Filing a complaint

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Important

Before filing a complaint, we invite you to review the Questions and Answers section below. It will help you determine if your complaint should be sent to the Commissioner of Official Languages. It will also provide answers to many questions you may have on this subject, including confidentiality.

If you believe that your linguistic rights have not been respected by the New Brunswick Government or by a public body under the New Brunswick Official Languages Act, you may file a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick. You may do so:

In writing:
440 King Street, King Tower, Suite 646,
Fredericton, N.B.  E3B 5H8

By phone:
1-888-651-6444 (toll free)
or 506-444-4229

By fax:
506-444-4456

By e-form

You may also visit the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick (with or without an appointment).

Questions and Answers about Complaints

What complaints can the Commissioner receive?

Complaints concerning:

  • an institution of the Legislative Assembly or the New Brunswick government:
    • provincial departments1 (e.g., the Department of Health);
    • Crown corporations (e.g., NB Liquor, NB Power, Service New Brunswick);
    • courts;
    • agencies of the Legislative Assembly (e.g., the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for  New Brunswick, Ombudsman);
    • police services;
    • hospitals and public health services;
    • any board, commission or council, or other body or office, established to perform a governmental function.
  • New Brunswick's cities (Bathurst, Campbellton, Dieppe, Edmundston, Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton, Saint John), municipalities subject to the Act (Atholville, Charlo, Dalhousie, Eel River Crossing, Rexton, Richibucto, Shediac, Tide Head) as well as the following Regional Service Commissions: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11;

  • private or other bodies that provide services on behalf of the provincial government.
  1. The Official Languages Act of New Brunswick does not apply to the English and French sections of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Can the Commissioner conduct investigations concerning businesses in the private sector?

No. However, the Commissioner can receive complaints and investigate cases involving businesses in the private sector that provide services on behalf of the provincial government.

Can the Commissioner impose sanctions?

No. But, at the end of an investigation, the Commissioner can recommend that corrective actions be taken. 

If the organization at fault does not agree to make the necessary changes or does not comply with the recommendations, the Commissioner may denounce it in the annual report that he presents to the Legislative Assembly.
 

If I file a complaint, will my name be revealed or can I remain anonymous?

All complaints received are considered confidential. Every effort is made to keep the complainant’s identity confidential.
 

I do not live in New Brunswick. May I still file a complaint if I did not get a service in French or English  from the government of New Brunswick or another body under the New Brunswick Official Languages Act?

Yes.

How will my complaint be treated?

Here are the main steps in complaint-handling process:

  1. The Commissioner’s office receives the complaint and determines if it is admissible for investigation.
  2. If the complaint is accepted, the Commissioner notifies the institution concerned of his intention to investigate. It should be noted that, when the Commissioner considers it appropriate, the Commissioner may attempt to resolve a complaint without conducting an investigation.
  3. The investigation is carried out.
  4. At the end of his investigation, the Commissioner forwards his report to the Premier, the administrative head of the institution concerned, and the person who filed the complaint. He may include in his report any recommendations he deems appropriate, as well as any opinion or reasons supporting his recommendations.
  5. If the complainant is not satisfied with the Commissioner’s conclusions, he or she may apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick. A judge may decide on the remedy he or she considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.