New Complaints Officer
Julie Gilman is the new Complaints Officer under Prince Edward Island’s French Language Services Act. Ms. Gilman is no stranger to provincial government services and operations. She has worked for some twenty years in the provincial government, notably with the Department of Health, the Acadian Museum of PEI, and the Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat (of which she was Director).
As Complaints Officer for the French Language Services Act, Ms. Gilman investigates complaints filed under the Act at the second level of the complaints mechanism. This means that any complaint filed is first reviewed by the French language Services Coordinator of the Department involved, and that Ms. Gilman only becomes involved if a) the Coordinator does not dismiss or resolve the complaint and refers it to her, or b) the Coordinator dismisses the complaint and the complainant requests that the Complaints Officer review the dismissal.
“I have worked for French language services for many years and believe that the Act and the complaint process have a solid foundation. The implementation of the Act and the Complaints Officer can make a big difference for Islanders who want French language services from their government.”
Ms. Gilman hasn’t had to look at a complaint yet, but she thinks it will be interesting to apply the Act’s complaint mechanism to clarify the delivery of French language services. “It’s a challenge to be able to serve the community and the government well by giving reasonable advice that complies with the Act.”
Ms. Gilman worked with the previous French Language Services Act, and believes that the previous version was more difficult to apply to ensure the delivery of French language services to Islanders.
“As there was no defined complaint management process, responses and actions varied from one department to another. With today’s legislation, anyone filing a complaint knows that the department and the government will deal with the complaint according to the process set out in the Act. If the delivery of a service does not comply with the Act, the Act obliges the government to take the necessary steps to correct the situation,” she points out.
Ms. Gilman hopes to see the addition of designated services and a reduction in the number of complaints during her five-year term.