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New survey indicates 81 per cent support official bilingualism in New Brunswick

Click to play video: 'Premier, Liberals square off over bilingualism and health-care recruitment in N.B.'
Premier, Liberals square off over bilingualism and health-care recruitment in N.B.
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and the leader of the official opposition are squaring off over the potential impact of bilingual job requirements on the recruitment of health-care workers. Silas Brown reports. – May 20, 2021

A new survey indicates 81 per cent of New Brunswickers support the law that makes French and English official languages in the province — the only such legislation in Canada.

The survey conducted for the province’s commissioner of official languages questioned 800 adult residents last October.

Commissioner Shirley MacLean says the results are encouraging and that the support for the Official Languages Act hasn’t changed since her office’s last survey in 2009.

More than 90 per cent of respondents said it’s important to have second-language training in schools and that language training for adults should be free.

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However, MacLean says a myth persists that there is a preference for francophones or bilingual individuals when it comes to job opportunities.

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She says a promotional campaign will be launched over the next year in an effort to increase awareness of language rights.

New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada, with French and English as official languages.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 4, 2022.

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