New Brunswick

Official languages commissioner announces retirement

Katherine d'Entremont, New Brunswick's commissioner of official languages, will be retiring this summer, her office announced Friday afternoon.

Katherine d’Entremont leaves post 5 years into 7-year mandate

Katherine d’Entremont, New Brunswick's commissioner of official languages, announced her retirement Friday. (Jacques Poitras)

Katherine d'Entremont, New Brunswick's commissioner of official languages, will be retiring this summer, her office announced Friday afternoon.

D'Entremont will leave the post July 22 after 37 years in public service. She was appointed to the commissioner role in June 2013 for a seven-year mandate, but she won't complete it.

The province said an acting commissioner will be appointed by the lieutenant-governor-in-council after consultations between Premier Brian Gallant and Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs. 

A new commissioner will be recommended and appointed during the next sitting of the legislative assembly.

In her letter of resignation, d'Entremont said it's time for other pursuits.

''I wish to express my appreciation to all New Brunswickers who call on the services of the Office," said d'Entremont in a media statement.

"Their complaints allow us to highlight problems with the administration of the Official Languages Act and make recommendations aimed at ensuring public services of equal quality in both official languages."

Commissioner of Official Languages Katherine d'Entremont said the role has been a 'rewarding' experience. (CBC)

The commissioner's office said d'Entremont would not be granting interviews until after she issued her final annual report in June.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny thanked d'Entremont for her years of service.

"In this role, she demonstrated her concern with protecting and promoting New Brunswickers' language rights and contributing to the equality of our two official language communities," Kenny said in a statement.  

'A most noble societal project'

D'Entremont was born to an anglophone mother and francophone father in Halifax and was raised in Moncton. Her online biography quotes her as saying she always had ''one foot firmly planted in each linguistic community."

She taught French immersion before joining the civil service.

"Protecting and promoting New Brunswickers' language rights has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career," d'Entremont said in the announcement. "I am proud to have contributed to the equality of our two official languages and our two linguistic communities, a most noble societal project.''

D'Entremont often had to challenge public officials and wade into tense issues surrounding bilingualism in New Brunswick, including a notable controversy that began from her own personal experience while walking into Chancery Place. 

D'Entremont's investigations into bilingual service have prompted protests. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

When d'Entremont approached the front desk at the government office building in Fredericton, she was unable to communicate in French with the commissionaire on duty, sparking a debate about bilingual service within government.

She remained steadfast in the face of opposition to her call to make bilingualism a requirement for all senior civil servants in the provincial government.

The commissioner is an independent office of the legislative assembly that investigates and makes recommendations related to compliance with the Official Languages Act.