Role of Languages Commissioner

The Languages Commissioner for Nunavut is an independent officer of the Legislative Assembly who is appointed for a four-year term.

 Under the Official Languages Act (OLA) and the Inuit Language Protection Act (ILPA), the Languages Commissioner has a mandate to protect your language rights for the Inuit (Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun), French and English language.

The Languages Commissioner acts in the role of ombudsman and monitors, advises and advocates for language rights’ protection.

The Languages Commissioner does:

  • Acts as a central agency to support the Minister of Languages;
  • Provides overall guidance to Government of Nunavut departments and public agencies in planning and managing their language obligations;
  • Develops and maintains a regulatory and policy framework for the implementation of the language legislation by departments and public agencies;
  • Promote awareness and better understanding among territorial institutions, municipalities, and public about language legislation and its implementation and,
  • Monitoes the perfoormance of government departments and public agencies.

The Languages Commissioner does not:

  • Provide funding for language projects.
  • Provide translations or interpreting. The Government of Nunavut handles these services through the Language Bureau of the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth.
 The Role of Ombudsman: The Languages Commissioner receives, investigates and reports on complaints from the public regarding violations of the language rights contained in the Official Languages Act. Although the Languages Commissioner is appointed by the Legislative Assembly, she is independent of the government.

 Monitoring: The Languages Commissioner and her staff monitor the Government of Nunavut's progress toward meeting its obligations to Nunavut's official languages under the following documents: the Official Languages Act, the Inuit Language Protection Act, the Bathurst Mandate (Pinasuaqtavut), the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, and theCanadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

 Advisory Role of the Languages Commissioner: The Office of the Languages Commissioner is the only institution in Nunavut dedicated entirely to language issues. Through on-going contacts with communities throughout the territory, research activities, and policy work, the Office is able to provide the Members of the Legislative Assembly and the GN with comprehensive recommendations on the best responses to language issues facing the territory.

 AdvocatingThe Languages Commissioner acts as a voice for Nunavut’s official language groups, and make sure that the needs, hopes and rights of these groups is understood by: 
  • Territorial institutions (government of Nunavut, its board and agencies, Nunavut courts and the Legislative Assembly);
  • Municipalities;
  • Private sector  (at a date to be decided), and
  • the public.

The Languages Commissioner is also responsible for keeping the public informed of any matters relating to language rights.