Fredericton, November 3rd, 2015
As Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, if I become aware of a potential significant violation to the Official Languages Act of New Brunswick (the “OLA”), I must take action. The purpose of an investigation is to shine a light on the root cause of a violation to the OLA and to find ways to correct the situation so that it does not repeat itself.
The initial correspondence sent to a concerned institution is a formal notice of our intent to carry out an investigation. The purpose of the letter is not to specify whether an investigation is being conducted as a result of a complaint filed by a member of the public or initiated by the Commissioner. In that regard, the OLA does not require the need to specify whether an investigation is being conducted as a result of a complaint filed by a member of the public or initiated by the Commissioner.
Whether an investigation originates from a complaint filed by a member of the public or as a result of a situation the Commissioner has become aware of or has experienced; the investigation process is the same.
In all investigations, the institution concerned is notified of our intent to carry out an investigation into alleged violations of the OLA. At that point in the process, the institution concerned is asked for their position with respect to the alleged violations of the OLA. Following the receipt of the response from the institution concerned and in light of facts provided by all parties involved, an analysis is performed. An investigation report is then prepared which may include recommendations made to the institution concerned with the purpose of attaining full compliance with the OLA.
It is important to note that the Commissioner’s powers are limited to making recommendations. The Commissioner does not have decision making powers with respect to correcting a situation of non-compliance of the OLA. Such decisions are the responsibility of the institution concerned.