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April 10th 2015

The Official Languages Act and municipal and regional services

Fredericton, April 10, 2015 – In New Brunswick, all cities and some municipalities and regional service commissions must offer services to the public in both official languages. These services are outlined in a new factsheet published by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick.

“Local government is closest to citizens,” said Commissioner Katherine d’Entremont. “The Legislative Assembly recognized this in extending the application of the Official Languages Act to portions of the local government sector in 2002.”

In addition to the eight cities, municipalities whose official language minority population represents at least 20% of its total population must also provide services in English and French. This is the case of the municipalities of Atholville, Charlo, Dalhousie, Eel River Crossing, Rexton, Richibucto, Shediac, and Tide Head.

The range of services that must be provided in both languages is varied and includes among others: public notices, responses to inquiries, websites, traffic signs, licensing services, and municipal by-laws.

In addition, 8 of the 12 regional service commissions have language obligations under the Official Languages Act.

“The municipalities and commissions with language obligations must take the necessary measures to inform citizens that their services are available in English and French,” said Ms. d’Entremont. “An active offer of service in both languages is at the heart of quality services.”

This new factsheet on language rights is the fifth in a series produced by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick. This initiative ties in with the Commissioner’s mandate to promote the advancement of both official languages. The initiative also seeks to follow up on the 2013 Report of the Select Committee on the Revision of the Official Languages Act in which the Committee expressed hope that “the Commissioner would make greater efforts to improve public awareness of [her] role.”

To consult and print these factsheets, visit the website of the Office of the Commissioner at: http://www.officiallanguages.nb.ca/ (My Rights section)

For more information:

Hugues Beaulieu
Director of Public Affairs and Research
506-444-4229 or 1-888-651-6444
Hugues.Beaulieu@gnb.ca

About the Commissioner of Official Languages

The Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick is an independent officer of the Legislature. Her role is to protect the language rights of the members of the Anglophone and Francophone communities and to promote the advancement of both official languages.