Frequently Asked Questions

Does it cost money to file a complaint?

No, however, you are expected to participate in, and cooperate with, the process.

What Kinds of complaints can’t the Languages Commissioner investigate?

The Official Languages Act does not apply to municipal or community governments, private businesses, or other private institutions. As such, the Languages commissioner cannot investigate complaints against these agencies.

Some types of complaints that cannot be investigated:

  • Complaints against private companies or individuals
  • Complaints regarding federal programs
  • Complaints against municipalities
  • Complaints regarding native bands
  • Complaints regarding unions

When should I bring a complaint to the Languages Commissioner?

If you believe that your rights under the Official Languages Act have been violated, then you have the right to bring a complaint to the Languages Commissioner. However, it is usually best to think of the Languages Commissioner as a last resort – someone who will help you when other approaches have failed.

If you have a problem, first discuss it with the person or office involved. Many times they will deal with the matter on the spot, and sometimes they can correct a problem immediately. In fact, government staff can often solve problems quicker and more easily than the Languages Commissioner.

When trying to solve a problem on you own, consider the following:

  • Be prepared. Write down your concerns, and have all the information you need to discuss the issues
  • Do not be bashful about writing and calling government offices
  • Be pleasant. Government workers do not like rudeness any more than you do
  • Keep good records and take notes. Ask for the names of any employees you talk to, and save all your notes
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions

If you have made reasonable efforts to resolve your problem and still have not had any success, then you should contact the Languages Commissioner. If you decide to contact the Languages Commissioner, be prepared to give details of your compliant:

  • Start at the beginning. How and why do you think your rights were violated under the Official Languages Act? When did it happen? What happened: Include all dates, names and places
  • Give details. What did people say or do that you believe violated your rights under the Act? What did you say or do to respond? Use quotation marks to show when the words are “exactly what the person said”
  • Include copies of all documents that are related to your complaint, including letters and emails

Should you feel that your rights set out in the NWT Official Languages Act have been violated, we encourage you to file a complaint with our office. Print and fill out the complaint form, located on our website, detailing the nature of your compliant, including the desired outcome or result of your complaint, and we will begin an investigation process on your behalf.

Send the completed complaint form to:

Office of the Languages Commissioner
Independent Statutory Offices
PO BOX 382
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2N3

Phone: 1-800-661-0889
Fax: 1-867-920-2511