New Brunswick

New Brunswick government asks public for input on Official Languages Act review

The Government of New Brunswick is opening up a public consultation process as part of a review of the Official Languages Act, which is being headed by two commissioners.

Deadline to participate is Aug. 31, with final report to come by year's end

John McLaughlin, retired deputy minister in the Department of Education, and provincial court Judge Yvette Finn, are serving as commissioners in New Brunswick's review of the Official Languages Act. (Government of New Brunswick)

The New Brunswick government says it wants to hear from the public as it reviews the Official Languages Act, with an aim to also improve second-language training.

In a news release Monday, the province said the public is invited to take part in public consultations on the review of the act, as well as on improving second language training.

In January, Premier Blaine Higgs announced his government would be appointing two commissioners to undertake a review of the Official Languages Act, which must be done every 10 years.

Higgs's choice of having a closed-door review process was criticized by opposition leaders and the province's official languages commissioner.

Yvette Finn, a provincial court judge, and John McLaughlin, a retired deputy minister in the Department of Education, were appointed commissioners for the review in February.

A Monday news release said New Brunswickers will be able to consult a website for information about the review and  participate by completing a questionnaire or submitting comments and suggestions.

The commissioners will meet virtually with target groups, organizations and people looking to provide input.

The website says the first phase of the process will involve public consultations with experts and key stakeholders from April until August.

Final consultation sessions with selected individuals and a drafting of a final report will be done from September to December.

A report with recommendations will then be presented to government by the end of the year. That report will be available to the public, says the release.

The last phase, in 2022, will see the government analyze the final report and determine next steps, including any legislative amendments.

The deadline to participate is Aug. 31.

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