Official Languages Commissioner calls for Official Languages Secretariat

(Jessica Ng/CTV Atlantic)

The Acting Commissioner of Official Languages, Michel Carrier, has released his 2018-19 annual report

Carrier says the province has a long way to go before achieving language equality, despite the progress made in the 50 years since New Brunswick officially adopted bilingualism.

He cites the fragility of the vitality of the French language, the lackof bilingual services offered in some hospitals, and English being the preferred language of work in the public service as some of the challenges.

"The magnitude of these and other challenges requires the government to develop the appropriate means and resources to take them on," added Carrier.

An investigation last year revealed the province is facing considerable challenges implementing the Plan on Official Languages, which was designed to move toward greater equality in the use of both English and French.

The release says the Office of the Commissioner concluded there is a lack of a structure and of adequate resources to implement the Plan, with Carrier stating it is time for New Brunswick to have an Official Languages Secretariat.

The Annual Review also touches on the linguistic obligations of Ambulance New Brunswick, details the number and composition of admissible complaints received in the 2018-19 fiscal year (76 about services in French), and presents the absence of a policy on government signage considering the linguistic composition of regions.

Carrier believes the lack of such a policy on government signage is a direct consequence of the absence of a government agency whose primary responsibility would be ensuring respect of the Official Languages Act.