Government of New Brunswick
 

Introduction

The Official Languages – Language of Work Policy and Guidelines are intended to assist and guide provincial departments, institutions and agencies in providing a work environment that encourages and enables employees to work and pursue a career in their official language of choice.

While language of work and language of service have separate applications under the Official Languages Policy, they are intrinsically linked and will continue to be supported by the application of a linguistic team approach for the provision of services to the public as well as for internal communications. The New Brunswick Public Service must have a work environment that promotes the use of employees’ official language of choice. Managers are expected to facilitate and support this work environment at every possible opportunity.
 

 

Objective

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The objective of the Official Languages – Language of Work Policy and Guidelines of the Government of New Brunswick is to promote the use of both official languages by employees in provincial departments, institutions and agencies.
 

 

Authority

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The Official Languages – Language of Work Policy and Guidelines have their foundation in Board of Management Minute 09.0092.
 

 

Policy Statement

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The Government of New Brunswick recognizes the often-superior contribution made by employees when they are able to work in their official language of choice.

It is the policy of the Government of New Brunswick to promote the use of both official languages within the New Brunswick Public Service and to encourage and enable employees to work in their official language of choice.

The ability of employees to work in their preferred official language is subject to the government’s duty under the Official Languages Act to offer and provide services in the official language chosen by the public.
 

 

Application

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The Official Languages – Language of Work Policy and Guidelines apply to Part I (departments and agencies) of the New Brunswick Public Service.

This policy applies to the Department of Education; however, given the linguistic duality within the education system, it does not apply to divisions of the Department which have been established on the basis of one or the other of the two official languages.  This policy does not apply within the schools and school district offices.

This policy applies to the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour; however, it does not apply to individual community colleges which have been established on the basis of one or the other of the two official languages.
 

 

Responsibility

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As the Minister responsible for the Public Service, the Minister of Human Resources is responsible for the overall administration of the Official Languages – Language of Work Policy and Guidelines.

Individual Deputy Ministers and Deputy Heads are responsible for the day-to-day application and management of the policy within their respective organisations.

The Minister of Human Resources is responsible for monitoring the application and for providing interpretation and advice in the administration of the Language of Work Policy and Guidelines.
 

 

Definitions

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The public includes any person or group of persons, any association, profit or non-profit organisation, municipal body or organisation, provincial or federal institution, any non-governmental organisation as well as the agent representative of the above.

The Civil Service Act defines the following departments, who provide services and direction to line departments, as Central Agencies:  Communications New Brunswick, Department of Finance, Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, Executive Council and Minister of Human Resources.

The tool kit is a reference site that has been developed to assist managers and employees. It provides tools and examples to encourage and enable employees to work in their official language of choice.
 

 

Language of Work

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I. Language of Work

Personnel and Administrative Services

Personnel services and other administrative services provided to employees must be offered and provided in the employees’ official language of choice.

Policy Application

Personnel and other administrative services to employees must be offered in both official languages and provided in the official language chosen by the employee. Such services include, but are not limited to:

  • payroll and benefits services
  • counseling services
  • staffing services
  • training
  • appeal and grievance procedures
  • miscellaneous personnel administrative services

Performance Reviews

Performance reviews must be offered and conducted in the employees’ official language of choice.

Policy Application

The employee selects the official language in which the performance review will be conducted.  If a supervisor cannot communicate in the official language chosen by the employee, a third person such as the next level of management or a representative from the Human Resources section or another person deemed appropriate by both the employee and the supervisor can be brought in to assist.

Communication between supervisors and their employees

Day to day communications between a supervisor and an employee must be in the official language chosen by the employee.

Policy Application

Supervisors who have the ability to communicate in both official languages must do so by using their employees’ official language of choice.

A supervisor who cannot communicate in the official language chosen by the employee must ensure that processes are in place to facilitate the employee’s request to communicate in his/her preferred language. 

Please refer to the tool kit.

Drafting Documents

Employees can draft documents in their official language of choice. Documents must be fully translated once ready for broader circulation or when seeking comments and feedback from a broader audience.

Policy Application

Managers must encourage employees to draft documents in the official language that they are most comfortable in using.  Once the documents are completed or close to be completed and circulated, they must be sent to the translation bureau.

When requesting translation services, department must follow the Translation and Interpretation Services policy and guidelines (AD-1502), and ensure that the time required for translation of documents is built into the project timeframe.

There are instances when employees will not be able to draft documents in their official language of choice.  For example:

  • Documents being prepared on an urgent basis or at the request of ministerial staff must be provided in the language requested.  “Urgent basis” is defines as when time frames do not allow translation by translation bureau.
  • Documentation of client files must be done as per departmental guidelines.  Departments who maintain client files have existing policies in relation to documentation of client files. These are governed by various factors such as the nature of the file, professional codes of conduct and language of service obligations.

Work Tools

All work tools provided to employees must be made available simultaneously in both official languages.  This includes computer hardware and software, telephone systems, training and reference books, manuals, administrative directives, policies and guidelines.

Policy Application

All purchased or internally produced work tools such as computer hardware and software, telephone systems, training and reference books, manuals, administrative directives, policies and guidelines must be made available simultaneously in both official languages.

Managers must offer employees the option to select the official language of the operating systems and software on their computers as well as the configuration for their keyboards. This option must also be provided in regards to telephone systems.

Any new regularly and widely used information system that is purchased or developed for use by employees must be made available in both official languages. At the first available opportunity, existing regularly and widely used unilingual systems intended for employee use, must be converted to bilingual systems.

Please refer to the tool kit.

Meetings

Small meetings must be held in a manner that encourages the use of both official languages. For large meetings, both official languages must be used.

Policy Application

For small meetings, meeting organizers should ensure that the participants have the option of communicating in their official language of choice. Using various means such as alternating between the use of English and French and encouraging employees to make presentations in the official language that they are most comfortable in using can help in accomplishing this.

For large meetings, meeting organizers must ensure that participants have the option of communicating in their official language of choice.  This means that all materials and presentations must be available in both official languages. Simultaneous interpretation, bilingual facilitators or English and French co-chairs can be used to meet this objective. Meeting organizers can also elect to conduct separate meetings in either official language.

Please refer to the tool kit.

II. Interdepartmental communications and communication within departments and agencies

Central Agencies

It is incumbent upon central agencies to use the official language of choice of the client in the provision of service to and in contact with client departments and agencies.

Policy Application

Central agencies have a responsibility to use the official language chosen by their clients in the provision of service to and in contact with client departments and agencies.  Communication initiated by a central agency to all departments and agencies must be available simultaneously in both official languages.

Departments and agencies may use either language when communicating with central agencies.  Replies by central agencies must be in the official language chosen by the client department.  

All communication directed to all employees (e.g. new policy, notices, etc.) must be in both official languages.

See Appendix ‘A’ for an example of the communication flow.

Head Offices

It is incumbent upon individuals at the head office of each department to use the official language of choice of the client in the provision of service to and in contact with their divisions, branches or regional offices.

Policy Application 

Head offices have a responsibility to use the appropriate official language in the provision of all services to and in all contacts with their divisions, branches or regional offices.  Communication initiated by a head office to all divisions, branches or regional offices must be available simultaneously in both official languages.

Divisions, branches or regional offices may use either language when communicating with head offices.  Replies by head offices must be in the official language chosen by the division, branch or regional office.  

All communication directed at all employees (e.g. new departmental policy, notice of annual meeting, etc.) must be in both official languages

See Appendix ‘A’ for an example of the communication flow.

Regional Offices

It is incumbent upon individuals at the regional office of each department to use the official language of choice of the client in the provision of service to and in contact with subordinate offices (local, satellite or district).

Policy Application

Regional offices have a responsibility to use the appropriate official language in the provision of all services to and in all contact with subordinate offices.  Communication initiated by a regional office to all subordinate offices must be available simultaneously in both official languages. 

Subordinate offices may use either language when communicating with regional offices.  Replies by regional offices must be in the official language chosen by the subordinate office.  

All communication directed at all employees (e.g. new departmental policy, notice of annual meeting, etc.) must be in both official languages.

See Appendix ‘A’ for an example of the communication flow.

Employee to Employee Communication

When there is no central agency/head office or regional office context, it is incumbent upon employees responding to a request from other employees to respond in the official language chosen by the employee who is requesting the service or information.

Policy Application

The Language of Service Policy and Guidelines are applicable in this instance.   An example would be when an employee needs to consult with an employee from another department in the management of an issue or a file.  The employee who initiates the conversation or is requesting the service becomes, by definition, a member of the public and must be able to communicate in their official language of choice. 

See Appendix ‘B’ for an example of the communication flow.

III. Institutional Linguistic Capacity and Required Language Skills

Institutions must have the linguistic capacity to serve the public, employees, regional and subordinate offices in both official languages. They must be equipped with a team of employees who are ready to actively offer services of equal quality in both official languages.

In order to fulfill institutional linguistic obligations, employees must have the required language skills to perform their responsibilities.

Required language skills means that employees are able to function in English or in French, or in both languages, to the level required to carry out their duties.

Priority for the provision of second language training and language upgrading courses in the first language for employees must be determined as per the Language Training Policy.
 

 

Inquiries

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Should you have any questions or complaints related to this policy please contact your Official Languages Departmental Coordinators or the Human Resource Strategy and Programs Division, Minister of Human Resources at 453-2264.