Fredericton, February 2, 2022 – The Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, Shirley MacLean, has reviewed the report on second-language learning released today by Commissioners Yvette Finn and John McLaughlin.
“While second-language learning is not part of my mandate as Commissioner of Official Languages, it is a topic of great interest to my office, as individual bilingualism impacts the ability of our government institutions to provide service of equal quality in both official languages across the province,” said Commissioner MacLean.
The commissioner is pleased to note the report recognizes the importance of continuity in language learning. The report contains recommendations to improve second-language learning in the province’s education system from early childhood onwards and for the adult population, noting the importance of using second languages in social contexts to promote cross-cultural interaction, understanding, and appreciation.
Among other topics, the report makes a number of recommendations regarding school eligibility rules based on language. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages wishes to remind the government that, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, New Brunswick’s English-speaking and French-speaking communities have the right to distinct educational institutions necessary for their protection and promotion. This constitutional guarantee and the principles of minority language protection must guide any legislative changes in this regard.
“Once again, I wish to thank the commissioners and their team for this extensive consultation process,” added Commissioner MacLean. “Now that the commissioners’ mandate is complete, I urge the Premier to move quickly to introduce legislation to review New Brunswick’s Official Languages Act and improve respect for language rights for all.”
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick
506-444-4229 or 1-888-651-6444 (toll free)