Timmins is perhaps best known as one of the world’s richest goldfields. Situated in northeastern Ontario, the city has always been linguistically diverse, as more than half the population is bilingual in English and French. The Timmins Police Service has long had multilingual officers who could communicate with the public in English, French, or Cree.

But the community has seen cultural diversity expand in unpredictable ways, and police found themselves in need of interpretation in numerous other languages. Police Chief John Gauthier said the community has seen a rapid rise in residents who speak neither English nor French.

“Those (people) are from various ethnic backgrounds and often their first language is not English,” Gauthier said. “With this in mind, it’s important that the Timmins Police Service continues to serve our citizens and affords them every opportunity to express themselves in the language of their choice.”

Interpretation Available 24 Hours a Day

Timmins has partnered with LanguageLine to provide on-demand interpretation in more than 240 languages. Professional interpretation is available to police via phone or video 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Officers have also put the LanguageLine app on their mobile devices. This gives them one-touch access to the professional interpreters in both audio or video formats.

Gauthier said that a key appeal of adding a remote interpreting provider was the around-the-clock availability.

“So, if we have an incident in the early morning hours, somewhere around midnight or the middle of the night, it provides us with very, very quick access to interpreters,” he said.

Gauthier explained how the service works.

“If it was a witness we wanted to interview, we ask them to come here (to police headquarters). Then we could set up the 1-800 number and open the phone lines,” he said. “It provides an opportunity for the investigator to ask questions…which then could be related in the language of the witness. So, it just offers an extra level of comfort for people who are dealing with the police.”

“Whether it’s a witness, victim of crime, or an accused person…interpreters ensure that people get the information they need to understand their rights within different institutional settings and make informed legal decisions.”

LanguageLine Can Help

Throughout Canada, LanguageLine is trusted to enable communication with the limited English proficient, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing communities. 

Let’s talk solutions. Please contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our language experts. We would enjoy learning more about your community, and also explain how eliminating language barriers can be a key factor in increasing public safety. 

We invite you to learn more about all of the services we provide to public service agencies. 

READ: Understanding Language and Cultural Barriers on 911 Calls