Fredericton, July 15, 2021 – Shirley MacLean, the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, has presented her recommendations for the review of the Official Languages Act. In a brief entitled Greater respect for language rights through improvements to the Official Languages Act, the commissioner provides 23 recommendations to improve the Act and advance towards the substantive equality of both official languages and the two official language communities.
“The review of the Official Languages Act is an opportunity to strengthen the Act to protect our official languages,” said Commissioner MacLean. “Since we work closely with the Act, the Office of the Commissioner is well positioned to identify which aspects of the Act can be improved to ensure respect for language rights in our province.”
The following subjects can be found among the 23 recommendations in the Office of the Commissioner’s brief:
- a series of recommendations to clarify the linguistic obligations of local governments;
- legislating the right of provincial public servants to work in the official language of their choice;
- the designation of an Official Languages Secretariat, a government entity responsible for supporting the Premier in the implementation of the Act;
- the requirement for all future Legislative Officers to be bilingual;
- amending the commissioner’s mandate from seven years to ten years, nonrenewable; and
- a series of recommendations to improve compliance with the Act and with the commissioner’s recommendations.
Commissioner MacLean presented her recommendations to Judge Yvette Finn and Mr. John McLaughlin on Wednesday, July 14. Earlier this year, the Premier appointed these two independent commissioners to undertake a review of the Official Languages Act before December 31, 2021.
“I am confident that Commissioners Finn and McLaughlin will study the Office of the Commissioner’s recommendations closely,” Commissioner MacLean continued. “The New Brunswick Official Languages Act gives effect to obligations set out in the Canadian Constitution, our country’s most important legal document. It is imperative that this review strengthens New Brunswickers’ language rights. The Official Languages Act must evolve, much like our two official languages do over time.”
Full brief: Greater respect for language rights through improvements to the Official Languages Act
Brief submitted by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick concerning the review of the New Brunswick Official Languages Act
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick
506-444-4229 or 1-888-651-6444 (toll free)