Court Decisions – New Brunswick

This section contains some decisions that have had an impact on the interpretation of language rights in New Brunswick.


Charlebois v. Mowat, 2001 NBCA 117 (CanLII)

(click here to read the full decision)

In the end, I find, for the reasons set out above, that by failing to enact, print and publish its by-laws, including by-law Z-4, in the two official languages of New Brunswick, the City of Moncton, a municipality which includes a sizeable Francophone minority, has failed to comply with the constitutional obligation provided for by subsection 18(2) of the Charter. I also find that the City of Moncton’s failure is an infringement of subsection 18(2) of the Charter. In such a case, the failure results in the invalidity of all the unilingual by-laws of the City of Moncton. I think that a just and appropriate subsection 52(1) remedy is a declaration of invalidity of the by-laws. The effect of the declaration of invalidity should however be suspended for a period of one year as from the date of this judgment to enable the City of Moncton and the government of New Brunswick to comply with the constitutional obligations set out in these reasons.


R. v. Losier, 2011 NBCA 102 (CanLII)

(click here to read the full decision)

In a remarkably detailed decision, the Court of Queen’s Bench judge, sitting on appeal under Part XXVII of the Criminal Code, dismissed the Attorney General’s appeal after ruling: (1) the trial judge had jurisdiction to decide the issue of whether the respondent’s language rights had been violated after he was stopped; (2) the police officer’s duty to inform the respondent of his right to be served in the official language of his choice arises not only from s. 31(1) of the Official Languages Act, but also from s. 20(2) of the Charter; and (3) the trial judge correctly concluded the rights conferred upon the respondent by these provisions had been violated and properly excluded the qualified technician’s certificate pursuant to s. 24(2) of the Charter.


R. v. McGraw, 2007 NBCA 11 (CanLII)

(click on the title to read the full decision)

I would wrap up the proceedings by echoing the summary conviction appeal judge’s emphasis on the importance of linguistic rights in New Brunswick, the only Province with two official languages. Language rights, whether sourced in the Charter, the Official Languages Act or POPA, set us apart in the Canadian federation; as time goes by, more and more of our citizens proudly view those rights as what defines them as New Brunswickers. Hopefully, the outcome of these proceedings will bring home to peace officers engaged in the enforcement of provincial legislation that language rights are infrangible.