Sudbury

Sudbury woman supports petition to add accents to French names on government I.D.

Ontarians with French names that have accents might finally see their names spelled properly on provincial government issued documents and cards.

The petition requests that French names with accents be included on all provincial documents

The petition requests that French accents on names to be included on provincially issued I.D. and other government documents. (CBC)

Ontarians with French names that have accents might finally see their names spelled properly on provincial government issued documents and cards.

A petition was started by Nickel Belt MPP, France Gélinas. It requests "that the French accents be included on all documents and cards issued by the government of Ontario on or before December 31, 2020."

"The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Transportation have confirmed that presently the province of Ontario's computer systems does not allow the recording of accented letters," said the statement from Gélinas.

If approved, it would mean that all health cards and drivers licenses issued by the Ontario government would have the proper spelling of names with accents which are often French names.

"If your parents gave you a name that has an accent somewhere in there, once you take that accent away it's not the same name anymore, so I think for individuals it's a matter of proper identification, a question of respect and we live in a bilingual country," said Joanne Gervais, the executive director of l'Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario du grand Sudbury.

Gervais says the petition is definitely something she supports and her organization will do what they can to support Gélinas with the petition.

"It's about time," she said " we're in 2019 and we're still having this conversation."

Gervais says by removing the accents in someone's name, it's essentially changing their name. She says if the province can offer services in French, they should be able to spell a name correctly.

"Because in the French language those accents mean something, they're not decoration, they change the pronunciation of letters," said Gervais.

"All of a sudden my drivers license, my health card, all of my documentation the spelling is wrong and they're really not addressing themselves to us, they're addressing the people that they've chosen for us to become and that's not okay."

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