The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has released its What We Heard Report on proposed amendments to the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act.
The department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) invited Indigenous Governments, Francophone organizations, Language Board representatives and the public to provide their feedback on the proposed amendments. These amendments seek to better reflect the intended function of the NWT Languages Commissioner and the Language Boards, ensure that the Act is protecting the NWT Official Languages rights in NWT communities, and emphasize the importance of language protection as a means of implementing the articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The What We Heard Report includes a summary of feedback from engagement that took place in May-June 2022. Stakeholders were encouraged to review a plain language summary document and provide feedback in writing, by phone, or through one-on-one meetings with ECE.
Input from the engagement will inform the development of a legislative proposal, with the intention of making amendments to the Act in the life of the 19th Legislative Assembly.
“The GNWT recognizes that language contributes to a strong sense of identity and pride for Northerners. I would like to thank all those who took the time to share their perspectives on proposed amendments to the Northwest Territories Official Languages Act. Feedback will help to improve the functioning of the Act while allowing further evolution of official language policy through revisions of regulations, guidelines, and service standards.”
- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment
- The proposed amendments are envisioned to better reflect the intended function of the NWT Languages Commissioner and the Language Boards, ensure that the Act is protecting the NWT Official Languages rights in communities in the NWT, and emphasize the importance of language protection as a means of implementing the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- In 2020, the Standing Committee on Government Operations began a review of the Official Languages Act. As part of this review, the Committee reviewed the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 Annual Reports of the Languages Commissioner and held public meetings in June 2021 and January 2022.
- ECE reviewed the recommendations made by the Committee, Languages Commissioner, Language Boards and stakeholders in advancing the proposed amendments.
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Government of the Northwest Territories