of Thunder Bay
    • Towns of Geraldton, Longlac and Marathon
    • Townships of Manitouwadge, Beardmore, Nakina and Terrace Bay
  22. District of Timiskaming – all
  23. City of London
  24. Municipality of Callander in District of Parry Sound
  25. City of Kingston
  26. City of Markham in Regional Municipality of York

Roughly 80% of Ontario’s Francophone population live in the designated areas. There are more than 622,000 Francophones living in Ontario.

If you need to go to a municipal office, keep in mind the law does not require them to provide services or information in French.

Some municipalities may help deliver provincial services. Don’t hesitate to inquire if they offer services in French.

Designated agencies

Government agencies also do work on behalf of the ministries. You can get services in French from many of these agencies too. They are called designated agencies.

Some agencies (e.g. hospitals, children’s aid societies, seniors’ residences) do not have to provide services in French – by law. But many of these agencies decide to get the designation anyway.

You can get services in French from more than 250 designated agencies. See the list of designated agencies.

When you go to a designated agency

When you go to any one of these agencies you will receive a high level of service in French.

That’s because a designated agency must:

  • offer French-language services on a permanent basis by employing people with requisite level of French -language skills
    • an agency decides the level of skills required
  • guarantee French-language services can be provided for all or some services and during business hours
  • ensure Francophones sit on boards of directors and committees in proportion to Francophone population in the community
    • must be included in administrative bylaws
  • have Francophones in senior management in proportion to the local Franco-Ontarian population
  • make directors and senior managers accountable for the quality of French-language services

Every three years, designated agencies must show how they have maintained this level of service. The board of each agency must submit a report detailing how this was done to the ministry they are working for.

If you work for an agency

If you work for an agency and want to request a French-language designation, use this form and guide.

Filing a complaint

If you feel an Ontario government ministry or agency has not given you adequate French-language service, you can file a complaint with the Ontario Ombudsman’s office

You can contact the Ombudsman’s French Language Services Unit at or by calling 416-847-1515.

Remember: it’s your right to receive services from the provincial government in French. You also have the right to let us know when improvement is needed.

Investigating complaints

The Commissioner of French Language Services is under the authority of the Ontario Ombudsman’s office. The Commissioner’s mandate is to investigate complaints relating to the French Language Services Act, conduct investigations to ensure compliance with the Act and report the findings in an annual report tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

Updated: August 03, 2021
Published: May 19, 2016