Committee Responses 12 Through 18
Management and administration of the Francophone Affairs Secretariat and what is now called the Indigenous Languages and Education Secretariat falls squarely within the mandate of the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, as does the responsibility for intergovernmental relationships with offices in other jurisdictions having responsibility for language rights and services, including those at the community level.
The department is also directly responsible for ensuring the commitments made in its strategic planning documents are met. Committee expects that any decisions having to do with the Aurora College curriculum would have to be made within the context of the college's transition to a polytechnic institution. Any decision to reopen the languages bureau could be proposed by the Minister and resourced by the Legislative Assembly during the business planning process.
The standing committee encourages the Languages Commissioner to raise any concerns or suggestions for improvement related to program delivery and intergovernmental work on language matters directly with the Minister. Committee further encourages the Languages Commissioner to keep committee apprised of this dialogue in order to ensure that committee is aware of any progress made or lessons learned that may inform the upcoming review of the Official Languages Act.
During the 18th Legislative Assembly the Government of the Northwest Territories brought forward bills making important, substantive changes to both the Human Rights Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Both of these acts provide for statutory officers reporting to the Legislative Assembly; namely, the Human Rights Commission and the Information and Privacy Commissioner respectively. While the committee is pleased that this work that has been done, committee acknowledges that it has, in some respects, diverted attention from committee's oversight role with respect to the Official Languages Act, which resulted in the delayed delivery of this report.
Committee notes that upcoming review of the Official Languages Act, which must be undertaken early in the term of the 19th Legislative Assembly, will ensure that this important statute also gets the attention it deserves.
Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank Commissioner Gullberg for her thoughtful reports and her appearances before the committee and for her commitment to the use and preservation of all of the Northwest Territories' official languages.