ARCHIVED - Moncton, June 14, 2006

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Federal Public Servants in New Brunswick Still Work Mainly in English

Today, the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, Dr. Dyane Adam, released a study entitled Towards Real Equality of Official Languages: Language of Work Within Federal Institutions of New Brunswick, the third in a series of studies on the use of both official languages in designated bilingual regions.

“In New Brunswick, some positive changes have begun to occur, but we are still far from the finish line. Efforts need to continue in order to preserve what has been accomplished and to make further progress,” said Dr. Adam.

The study showed that a climate of tolerance and respect prevails in federal workplaces in New Brunswick. The Commissioner noted, however, that “the lack of leadership from regional administrators in certain departments is slowing down the momentum and enthusiasm of public service employees for exploring learning opportunities and using their second language on a regular basis. Managers need to increase their efforts to ensure that employees can continue making progress throughout their career.” She also notes that central services being provided from offices located in Halifax, which is in a unilingual English region, are a matter of concern.

The report makes 11 recommendations for the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada, the Canada School of Public Service and the Treasury Board Secretariat. These recommendations concern three areas of strategic intervention: leadership, language training, and the development of a corporate culture that is conducive to full respect of language rights.

The Commissioner reminded everyone that federal institutions need to embody linguistic duality, just as they embody other public service values. Compliance with the Official Languages Act requires an integrated approach that includes service to the public, language of work, and promotion of linguistic duality. Dr. Adam added: “Executives and supervisors play a key role in establishing a workplace that respects language rights. We should increase the amount of language training available to federal employees immediately, particularly to foster retention of employees’ second language skills.”

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For more information, please contact:

Robin Cantin
Manager, Public Affairs           
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Telephone: 613-995-0374
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368