Government legislation and services

Federal government


Members of the public are entitled to communicate and receive services in French in designated-bilingual offices. According to Public Service Commission data, 49.9% of the 5,939 federal public service positions in New Brunswick are designated bilingual.

The federal government supports the Acadian community's comprehensive development efforts, particularly through cooperation agreements signed by the Department of Canadian Heritage and representatives of the community. The current agreement expires in March 2009 and will have to be revised and renewed to cover future development.

Provincial government


New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province in Canada. The provincial policy on official languages is based on the Official Languages Act of 1969, sections 16 to 20 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Act Recognizing the Equality of the Two Official Linguistic Communities in New Brunswick of 1981 (Bill 88). All residents and organizations can (in theory) communicate in French with any government department, institution or agency, without exception. In 1990, there were 3,589 Francophone employees in the provincial public service, representing 33% of all provincial government employees. However, since then, because of new regulations enacted by the government at the time, it has not been possible to obtain a linguistic profile of the provincial public service.

In response to demands by the Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes du Nouveau-Brunswick (SAANB) and the Association des juristes d'expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick (AJEFNB), which were supported by the Forum de concertation des organismes acadiens du Nouveau-Brunswick and the hospital community, the Legislative Assembly passed a new Official Languages Act, Bill 64, in June 2002. This is a significant milestone in the development of language rights in New Brunswick.

Municipalities


A number of municipalities provide services essentially in French. They are members of the Association francophone des municipalités du Nouveau-Brunswick (AFMNB). The association was founded in 1989 and currently represents 50 municipalities. Other municipalities provide services in both official languages.

Legal services


New Brunswick is able to provide services in both official languages for both criminal and civil cases and also for administrative tribunals. Francophone jurists have their own association, the Association des juristes d'expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick (AJRFNB). In addition, the Université de Moncton offers a common law program in French.