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New Brunswick premier to appoint two commissioners to review Official Languages Act

Click to play video 'N.B. looking for commissioners to lead review of official languages act' N.B. looking for commissioners to lead review of official languages act
The legally mandated review of New Brunswick’s official languages act will happen behind closed doors. There were calls for the review to be done in public, but that won’t be the case. Now the province is looking for commissioners to lead the review. Silas Brown has more – Jan 15, 2021

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says he will appoint two commissioners to undertake a review of the province’s Official Languages Act.

The Tory leader said Friday the commissioners will present a final report with recommendations to the government by Dec. 31.

He says details of the mandate will be announced when the commissioners are chosen in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: New Brunswick government looking to improve second-language training for students

In addition to the formal review of the Official Languages Act, the commissioners will be asked to identify ways to improve access to both official languages for all New Brunswickers.

Higgs notes that less than 50 per cent of students who graduate from the anglophone education system are bilingual in English and French.

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He also says new technologies and out-migration have created challenges in delivering government services in both languages.

Click to play video 'N.B. languages commissioner reports complaints related to COVID-19 briefings' N.B. languages commissioner reports complaints related to COVID-19 briefings
N.B. languages commissioner reports complaints related to COVID-19 briefings – Dec 16, 2020

Green party Leader David Coon says a public review of the legislation should be conducted by a legislative committee, not by commissioners appointed by the premier.

Coon also says problems with second language education in the school system should be examined by a separate commission.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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