Fredericton, NB – Michel Carrier, the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, has launched an investigation into the province's electoral process.

"My office has received a number of complaints from New Brunswickers who were unable to receive service in the language of their choice from election officers during last month's provincial campaign and on election day," said Mr. Carrier.

"Because of the number of complaints we have received, and the letters to the editor and other media reports we have read, we have decided to launch an investigation into whether New Brunswick's electoral process is meeting its language obligations as set out in the Official Languages Act and, if not, what can be done to improve the situation," said the Commissioner, adding that he has received the full cooperation of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer.

The Commissioner has decided to wrap all the elections-related complaints received by his office into one self-initiated investigation examining the entire electoral process for any system-wide problem regarding the delivery of services in both official languages.

The Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick is an officer of the legislature. He investigates complaints and makes recommendations with respect to compliance with the Official Languages Act. The Commissioner shall communicate the results of the investigation and any recommendations, including any opinion and the reasons for the recommendations, to the Premier, the deputy head or other administrative head of the institution concerned and the complainant. The Commissioner can investigate pursuant to a complaint he receives or on his own initiative.

The Commissioner is mandated to receive and investigate complaints regarding government institutions.

Examples of government institutions:

  • departments of the government of New Brunswick
  • Crown corporations
  • any board, commission or council, or other body or office, established to perform a governmental function or pursuant to an Act of the Legislature or under the authority of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council
  • third parties offering services on behalf of the Province of New Brunswick
  • the province's courts, policing services
  • all cities as well as those municipalities whose official language minority population represents at least 20% of its total population
  • regional health authorities
  • planning commissions and solid waste commissions serving an area with an official language minority population of at least 20% of its total population.

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For more information, please contact Giselle Goguen, Director of Public Affairs and Research, at 506-444-4229.