Language complaints prompt probe into Fredericton fire, police social media accounts
The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages for New Brunswick has completed an investigation into the City of Fredericton following complaints regarding English-only communication.
The investigation stems from two complaints made from members of the public. One of the complaints was related to the city’s Water and Sewer Division and the other to the Fredericton Fire Department’s social media accounts.
According to Katherine D’Entremont’s office, the investigation also extended to include the Fredericton Police Force’s social media platform.
City spokesperson Alycia Bartlett confirmed they had received an official complaint from the office.
“[T]hat complaint is still being processed along with the development of the city’s understanding of the issue and appropriate action,” she said in a statement.
The report is not being published.
But D’Entremont’s office said the investigation concludes that the city must communicate public information in both official languages.
The main recommendation of the report stated that Fredericton must be able to “produce and publish public information simultaneously in both official languages, including on social media platforms.”
The Fredericton Fire Department’s Twitter account is popular, with over 9,000 followers, and often issues tweets about public safety notices regarding motor vehicle accidents or structure fires.
While Bartlett said the Twitter accounts are not suspended, Fredericton Fire last tweeted almost two weeks ago.
Both the Fredericton Fire Department and Fredericton Police Force have French Twitter accounts. However, they are less active.
Upper Kingsclear volunteer fire department also operates a Twitter account, to inform people know about public safety notices and events.
Fire Capt. Matthew MacNeil, one of three firefighters who help run the Twitter account, says the department has never received a complaint regarding its social media.
“It has made tremendous difference for us,” he said. “The community loves it, it gets the word out there and we’ve had great feedback with it.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Laura Brown