What is the Official Languages Act?
The Official Languages Act recognizes eleven Official Languages in the Northwest Territories, and provides that the public has certain rights with respect to using those languages:
1. Dealing with the Legislative Assembly
Any Official Language can be used in the Legislative Assembly.
Acts and records of the Legislative Assembly must be published in English and French, and the Commissioner of the Northwest Territories can order translations in other languages.
Any sound recordings of the public debates of the Legislative Assembly shall be made available upon reasonable request.
All official legal notices must be in English and French, and regulations may state that they be made available in other Official Languages.
2. Dealing with the Courts
English or French can be used by any person in a court established by the Legislative Assembly (i.e. Territorial Court or Justice of the Peace Court), and in any written documents filed with or issued by such a court.
Any Official Language can be used by any person in proceedings in a court established by the Legislative Assembly (i.e. Territorial Court or Justice of the Peace Court).
Interpretation services can be made available to the public in certain circumstances.
Orders and judgements of a court are available in various Official Languages in certain circumstances.
3. Communicating with the GNWT, its boards and agencies
The public has the right to use English and French in any head or central office of the government. The public also has the right to communicate in English or French in any other government office where:
There is a significant demand in that office for service in that language (i.e. many requests for services in French)
Due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable to provide services in that language (i.e. health board dealing with an ill patient who speaks French)
The public has the right to communicate and receive services from any regional, area of community office of the government in any Official Language spoken in the area, other than English and French, where:
There is a significant demand in that office for service in that language (i.e. many requests for services in Dogrib in a Dogrib language area)
Due to the nature of the office, it is reasonable to provide service in that language (i.e. a health board dealing with an ill patient who speaks Dogrib)
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