New Brunswick Official Languages Act (1969)

Legal Entities Involved

New Brunswick

Legal Status

Replaced in 2002 by the new Official Languages Act

Background

In 1969, the provincial government adopted the New Brunswick Official Languages Act, which was to be progressively and prudently implemented, as the main clauses only entered into effect on July 1, 1977, eight years later. The 1969 federal law on official languages (Official Languages Act) quite obviously served as a model for the writing of the provincial law.

Under Section 3, English and French became the official languages of New Brunswick. Since it was the province's first language law, the 1969 law had many shortcomings. Acadians later proposed so many fundamental changes to provincial language policy that it was deemed necessary to rewrite the policy and law completely. The New Brunswick Official Languages Act was repealed and replaced by the new Official Languages Act on June 7, 2002.

Linguistic Significance

Under the New Brunswick Official Languages Act, official language provisions did not apply throughout the province of New Brunswick, but only to its parliamentary and governmental institutions.

Section 11 of the New Brunswick Official Languages Act also stipulated that whenever an individual "requested" services from a provincial official in one of the official languages, the latter was obliged to provide these services in the language requested. Section 12 of the law authorized a municipality to "declare by resolution that either or both official language may be used with regard to any matter or in any proceeding of such council." This also meant that no New Brunswick municipalities were subject to official bilingualism.

In terms of schooling, the New Brunswick Official Languages Act (Section 13) split the school system into two parallel systems: one administered by a francophone deputy minister and the other by an anglophone deputy minister. All the province's francophones, regardless of their number in a given region, had the right to be taught in their mother tongue. They could also oversee their own school boards. The same section required all francophone learning institutions to teach English as a second language and all anglophone institutions to teach French as a second language.

Section 14 of the New Brunswick Official Languages Act stipulated that any person "may be heard in the official language of his choice," which did not mean that the judge and court had to be bilingual.

Linguistic Provisions

All sections (1 to 15).

Complete Text

Section 1

This Act may be cited as the Official Languages of New Brunswick Act.

Section 2

In this Act,

(a) "court" includes judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative tribunals; and

(b) "official languages" means those languages so established under section 3.

Section 3

Subject to this Act, the English and French languages

(a) are the official languages of New Brunswick for all purposes to which the authority of the Legislature of New Brunswick extends; and

(b) possess and enjoy equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use for such purposes.

Section 4

The official languages may be used in any proceeding of the Legislative Assembly or committee thereof.

Section 5

Records and reports of any proceeding of the Legislative Assembly or committee thereof are to be printed in the official languages.

Section 6

(1) Bills introduced into the Legislative Assembly are to be printed in the official languages.

(2) Motions or other documents introduced into the Legislative Assembly or committee thereof may be printed in either or both official languages.

Section 7

The next and succeeding revisions of the Statutes of New Brunswick are to be printed in the official languages.

Section 8

(1) Subject to subsection (2), statutes passed subsequent to the proclamation of this section are to be printed in the official languages.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply where the statute is an amendment to a statute printed in only one of the official languages.

Section 9

Subject to section 16, notices, documents, instruments or writings required under this or any Act to be published by the Province, any agency thereof or any Crown corporation are to be printed in the official languages.

Section 10

Subject to section 16, copies of Official and other notices, advertisements and documents appearing in The Royal Gazette are to be printed in the official languages.

Section 11

Subject to section 16, where requested to do so by any person, every public officer or employee of the Province, any agency thereof or any Crown corporation shall provide or make provision for such person

(a) to obtain the available services for which such public officer or employee is responsible; and

(b) to communicate regarding those services;

Section 12

The council of any municipality may declare by resolution that either or both official language may be used with regard to any matter or in any proceeding of such council.

Section 13

In any public, trade or technical school

(a) where the mother tongue of the pupils is English, the chief language of instruction is to be English and the second language is to be French;

(b) where the mother tongue of the pupils is French, the chief language of instruction is to be French and the second language is to be English;

(c) subject to clause (d), where the mother tongue of the pup 4s is in some cases English and in some cases French, classes are to be so arranged that the chief language of instruction is the mother tongue of each group with the other official language the second language for those groups; and

(d) where the Minister of Education decides that it is not feasible by reason of numbers to abide by the terms of clause (c), he may make alternative arrangements to carry out the spirit of this Act.

Section 14

(1) Subject to section 16, in any proceeding before a court, any person appearing or giving evidence may be heard in the official language of his choice and such choice is not to place that person at any disadvantage.

(2) Subject to subsection (1), where

(a) requested by any party, and

(b) the court agrees that the proceedings can effectively be thus conducted;the court may order that the proceedings be conducted totally or partially in one of the official languages.

Section 15

In construing any of the instruments, bills, statutes, writings, records, reports, motions, notices, advertisements, documents or other writings mentioned in this Act, both versions in the official languages are equally authentic.

Section 16

Where

(a) warranted by reason of numbers of persons involved;

(b) the spirit of this Act so requires; or

(c) it is deemed necessary to so provide for the orderly implementation of this Act;

the Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations determining the application of sections 9, 10 and 11 and subsection (1) of section 14.

Section 17

This Act or any section thereof comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.