Section Nineteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Section Nineteen of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is one of the provisions of the Charter that addresses rights relating to Canada's two official languages, English and French. Like section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867, section 19 allows anyone to speak English or French in federal courts. However, only section 133 extends these rights to Quebec courts, while section 19 extends these rights to courts in New Brunswick. New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province under section 16 of the Charter.
Section 19 reads,
Section 19 is based on rights in section 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Section 133 provides that "either of those Languages may be used by any Person or in any Pleading or Process in or issuing from any Court of Canada established under this Act, and in or from all or any of the Courts of Quebec." However, unlike section 133, section 19(2) extends these rights to courts in New Brunswick. This was not entirely new, as section 13(1) of the Official Languages of New Brunswick Act (1973) provided for statutory language rights in New Brunswick courts. Still, the wording of section 19(2) follows section 133 more closely than section 13(1). In the 1986 Supreme Court case Société des Acadiens v. Association of Parents, Justice Jean Beetz found this to be significant. Since section 133 rights are limited, constitutional language rights in New Brunswick courts are more limited than rights under section... Read More