FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government today introduced a bill to amend the Official Languages Act.

The purpose of the amendments is to:

  • define the role and functions of the new Secretariat of Official Languages;
  • make the secretariat responsible for evaluating the act on a continuous basis and make recommendations for amendments;
  • clarify the information to be included in the annual reports of the commissioner of official languages; and
  • add a mechanism permitting the commissioner of official languages to delegate the power to investigate in the event of a conflict of interest.

“We feel strongly that by making the new Secretariat of Official Languages responsible for co-ordinating, supporting and promoting the Official Languages Act, our province will be better equipped to continue fully realizing its role as a leader in bilingualism,” said Premier Blaine Higgs.

These amendments are being made in response to the recommendations in a report from the commissioners appointed by the provincial government to undertake a review of the Official Languages Act, Judge Yvette Finn and John McLaughlin.

“We are confident that the clarification of certain aspects of the commissioner’s role and the creation of a secretariat will position us to continue advancing the rights of both linguistic communities while also meeting the needs of the general public with regard to official languages,” said Higgs.