Created in 2007, the Canadian Centre for Studies and Research on Bilingualism and Language Planning (CCERBAL), “the Centre,” has empowered the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) and the University of Ottawa to become catalysts in the development of bilingualism in Canada. The Centre endeavours to be a national and international hub for the study and design of public policy on bilingualism.
CCERBAL connects internationally recognized high-calibre researchers who work in OLBI’s areas of specialization, namely second language teaching and learning, the evaluation of language proficiency, and language planning. These researchers focus more specifically on the following issues: bilingualism and society, immersion at the postsecondary level, new technologies in language teaching and learning, language skills assessment, and language policies. Some of their research projects are funded by organizations such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canadian Heritage, the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and the Ontario Ministry of Education.
The Centre has many research chairs, including the University Chair in New Technologies and Computer Assisted Language Learning. It also has four research groups: the Post Secondary Immersion Research Group (PSIRG), the Language Assessment Research Group (LARG), the Interdisciplinary Research Group in Languages and Technologies (IRGILT), and the Language Management Interdisciplinary Research Group (LMIRG).
CCERBAL has a privileged relationship with centres, organizations and associations with objectives similar to its own, such as the European Centre for Modern Languages (CELV) and the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT).
Every year, the Centre organizes activities and special events in research fields it wishes to promote, through national and international conferences and symposiums, forums and round tables, retreats, and research training. These activities and events generate meetings of researchers, the sharing of ideas, networking, and professional development. The most significant CCERBAL research results are reported on the Centre’s website and published in its scholarly journal, the OLBI Working Papers. OLBI’s annual report also provides an overview of the research activities conducted by CCERBAL members, including their scientific publications and research grants.
In addition, CCERBAL aspires to the advisory centre par excellence on language planning and social cohesion issues Its services are available to the Canadian and international university community, to the various levels of government, and to public and semi-public organizations that have official languages and bilingualism responsibilities. It also maintains a relationship with the Language Rights Support Program (LRSP) and hosts the Site for Language Management in Canada (SLMC), the database for language policy researchers.
By attracting the best Canadian and foreign researchers and acquiring an advanced research infrastructure, CCERBAL promotes interdisciplinarity and international exchanges. It also welcomes researchers in residence who contribute to the Centre’s vitality.
All these initiatives have established CCERBAL and the OLBI as an essential reference in bilingualism and language planning.