Twitter Facebook Vimeo

Helping New Brunswickers Know the Law

Law By Topic

You and Your Rights


Official Languages and Insurance in New Brunswick

Do consumers in New Brunswick have the right to get any form or document relating to a contract of insurance in either official language?

Yes. New Brunswick's Insurance Act has an official languages section. By law, all insurers in New Brunswick must provide or make available forms and documents relating to insurance contracts in both official languages upon request. These documents would include, application forms, policy forms, claim forms, endorsements, renewal notices and cancellation or termination forms.

Does this right apply only to the applicant?

No, the right to ask for these documents in either official language also applies to the policy holder, the insured, the beneficiary or the claimant regardless of the language in which the policy was issued.

Must the English and French versions appear together on the same document?

No. Insurance companies operating in New Brunswick are not required to use English and French on the same document. Insurers can decide whether to issue their forms in English, French or bilingual formats. The exception is the standard automobile policy (S.P.F. No. 1, Owner's Form) which must be issued in a bilingual format. However, a contract written in either official language has independent status under New Brunswick law. It does not rely on the other language version for interpretation.

Do insurance companies in New Brunswick have to offer all their services in both official languages?

No. The language in which an insurance company operates is a business decision. The language requirement of the Insurance Act only applies to the forms and documents used by the insurance company. These documents must be made available in the official language requested, even if the insurer provides service in only one language.

What if I get a document that is not in the official language of my choice?

Contact your insurance representative and ask to have the document in the official language of your choice.

Who is responsible for the cost of translating these documents?

The insurance company is responsible.

If the insurance company hires a lawyer on my behalf, can I chose the official language the lawyer must use?

Yes. Before your insurance company hires a lawyer on your behalf, it must ask you which official language you want the lawyer to use. The company must hire a lawyer who uses that language.

If I have an official language complaint against an insurance company what can I do?

It is an offence for your insurance company not to meet its obligations under the official languages section of the Insurance Act. You can lodge a complaint with the

Superintendent of Insurance,
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, NB
E3B 5H1
(tel: 453-2512).

The Superintendent will investigate your complaint. The insurance company will have to provide evidence that it complied with the Act.

Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB) is a non-profit organization. Its goal is to provide New Brunswickers with information on the law.

PLEIS-NB receives funding and in-kind support from the Department of Justice Canada, the New Brunswick Law Foundation, and the Department of Justice of New Brunswick.

PLEIS-NB developed this pamphlet in cooperation with the Insurance Branch, Department of Justice and with the assistance of l'Association des juristes d'expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick (40, Chemin Masters, Moncton, N.-B. E1A 4S1: tél 853-4151).

This pamphlet does not contain a complete statement of the law in this area and laws may change from time to time. Anybody requiring specific legal advice on his or her own situation should contact a lawyer.

Published by:
P.O. Box 6000 Fredericton, N.B.
Tel: (506) 453-5369
Fax: (506) 462-5193
June 2004
ISBN: 1-55137-238-X


Back to You and Your Rights


Disclaimer: Please note that our website contains general information about the law. This is not a complete statement of the law on particular topics. We try to update our publications often, but laws change frequently so it is important for you to check to make sure the information is up to date.  The information in our publications is not a substitute for legal advice. To receive legal advice about your specific situation, you need to speak to a lawyer.