This month, we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Article 16.1 in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This article recognizes the equality of the two official linguistic communities in New Brunswick – francophone and anglophone.
This principle, which was adopted by provincial law in 1983, has since become an important part of our constitutional fabric.
This was a big step forward because article 16.1 of the Charter recognized Francophones’ right to have their own educational and cultural institutions, which are key to ensuring the protection and promotion of the French language. It also meant increased access to government services for francophones, as well as improved delivery of those services.
We invite all Canadians to celebrate this historic recognition that allows francophone communities in New Brunswick, the only bilingual province in Canada, to ensure their continued development.
There is still a great deal to be done to ensure the vitality and development of francophone minority communities in Canada. We are all responsible for ensuring the growth of our official languages.