Brenda Gauthier has been appointed as the NWT’s new languages commissioner, the territorial government announced in a news release on Dec. 14.

Legislative assembly Speaker Frederick Blake Jr. appointed Gauthier on Dec. 11, with the recommendation of the Board of Management.

Gauthier will take office on Jan. 11, taking over the role after the term of former commissioner Shannon Gullberg ended in October.

The new Office of the Official Languages Commissioner will be relocated from Yellowknife to Fort Smith when Brenda Gauthier, the newly-appointed commissioner, takes over the role in January.
Blair McBride/NNSL photo

The new commissioner will relocate the Office of the Official Languages Commissioner from Yellowknife to her home community of Fort Smith.

“Gauthier brings over 20 years of management experience to the office in the fields of justice and intergovernmental relations,” the news release stated. “With strategic leadership a unifying thread throughout her career, she plans to engage and collaborate with Indigenous governments, stakeholders and residents on promoting awareness of the Official Languages Act and the services her office will provide to the residents of the NWT.”

The commissioner is legislated by the Official Languages Act, a role that includes ensuring recognition of the rights, status and privileges of each of the NWT’s 11 official languages and to investigate claims of non-compliance of those rights and privileges.

The commissioner position was created in 1990 and the first appointment came in 1991. Commissioners are appointed for four-year terms and the independent officer’s role is accountable to the legislative assembly.

Requests and complaints may continue to be sent by email to and will be passed on to Gauthier when she takes office in January.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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