Language Rights

 Your Language Rights in Nunavut

 The Official Languages Act makes the Inuit, English and French languages, the official languages of Nunavut. The Inuit Language Protection Act seeks to protect and revitalize the Inuit language.

Overview of language rights

  • Starting in September, 2009, parents have the right to have their children from kindergarten to grade three receive instruction in the Inuit language.  Instruction for all other grades must be in place by 2019.
  • Every territorial institution’s head and central office, including that of its boards and agencies, such as Nunavut Housing and Qulliq Energy, must have its services available to the public in all the official languages.  
  • In 2011, employees of the Government of Nunavut can choose to work in the Inuit language.
  • By 2012, municipalities must offer services in any official language where there is a significant demand for it.
  • After consultation, and on a date decided by Cabinet, the private sector must provide services in the Inuit language.
  • Services in the Inuit language for early childhood and adult education will start on a date the Cabinet decides. Meanwhile, the GN must:
    • Develop and provide licensing standards for daycares
    • Provide educator training and early childhood education materials
    • Develop and provide adult Inuit language training programs

Concerns over language rights

As a member of the public you can report a concern, either on your own behalf or on behalf of another individual, group or community if:

  • You were not able to obtain services in the official language of choice.
  • You believe that decisions made by a territorial institution will have a negative impact on the vitality of an official language community.
  • You believe that the equal status of any of the three official languages is not being respected.
  • You believe there is non compliance with one of the sections of ILPA or OLA.

The Office of the Languages Commissioner can only safeguard language rights when people communicate their concerns.