YELLOWKNIFE (Thursday, May 26, 2022) – Today, the Standing Committee on Government Operations released its Report on the Review of the Languages Commissioner for the Northwest Territories Annual Report 2020-2021.
The Standing Committee on Government Operations, chaired by Rylund Johnson, is comprised of four Regular Members who look into business touching on government operational matters like public accounts, Official Language issues and departmental performance.
The Committee is responsible for reviewing the annual reports of the Legislative Assembly statutory officers; this includes the Languages Commissioner. The Committee has also been working on a concurrent statutory review of the Official Languages Act. As such, Official Languages and the Languages Commissioner have been under consideration for over a year by the Committee.
The Report highlights important points made by the Languages Commissioner Brenda Gauthier about the role of the Languages Commissioner—many of which are echoes of statements that can be found in past Languages Commissioner reports.
The Committee’s report makes three recommendations to strengthen the role of the Languages Commissioner, and are directed to the Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Education, Culture and Employment (the Department):
The Committee recommends that the Department clarify the role of the Languages Commissioner, specifically regarding how the Languages Commissioner may bring forward concerns and recommendations to the Minister Responsible for Official Languages
The Committee recommends that the Department strengthen the Languages Commissioner’s ability to get requested information from public bodies, including time-bound requirements to respond to requests
The Committee recommends that the Department impose time-bound requirements on public bodies to respond to recommendations from the Languages Commissioner.
The Government of the Northwest Territories has 120 days to respond to the Committee’s report.