Northwest Territories Languages Commissioner
About the Member
Brenda M. Gauthier lives in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. She was born and raised in the Northwest Territories and is a member of the Deh Gáh Got’įę First Nation in Fort Providence.
Brenda has over thirty years of work experience in various positions within the Government of the Northwest Territories. A majority of her experience was working in the Corrections field of the Department of Justice. She worked as a Probation/Parole officer; and as the Warden of the Territorial Women’s Correctional Centre then at the Fort Smith Correctional Complex for a combination of thirteen years. Brenda made the transition to Yellowknife and held the positions of Associate Director of Human Resources Management, Special Advisor to the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and was also an Intergovernmental Relations Advisor for the Aboriginal Consultation and Aboriginal Relations division of the Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs. Brenda returned to Fort Smith for a transfer assignment to the Chief Operating Officer position with the NTHSSA Fort Smith Region.
In 1993, Brenda obtained a master’s degree in the Faculty of Education, specializing in Leadership Studies in addition to a bachelor’s degree of Social Work she had; both of which were obtained at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Brenda worked to advance her education while working for the Department of Justice.
Brenda Gauthier took office of the Languages Commissioner for the Northwest Territories on January 11, 2021, and was appointed on February 5, 2021, for a four year term. Brenda has relocated the Office of the Languages Commissioner from Yellowknife to Fort Smith, where she currently resides.
About the Member's Office
The Northwest Territories has eleven Official Languages including English, French and nine Aboriginal Languages. The public has certain rights with respect to those languages when it comes to:
- communicating with the Legislative Assembly
- dealing with the courts
- receiving government services
The Official Languages Act applies to all institutions of the Legislative Assembly and GNWT departments, corporations, boards and agencies. The Act does not apply to municipal governments or private industry.
The Languages Commissioner can investigate any allegation that the Official Languages Act has been violated. The Languages Commissioner can also initiate an investigation in the absence of a complaint.
Following an investigation, the Languages Commissioner can make recommendations to the Deputy Head of the department or agency in question. The Languages Commissioner can report the matter to the Legislative Assembly if a government department or agency does not respond to the recommendations, or if the Languages Commissioner feels the government department or agency has not taken adequate steps to address the issues in question.