New Brunswick, Canada

Review of the Official Languages Act and improving second language learning in New Brunswick


Public consultation 2021

About the consultation and review

Official bilingualism is a rich part of our culture, history and future as a province.

Review of the Official Languages Act

The Official Languages Act ensures the equality of our official languages and linguistic communities, and that New Brunswickers are served by government officials in the language of their choice. Two commissioners have been appointed to conduct the review required by the Act and public consultation. They are independent of government.

Improving second language learning

In addition to the review, the commissioners have been asked to identify ways to improve the access to and quality of second language training. Providing the opportunity for all New Brunswickers to learn their second official language and communicate comfortably in both English and French is how we achieve a truly bilingual society.

The commissioners will review and listen to suggestions, recommendations and presentations on these topics from individuals, stakeholders and experts. A final report with recommendations for each of the two review topics will be presented to government by December 31st, 2021. The report will also be available to the public.


How you can participate

The participation period closed on August 31, 2021. We thank all those who took the time to participate online or by mail in this important exercise.

Timeline

Phase 1

April – Aug. 2021

Consultation process with the public and stakeholders.

Start of formal consultations with experts and key stakeholders.

Phase 2

Sept. – Dec. 2021

Final wrap up sessions with selected individuals.

Drafting of the final report.

Phase 3

Dec. 31, 2021

Final report with recommendations on each of the two review topics is presented to government.

This report will also be available to the public.

Phase 4

2022

Government to analyze the final report and determine next steps, including any legislative amendments.

About the commissioners

Judge Yvette Finn

Judge Finn held a professorship at the Université de Moncton in the 1970s before beginning law studies at the Université de Moncton and being called to the New Brunswick Bar in January 1982. She was appointed to the Provincial Court of New Brunswick in 1999 and has been a supernumerary judge since 2017.

During her career, she has also served as chair of the Provincial Court Judicial Education Committee and vice-chair of the National Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Provincial Court Judges. Finn has also initiated a national training program in English and French for provincially appointed judges across Canada. She has been very involved in Acadian associations as president of la Société nationale de l'Acadie, la Société des Jeux de l'Acadie and founding president of la Fondation des Jeux de l'Acadie.

John McLaughlin

John McLaughlin is a retired Deputy Minister for the Department of Education & Early Childhood Development (Anglophone Sector) for the Province of New Brunswick and is currently the President/CEO of Atlantic Education International. He is a career educator, with a background in literacy and educational leadership, and has served as a superintendent of schools in Northern New Brunswick.

In recent years he has represented Canada, through the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada, on two OECD international education committees: the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI), and the Education Policy Committee (EDPC), on which he served as a vice-chair. As one of the architects of Canada’s K-12 Global Competency Framework, he has represented Canada in high level discussions around the future of education at the United Nations in New York and at UNESCO in Paris.

The role of the commissioners

To review the Official Languages Act:

  • To oversee the consultation and review of the Official Languages Act.
  • To review legal decisions and recommendations from the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
  • To review and listen to suggestions, recommendations and presentations from individuals, stakeholders, and experts.
  • To write and present a final report with recommendations that could include amendments to the Official Languages Act, to other legislation or any other recommendation for improving access to both official languages.

To make recommendations to improve access to both official languages:

  • To improve the access to and the quality of second language instruction in the public education system, from early childhood to adulthood.
  • To improve second language instruction and best practices throughout all stages of life, with a focus on language training for the unemployed and underemployed.
  • To help define New Brunswick’s role as a bilingual, open society that values social, cultural, political and economic freedoms, as well as the protection of the vulnerable.

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