Rescinded [2012-11-19] - Directives for Implementing the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations, 1991 - Chapter 5-2

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Directive A - Consultation of minority official language populations on the implementation of regulatory provisions concerning the principle of proportionality

References

Paragraph 32(1)(a) of the Official Languages Act and paragraphs 5(1)(b), (c), (g), (i), and (m) of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.

Application

All institutions subject to the Official Languages Act (including departments, agencies and Crown corporations, and Air Canada pursuant to section 10 of the Air Canada Public Participation Act).

1. The purpose of this directive is to ensure that the views of the local official language minority population are considered in the implementation of the provisions of the Regulations that relate to the principle of proportionality.

2. A number of the significant demand provisions in the Regulations require the application of a principle of proportionality when an institution has several offices providing the same services. These provisions apply to institutions that are located:

(a) in Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) that have an official language minority population of at least 5,000;

(b) in CMAs that have an official language minority population of less than 5,000 where institutions offer the following services: Post Office, Employment Centre, Income Security, Income Tax, Secretary of State and Public Service Commission (hereinafter referred to as key services);

(c) outside a CMA and in a census subdivision (CSD) that has an official language minority population of at least 500 which represents at least 5%, but less than 30%, of the total population;

(d) outside a CMA and in a CSD that has an official language minority population of at least 500 which represents less than 5% of the total population and where the institutions provide any of the key services as well as the services of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

3. The principle of proportionality applies in the circumstances identified in paragraph 2 above in the following manner:

  • when several offices of an institution provide the same services, the number of offices that provide services in both official languages must be at least equal to the proportion that the minority represents of the total population in the CMA or CSD in question. If the application of the principle of proportionality produces a fraction rather than a whole number, the result must be rounded off to the next higher number, irrespective of the size of the fraction.

4. Institutions that offer any of the key services in the Montréal or Toronto CMAs must provide these services in both official languages in accordance with the principle of proportionality as described in paragraph 3 above. Furthermore, once the number of offices that must provide services in both official languages is determined according to that calculation, the number must be increased by one more office per service.

5. The choice of the actual office or offices that are designated as having significant demand for services in both official languages must be made in consultation with the official language minority associations that most widely represent the minority served locally by the institution and must take into account the following factors:

(a) the distribution of the official language minority population in the CMA or CSD;

(b) the function of the offices that provide the above services, their clientele (in particular, usage patterns) and their location in the CMA or CSD (e.g. accessibility of the office).

6. For convenience, the attached Annex contains an example of the application of the principle of proportionality.

Directive B - Assessment of demand within the context of the Official Languages Regulations

References

Paragraph 32(1)(a) of the Official Languages Act and paragraphs 5(1)(d), (k), (n), (q) and (r), subsection 5(3), paragraphs 6(1)(b), (c), (d) and (e), and subsections 7(1) and 7(2) of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.

Application

All institutions subject to the Official Languages Act (including departments, agencies, Crown corporations, and Air Canada pursuant to section 10 of the Air Canada Public Participation Act).

1. This directive sets out the basic principles that institutions must follow when carrying out surveys of the language preference of the public served by their offices required to assess demand for services in either official language for the purpose of implementing the Regulations.

2. With the exception of paragraphs 6(1)(b) and (e), which come into effect on December 16, 1994, the above-noted provisions come into effect on December 16, 1993. Services must be available in either official language by these implementation dates if the assessments that are carried out show that demand for service in that language is at least 5% of the total annual demand.

3. Assessments of demand must be based on appropriate surveys of the language preference of users. These surveys must meet the following conditions:

(a) Assessment methods must be objective; sampling, collection and analysis of data must be carried out using sound methodologies.

(b) A third party must conduct the survey, i.e., an entity independent of the institution.

(c) The respondents must be given a clear explanation of the objective of the survey. They must be told that the purpose of the survey is to determine if the office or facility that is being surveyed must provide services in both official languages under the Official Languages Act.

(d) Interviewers must be bilingual and must also be sensitized to the characteristics of the socio-linguistic environment in which the survey is being carried out.

(e) Respondents must be given the choice of answering in either official language. When data are gathered through an interview, this choice should be made clear from the start.

(f) Questionnaires and interview guides must be in both official languages.

(g) The anonymity of respondents must be protected.

(h) The overall results must be available for public access.

(i) Institutions must keep on file the documents supporting the results obtained during the collection of data (description of methodology, i.e., the approach used, the sampling plan, the evaluation tools, data obtained, etc.). These supporting documents should be maintained on file until a new assessment of demand has been carried out.

4. If an institution considers it appropriate to alter any of the above conditions, it must consult the Official Languages and Employment Equity Branch (OLEEB) of the Treasury Board Secretariat.

5. Institutions must submit to OLEEB the list of their offices, and their locations, that require an assessment of demand.

6. Departments and agencies so designated under the Financial Administration Act are subject to the Treasury Board policy on the management of information held by government (Treasury Board Manual -- Information Management -- Chapter 2, Management of Government Information Holdings). Projects for assessing demand in either official language covered by the present directive are not considered to be surveys of public opinion and therefore do not require the intervention of the Public Opinion Research Group of the department of Supply and Services.

7. Departments and agencies so designated under the Financial Administration Act must nevertheless comply with the requirements of the above-mentioned policy, particularly with regard to the need to describe and register their projects in the Federal Register of Collected Information maintained by Statistics Canada and to obtain a collection registration number.

8. It should be noted that Statistics Canada is informed of the requirements involved in projects for assessing demand and institutions may avail themselves of its expertise in the field on a cost-recovery basis.

9. Before carrying out surveys for assessing demand, institutions must obtain OLEEB's comments on the methods that will be used. To this end, institutions must provide a description of these methods, sampling design and estimation methods as well as the time frames of the surveys, for all offices and facilities requiring an assessment of demand.

10. No later than the dates on which the provisions discussed in this directive come into effect, institutions will inform OLEEB of the survey results for the offices that come under these provisions. The institutions will also indicate the location of the offices that must provide their services in both official languages.

11. Every ten years following the date on which the provisions come into effect, institutions will again have to determine if the offices covered by the provisions requiring an assessment of demand in 1993 or 1994 are still required to provide their services in both official languages.

Directive C - Operational definition of the concept of restricted clientele with respect to the provisions set out under the specific circumstances for significant demand

References

Paragraph 32(1)(a) of the Official Languages Act and paragraph 6(1)(a) of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations.

Application

All institutions subject to the Official Languages Act (including departments, agencies, Crown corporations, and Air Canada pursuant to section 10 of the Air Canada Public Participation Act).

1. The purpose of this directive is to assist institutions in identifying which offices are subject to paragraph 6(1)(a) of the above-mentioned Regulations.

2. Under paragraph 6(1)(a), institutions must ensure that services that are intended specifically for a restricted and identifiable clientele are offered in English or French when, during a one-year period, demand by that clientele in that language is at least 5%.

3. Paragraph 6(1)(a) is part of the provisions set out under the specific circumstances for significant demand. These provisions take precedence over those that relate to general circumstances (section 5 of the Regulations).

4. The provisions of paragraph 6(1)(a) do not apply in the following cases:

(a) services provided by a headquarters or central office of an institution and by its offices that are located in the National Capital Region (Official Languages Act, s. 22);

(b) institutions reporting directly to Parliament (Official Languages Act, s.s. 24(2));

(c) services and offices designated under the provisions pertaining to other specific circumstances for significant demand, nature of the office, and services provided by contract to the travelling public (paragraphs 6(1)(b) to (e), 6(2)(a) to (d), and sections 7 to 12 of the Regulations).

5. The provisions on the restricted clientele apply only if the following conditions exist:

(a) the services are intended specifically for a restricted clientele

In general, the expression "restricted clientele" means the clientele of an office that has been given the mandate of providing certain services exclusively to a specific group or category of clients. The services that are covered by the restricted clientele provisions are services not available to the general public since they are intended only for clients, or their representatives, that make up a specific group that is defined in a statutory document or a government policy. This would be the case, for example, with businesses or entities carrying out activities in a regulated sector that are registered or that must secure a licence in accordance with federal legislation.

The institution must be able to show that the services in question are intended for a stable clientele, whose composition can be clearly specified. As a general rule, the clientele of an office cannot be considered a restricted clientele if the number of clients to whom an institution provides the type of services described above corresponds to more than 1% of the total population of Canada as defined in subsection 4(2) of the Official Languages Regulations.

(b) the clientele is identifiable

For the purposes of these provisions, the term "identifiable" means that it is possible to determine both the name of each client and the official language in which the client wishes to receive services. This information must be obtained using the method described in paragraph 7 below.

6. To apply the provisions on restricted clientele, institutions must establish a list of their clients and their language preferences.

7. Institutions will, therefore, have to take a census of the clientele of those offices that are subject to the provisions regarding a restricted clientele in order to determine the official language in which clients wish to receive their services. To this end, institutions must:

(a) obtain the required information from each client using appropriate data collection techniques. In addition, when choosing the mode of communication to be used for this purpose, consideration should be given to how the office normally contacts its clientele (e.g., by mail, by telephone or in person);

(b) ensure that the data collected from its clients is collected by someone other than the person who provides the service to these clients directly;

(c) clearly explain the purpose of the census to its clients. Respondents must be told that the purpose of the census is to determine whether, under the terms of the Act, the office in question must offer its services in both official languages;

(d) ensure that its clients may respond in the official language of their choice. To this end, questionnaires and interview guides must be in both official languages. All interviewers must be bilingual when the census is conducted by telephone or in person;

(e) make public, on request, the overall results in a manner that protects the anonymity of its clients.

8. If an institution considers it appropriate to alter the procedure set out in paragraph 7, it must first consult the Official Languages and Employment Equity Branch (OLEEB) of the Treasury Board Secretariat.

9. Institutions must keep on file the various documents that are relevant to the census of clients carried out by a given office (description of the methodology, raw data, analytical documents). These supporting documents should be maintained on file until such time as another review of language preferences of the clientele is carried out.

10. Before beginning the data collection process, institutions must transmit to OLEEB a list of the offices that are subject to the restricted clientele provisions, and their locations.

11. The provisions on the restricted clientele take effect on December 16, 1993. By that date, institutions must have provided OLEEB with the overall results of the language preference census for each office subject to these provisions. They must also provide the location of those offices that are required to provide services in both official languages.

12. Every ten years, institutions will need to ascertain anew whether the offices that were subject to the restricted clientele provisions in 1993 are still required to provide their services in both official languages.


Annex to Directive A - Example of the Application of the Principle of Proportionality

We will use the census metropolitan area of Sudbury as an example:

Total population: 147,655
Minority population: 41,850
Percentage: 28.3

Almost 90% of the French-speaking population of the Sudbury CMA is found in three of the seven localities that make up the CMA: 48% of the French-speaking population lives in the city of Sudbury proper, 22% in Valley East and 20% in Rayside-Balfour.

Under the principle of proportionality, if 10 of the offices of a given institution offer the same services, the number of these offices that have to provide their services in both official languages should be calculated as follows: 10 x 28.3% = 2.8 or 3 offices. When the application of proportionality results in a fraction (e.g., 2.8) rather than a whole number, the figure has to be rounded to the next higher whole number. This is because the regulatory provision requires that, in comparison to the total number of the institution's offices in the area, the number of offices offering their services in both official languages must be at least equal to the proportion of the total population that the minority represents. (If the result had been 2.5 or 2.3 out of 10, the number of offices would likewise be three.)

Since a large number of the members of the minority population live outside the city of Sudbury proper, it would be inappropriate to designate three offices in Sudbury as the ones required to serve the public in both official languages.

Thus, it would perhaps be more appropriate to provide services in both official languages at two offices in Sudbury and one in either Rayside-Balfour or Valley East, or to offer services in both official languages at one office in each of the three localities mentioned.

The final decision will also have to take into account the function of the office and results of the consultation with the minority population.

Note: The minority population is established in accordance with Method I from: Population Estimates by First Official Language Spoken, September 1989, Statistics Canada. Source: 1986 Census

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