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Official Languages Act

Legislature :
54
Session :
4
Bill No. :
64
Member :
Hon. Lord
First Reading :
2002-6-4
Second Reading :
2002-6-5
Committee of the Whole :
2002-6-6
Amended :
2002-6-6
Third Reading :
2002-6-7
Royal Assent :
2002-6-7

Text of Bill :
                                                                              Chapter Outline

Definitions....................................................................................................... 1
   city — cité
   “communication” and “communicate” — «communication» et «communiquer»
   court — tribunaux
   Crown corporation — société de la Couronne
   department — ministère
   institution — institution
   linguistic community — communauté linguistique
   municipality — municipalité
   official languages — langues officielles
   peace officer — agent de la paix
   “publication” and “published” — «publication» et «publier»
Interpretation
Minister responsible.......................................................................................... 2
Act prevails.................................................................................................. 3(1)
Exception..................................................................................................... 3(2)
Distinct institutions........................................................................................... 4
Authority of Legislature..................................................................................... 5
Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly
Language of the Legislature................................................................................ 6
Interpretation of proceedings of the Legislative Assembly......................................... 7
Records and journals of the Legislative Assembly................................................... 8
Legislative and others instruments
Language of legislation...................................................................................... 9
Equal authority of both language versions............................................................ 10
Introduction of bills.......................................................................................... 11
Acts of the Legislature...................................................................................... 12
Required publication in The Royal Gazette............................................................ 13
Official documents........................................................................................... 14
Documents published under an Act of the Province................................................ 15
The administration of justice
Language of the courts..................................................................................... 16
Right to use language of choice.......................................................................... 17
Person not to be disadvantaged by choice............................................................ 18
Obligation placed on the court to understand language chosen................................. 19
Accused’s right to be heard in the language of choice............................................. 20
Rights of the witness........................................................................................ 21
Obligation on Her Majesty to use language of the parties........................................ 22
Disagreement between parties as to language of use............................................... 23
Publication of decisions.................................................................................... 24
Publication of Court of Appeal decisions.............................................................. 25
Rendering of a judgment................................................................................... 26
Communication with the public
Communications with government and its institutions............................................. 27
Obligations of institutions................................................................................. 28
Posting of signs and publications intended for the public........................................ 29
Services rendered on behalf of the Province.......................................................... 30
Policing Services
Services provided by a peace officer.................................................................... 31
Application of section 31................................................................................... 32
Health services
Health services................................................................................................ 33
Effect of section 33........................................................................................... 34
Municipalities
Municipalities bound by the Act.................................................................... 35 (1)
Cities bound by the Act................................................................................. 35(2)
Adoption of new by-laws............................................................................... 35(3)
Deadline..................................................................................................... 35(4)
Minutes of Council....................................................................................... 35(5)
Communications and services............................................................................ 36
Opting-in by municipalities................................................................................ 37
Effect of opting-in............................................................................................ 38
Planning Commissions and Solid Waste Commissions
Planning Commissions and Solid Waste Commissions............................................. 39
Cities and Municipalities................................................................................... 40
Communications and services............................................................................ 41
Review of Act
Review of Act................................................................................................. 42
Commissioner of Official Languages
Mandate and responsibilities of Commissioner...................................................... 43
Appointment of Official Translators
Appointment of Official Translators..................................................................... 44
Regulation-making authority
Regulation-making authority.............................................................................. 45
Repeal
Repeal........................................................................................................... 46
Commencement
Commencement............................................................................................... 47


   WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada provides that English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick and have equality of status and equal rights and
privileges as to their use in all institutions of the Legislature and Government of New Brunswick;
   
   AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada confers upon the public, in New Brunswick, the right to use English or French in the Legislature and in the courts of New
Brunswick, as well as to have access to the laws of New Brunswick in both official languages;
   
   AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada also provides for the right of any member of the public to communicate with and to receive available services from any office of
an institution of the Legislature or Government of New Brunswick in either official language;
   
   AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada also recognizes that the English linguistic community and the French linguistic community in New Brunswick have equality of
status and equal rights and privileges, including the right to distinct educational institutions and such distinct cultural institutions as are necessary for the preservation and
promotion of those communities;
   
   AND WHEREAS the Constitution of Canada affirms, with respect to both official languages, the authority of the Legislature and Government of New Brunswick to advance
the status, rights and privileges set out therein;
   
   AND WHEREAS New Brunswick is committed to enacting an Official Languages Act that respects the rights conferred by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and
allows the Legislature and the Government to fulfill their obligations under the Charter;
   
   NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly, enacts as follows:

Definitions
1               In this Act

   “city” means a city within the meaning of section 16 of the Municipalities Act; («cité»)
   
   “communication” and “communicate” mean any form of communication whether spoken, written or electronic; («communication» et «communiquer»)
   
   “court” means any court or administrative tribunal in the Province («tribunaux»)
   
   “Crown corporation” means a corporation that is accountable, through a Minister, to the Legislative Assembly for the conduct of its affairs, and includes a parent Crown
corporation or a wholly-owned subsidiary; («Société de la Couronne»)
   
   “department” means a department as defined in subsection 1(1) of the Financial Administration Act; («ministère»)
   
   “institution” means an institution of the Legislative Assembly or the Government of New Brunswick, the courts, any board, commission or council, or other body or office,
established to perform a governmental function by or pursuant to an Act of the Legislature or by or under the authority of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, a department of
the Government of New Brunswick, a Crown corporation established by or pursuant to an Act of the Legislature or any other body that is specified by an Act of the Legislature to
be an agent of Her Majesty in right of the Province or to be subject to the direction of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council or a minister of the Crown; («institution»)
   
   “linguistic community” means either of the English linguistic community or the French linguistic community of New Brunswick within the meaning of section 16.1 of the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; («communauté linguistique»)
   
   “municipality” means a municipality within the meaning of section 1 of the Municipalities Act; («municipalité»)
   
   “official languages” means the official languages of New Brunswick within the meaning of subsection 16(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; («langues
officielles»)
   
   “peace officer” means a peace officer as defined under section 1 of the Provincial Offences Procedure Act who serves the public, whether on behalf of the Province, a
municipality or under a contract for the delivery of policing services with the Province or its institutions and includes a police officer as defined under that Act; («agent de la
paix»)
   
   “publication” and “published” mean all forms of publication, whether paper or electronic. («publication» et «publier»)

Interpretation
2               The Premier is responsible for the administration of this Act.

3(1)         No act, or regulation under it, other than this Act, shall be interpreted so as to repeal, limit or contravene a provision of this Act and, in case of conflict, this Act prevails.

3(2)         Subsection (1) does not apply to the Education Act or any other act, legislative provision or measure which promotes the equality of the two linguistic communities or
establishes distinct educational institutions or distinct cultural institutions.

4               Distinct educational institutions and distinct cultural institutions and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the school system in New Brunswick including the
English and French sections of the Department of Education including schools and their committees, councils and boards, community centres and universities and, where
applicable, community colleges are not included in the definition of “institution” in section 1.

5               Nothing in this Act limits the authority of the Legislature or the Government to advance the equality of status and use of English and French.

Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly
6               English and French are the official languages of the Legislature and everyone has the right to use either language in any debate and other proceeding of the Legislative
Assembly or its committees.

7               Simultaneous interpretation of the debates and other proceedings of the Legislative Assembly shall be made available by the Legislature.

8               The records, journals and reports of the Legislative Assembly and its committees shall be printed and published in English and French and both language versions are
equally authoritative.

Legislative and other instruments
9               English and French are the official languages of legislation.

10            The English and French versions of legislation are equally authoritative.

11            Bills shall be simultaneously introduced in both official languages before the Legislative Assembly and shall be simultaneously adopted and assented to in both official
languages.

12            The Acts of the Legislature shall be printed and published in both official languages.

13            Rules, orders, Orders-in-Council and proclamations required to be published in The Royal Gazette shall be printed and published in both official languages.

14            Notices, advertisements and other announcements of an official nature, whether required to be published in The Royal Gazette or not, shall be printed and published in
both official languages.

15            Notices, announcements and other documents required to be published under this Act or any other Act by the Province or its institutions shall be printed and published
in both official languages.

The administration of justice
16            English and French are the official languages of the courts.

17            Every person has the right to use the official language of his or her choice in any matter before the courts, including all proceedings, or in any pleading or process issuing
from a court.

18            No person shall be placed at a disadvantage by reason of the choice made under section 17.

19(1)      A court before which a matter is pending must understand, without the assistance of an interpreter or any process of simultaneous translation or consecutive
interpretation, the official language chosen under section 17 by a party to the matter.

19(2)      A court before which a matter is pending must understand both official languages, without the assistance of an interpreter or any process of simultaneous translation or
consecutive interpretation, if both English and French are the languages chosen by the parties to the proceedings.

20(1)      A person who is alleged to have committed an offence under an Act or a regulation of the Province or under a municipal by-law has the right to have the proceedings
conducted in the language of his or her choice and shall be informed of that right by the presiding judge before entering a plea.

20(2)      A person who is alleged to have committed an offence within the meaning of subsection (1), has the right to be understood by the court, without the assistance of an
interpreter or any process of simultaneous translation or consecutive interpretation, in the official language chosen by the person.

21            Every court has the duty to ensure that any witness appearing before it can be heard in the official language of his or her choice and upon the request of one of the parties
or the witness, the court has the duty to ensure that services of simultaneous translation or consecutive interpretation are available to the person who made the request.

22            Where Her Majesty in right of the Province or an institution is a party to civil proceedings before a court, Her Majesty or the institution concerned shall use, in any oral or
written pleadings or any process issuing from a court, the official language chosen by the other party.

23            Where the parties to civil proceedings, other than Her Majesty in right of the Province or an institution, do not choose or fail to agree on the official language to be used in
the proceedings, Her Majesty or the institution concerned shall use such official language as is reasonable, having regard to the circumstances.

24(1)      Any final decision, order or judgment of any court, including any reasons given therefore and summaries, shall be published in both official languages where

   (a)    it determines a question of law of interest or importance to the general public, or
   
   (b)    the proceedings leading to its issuance were conducted in whole or in part in both official languages.

24(2)      Where a final decision, order or judgment is required to be published under subsection (1), but it is determined that to do so would result in a delay or injustice or hardship
to a party to the proceedings, the decision, order or judgment, including any reasons given, shall be published in the first instance in one official language and, thereafter, at the
earliest possible time, in the other official language.

25            All decisions of the Court of Appeal are deemed to fall within the scope of section 24.

26            Sections 24 and 25 shall not be construed so as to prevent the pronouncement of a judgment, including the reasons in support of the judgment, in either official language
and in such a case, the judgment is not invalid by reason only that it was pronounced in one official language.

Communication with the public
27            Members of the public have the right to communicate with any institution and to receive its services in the official language of their choice.

28            An institution shall ensure that members of the public are able to communicate with and to receive its services in the official language of their choice.

29            Institutions shall publish all postings, publications and documents intended for the general public in both official languages.

30            The Province and its institutions are responsible for ensuring that all services offered to the public by third parties on their behalf are delivered in both official languages.

Policing services
31(1)      Members of the public have the right, when communicating with a peace officer, to receive service in the official language of their choice and must be informed of that
right.

31(2)      If a peace officer is unable to provide service in the language chosen under subsection (1), the peace officer shall take whatever measures are necessary, within a
reasonable time, to ensure compliance with the choice made under subsection (1).

31(3)      A police force or agency, as the case may be, shall ensure the availability of the means necessary to respond to the choice made by a member of the public under
subsection (1) and to support the obligation placed on a peace officer under subsection (2).

32            Section 31 does not limit the obligations placed on peace officers under any other Act or law to deliver services to the public in both official languages.

Health services
33(1)      For the purposes of the provision of health services in the Province and notwithstanding the definition of “institution” in section 1, an institution in sections 27 and 28
refers to the network of health establishments, facilities and programs under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Wellness or the regional health authorities under the
Regional Health Authorities Act.

33(2)      When establishing a provincial health plan under the Regional Health Authorities Act, the Minister of Health and Wellness shall ensure that the principles upon which
the provision of health services are to be based include the delivery of health services in both official languages in the Province.

34            Subject to the obligation to serve members of the public in the official language of their choice, section 33 does not limit the use of one official language in the daily
operations of a hospital or other facility as defined in the Regional Health Authorities Act.

Municipalities
35(1)      A municipality whose official language minority population represents at least 20% of its total population is required to adopt and publish its by-laws in both official
languages.

35(2)      A city is required to adopt and publish its by-laws in both official languages irrespective of the percentage required under subsection (1).

35(3)      A municipality or city to which subsection (1) or (2) applies that adopts a new by-law or amends an existing by-law after December 31, 2002, shall do so in both official
languages.

35(4)      Except in the case of a by-law referred to in subsection (3), a municipality or city to which subsection (1) or (2) applies, other than Moncton, shall adopt and publish its
by-laws in both official languages on or before December 31, 2005.

35(5)      Subsection (3) applies, with the necessary modifications, to the minutes of council proceedings.

36            A municipality or city to which subsection 35(1), (2) or section 37 applies shall offer the services and communications prescribed by regulation in both official languages.

37            A municipality may, by by-law of its municipal council, declare itself bound by the provisions of this Act and nothing in this Act shall be interpreted so as to limit the
authority of municipalities to promote the equality of status and use of English and French.

38            The provisions of subsections 35(3), (4) and (5) apply, with the necessary modifications, to a municipality under section 37.

Planning Commissions and Solid Waste Commissions
39            A Planning Commission or a Solid Waste Commission covering a geographical area with an official language minority population of at least 20% of the total population is
subject to the obligations imposed by section 41.

40            Where the geographical area of a Planning Commission or of a Solid Waste Commission includes a municipality or a city to which subsection 35(1) or (2) applies, the
Planning Commission or the Solid Waste Commission, as the case may be, is subject to the obligations imposed by section 41 irrespective of the percentage required under
section 39.

41            A Planning Commission or a Solid Waste Commission to which section 39 or 40 applies shall offer the services and communications prescribed by regulation in both
official languages.

Review of Act
42(1)      The Premier shall initiate a review of this Act before December 31, 2012.

42(2)      A review under subsection (1) shall be in the form and manner prescribed by regulation.

Commissioner of Official Languages
43(1)      There shall be an Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick, as well as a Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick.

43(2)      The Commissioner shall be appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly, shall rank as and have all the powers of
a deputy head of a department, shall engage exclusively in the duties of the office of the Commissioner and shall not hold any other office under Her Majesty or engage in any
other employment.

43(3)      The Commissioner shall hold office during good behaviour for a term of five years.

43(4)      The Commissioner, on the expiration of a first or any subsequent term, may be reappointed for a further five year term.

43(5)      In the event of the absence or incapacity of the Commissioner, or if the office of the Commissioner is vacant, the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint another
qualified person to hold office during the absence or incapacity of the Commissioner, or until the end of the Commissioner’s mandate, and may fix the remuneration and expenses
to which the person shall be entitled.

43(6)      Notwithstanding the Civil Service Act, the Commissioner may appoint such persons to positions in the Office of the Commissioner as he or she considers necessary to
enable the fulfillment of the Commissioner’s responsibilities under this Act.

43(7)      The Public Service Superannuation Act applies to the Commissioner and the employees of the Office of the Commissioner.

43(8)      The Commissioner may contract for such professional services, for limited periods of time or in respect of particular matters, as he or she considers necessary to enable the
fulfillment of the Commissioner’s responsibilities under this Act.

43(9)      In accordance with the authority provided to the Commissioner under this Act, it is the role of the Commissioner to investigate, report on and make recommendations with
regard to compliance with this Act.

43(10)    In order to fulfill the role under subsection (9), the Commissioner shall conduct and carry out investigations either pursuant to any complaint made to the Commissioner or
on his or her own initiative and shall, as provided in this Act, report and make recommendations with respect to such investigations.

43(11)    The Commissioner may refuse to investigate or cease to investigate any complaint if, in the opinion of the Commissioner,

   (a)    the subject-matter of the complaint is trivial,
   
   (b)    the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or is not made in good faith, or
   
   (c)      the subject-matter of the complaint does not involve a contravention or failure to comply with this Act or, for any other reason, does not come within the authority of the
   Commissioner under this Act.

43(12)    If the Commissioner refuses to investigate or ceases to investigate any complaint, the Commissioner shall inform the complainant and provide reasons for the decision to
do so.

43(13)    Before commencing an investigation under this Act, the Commissioner shall inform the deputy head or other administrative head of the institution concerned of his or her
intention to carry out the investigation.

43(14)    Subject to this Act, the Commissioner may determine the procedure to be followed in carrying out an investigation under this Act.

43(15)    For the purposes of this Act, the Commissioner is a commissioner under the Inquiries Act.

43(16)    After carrying out an investigation pursuant to a complaint under this Act, the Commissioner shall communicate the results of the investigation and any
recommendations, including any opinion and the reasons for the recommendations, only to the Premier, the deputy head or other administrative head of the institution concerned
and the complainant.

43(17)    After carrying out an investigation on his or her own initiative, the Commissioner shall communicate the results of the investigation and any recommendations, including
any opinion and the reasons for the recommendations, only to the Premier and the deputy head or other administrative head of the institution concerned.

43(18)    If a complainant is not satisfied with the conclusions of the Commisioner received under subsection (16) or with the resolution of the complaint, the complainant may
apply to The Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick for a remedy.

43(19)    The judge of a court referred to in subsection (18) may grant such remedy as he or she considers appropriate and just in the circumstances.

43(20)    This section does not affect any other right of action that a person may have.

43(21)    The Commissioner shall, within such time as is reasonably practicable after the end of each year, prepare and submit to the Legislative Assembly, a report concerning the
activities of the Office of the Commissioner in the preceding year.

Appointment of Official Translators
44            The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may appoint such Official Translators as are necessary to enable a court to discharge the duties conferred on it by this Act.

Regulation-making authority
45            The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations

   (a)    prescribing circumstances not otherwise provided for under this Act in which institutions have the duty to ensure that any member of the public can communicate with
   and obtain available services from the institutions in either official language;
   
   (b)    respecting the procedure, as it concerns official languages, before any court, including

      (i) the giving of notice as is necessary to enable the court to discharge the duty conferred upon it by section 21, and
      
      (ii)                  the swearing or affirming of interpreters;

   (c)      respecting services and communications to be provided under sections 36 and 41 and the manner in which they are to be provided;

   (d)    identifying measures required to foster effective communications with and services from institutions in both official languages;
   
   (e)      respecting the form and manner of a review under section 42;
   
   (f)      respecting the functions of persons appointed under section 44 and the status and admissibility into evidence of translations prepared by them;
   
   (g)    establishing any other measure necessary for the better administration of this Act.

Repeal
46            The Official Languages of New Brunswick Act, chapter O-1 of the Revised Statutes, 1973, is repealed.

Commencement
47(1)      This Act, except for section 43, comes into force on August 5, 2002.

47(2)      Section 43 comes into force on April 1, 2003.

 

Amendment :
Add after section 28 the following:
Section 28.1 An institution shall ensure that appropriate measures are taken to make it known to members of the public that its services are available to them in the official language of their choice.


Subsection 33(2)
Strike out Section 33(2) and substitute the following:
33(2) When establishing a provincial health plan under the Regional Health Authorities Act, the Minister of Health and Wellness shall

(a) ensure that the principles upon which the provision of health services are to be based include the delivery of health services in both official languages in the Province, and

(b) consider the language of daily operations under section 34.





Subsection 43(9)
In subsection 43(9) add “and to promote the advancement of both official languages in the Province” after “with regard to compliance with this Act”.


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