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Official Languages within Federal Departments and Agencies - Official Languages: An Integral Part of Decision Making - Implementation Guide


Official Languages:   An Integral Part of Decision Making

Implementation Guide


Official Languages:   An Integral Part of Decision Making

My mandate:
To make official languages an integral part of decision making.


We must not see ourselves as a small country of 30 million people, floundering in a large land mass.  We are among the healthiest, best-educated people in the world, with great natural riches.  We have two of the world's great languages.

Her Excellency the Right Honourable
Adrienne Clarkson
Governor General of Canada

Extract from her installation speech,
Thursday, October 7, 1999


Foreword

As a champion of official languages, you are called on to provide leadership, particularly among members of your institution's executive committee, to ensure that decisions take into account official languages obligations.

This guide has been prepared for you in particular, but the personnel of your institution can also use it. It describes some strategic activities designed to promote integration of official languages in all decisions concerning your institution's functional and statutory activities in headquarters and the regions.

As you know, the Official Languages Act contains specific provisions for federal institutions governing service to the public, language of work, equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians and support for the development of the official language minority communities. The visible and sustained commitment of all levels of management in the organization is essential to successful implementation of Canadian policy on official languages. That is why it is important for you, as an official languages champion, to disseminate and promote widely the activities described in this guide.

Thank you for agreeing to take on this important responsibility for your organization. I hope you will find this guide helpful in implementing Treasury Board's decision on the importance of optimizing the aspects of official languages in all your institution's activities.

V. Peter Harder

Secretary of the Treasury Board and Comptroller General of Canada


Introduction

On March 19, 1998, Treasury Board Ministers approved a policy stipulating that each of the federal institutions for which the Board acts as employer, appoint an official languages champion. This person's task would be to enhance the visibility of official languages in his or her institution with regard to service to the public, language of work, participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians, and support for the development of official language minority communities (Anglophone in Quebec and Francophone outside Quebec).

In 1999, two reports were tabled: No Turning Back: Official Languages in the Face of Government Transformations, by the Task Force on Government Transformations and Official Languages; and Official Language Minority Communities: Promoting Government Objectives, by consultant Donald Lavoie.

The Treasury Board decision of March 1998 and the above reports enjoin federal departments and agencies, as well as Crown corporations and other institutions subject to the Official Languages Act (the OLA or the Act), to take the necessary steps to enhance the visibility of official languages within their organizations. The appointment of official languages champions supports that objective.

A task force under the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages was set up to develop a guide for official languages champions. This guide can be used by all personnel in their institutions to promote the integration of official languages in the decisions related to the functional and statutory activities of federal departments and agencies.

The guide suggests 36 strategic activities, grouped around the following four themes: promotion of official languages, info-training for executives and personnel, optimization of official languages, and management of official languages. So that readers can obtain further information, each activity is followed by a number and an abbreviation corresponding to the name of the institution and a resource person, as applicable. The list of resource persons is in Appendix I. Appendix II contains the official languages champion's checklist, with ten significant results taken from the 36 strategic activities, to guide the action of the official languages champions. Appendix III lists the Task Force members who participated in the preparation of this guide.


Proposed Strategic Activities

  1. Promotion of official languages
  2. Info-training for executives and personnel
  3. Optimization of official languages
  4. Management of official language

Promotion of official languages

  • Include, in the institution's vision statement, a commitment to Canada's linguistic duality as a fundamental value of our society. (cf. 13 - TBD)
  • Ensure that the deputy head promotes this vision in his/her speeches and messages to staff and the public. (cf. 13 - TBD)
  • Use both official languages in executive committee communications, and in all meetings involving participants of both official language groups (under the OLA and its Regulations). (cf. 6 - NAR, 8 - PEN and 10 - REH)
  • Ensure that members of the executive committee, as well as the managers of all sectors concerned, support the effective integration of official languages considerations into their operational and statutory activities. (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Establish an institutional official languages merit award program. (cf. 3 - DUS)
  • Promote the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Official Languages Award of Distinction by encouraging employee nominations. (cf. 14 - TBD)
  • Take advantage of special events, such as the Year of the Francophonie, the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, the Games of La Francophonie and the Commonwealth Games to organize activities that encourage employee participation and stress the importance of both official languages. (cf. 3 - DUS, 6 - NAR, 10 - REH, 11 - STC and 12 - SVC)
  • Report regularly to the executive committee on the institution's official languages performance (service to the public, language of work, equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians, and support for the development of official language minority communities). (cf. 3 - DUS, 8 - PEN and 10 - REH)
  • Regularly brief the deputy head informing him/her of the institution's official languages activities (service to the public, language of work, equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians, and support for the development of official language minority communities). (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Post your institution's official languages annual report on the Intranet. (cf. 3 - DUS and 8 - PEN)

Info-training for executives and personnel

  • Provide training modules to respond to specific needs of the institution's staff (executives, managers, employees) particularly regarding:
  • the institution's obligations to serve the public in both official languages (where required under the OLA or its Regulations) - publish the list of offices obligated to do so;
  • managerial obligations and employee rights concerning language of work (where applicable);
  • institutional objectives concerning the participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians; and
  • developmental needs of official language minority communities (Anglophone in Quebec and Francophone outside Quebec), by identifying institutional objectives and activities that will respond to those needs, based on the institution's mandate. (cf. 4 - DVA, 6 - NAR, 9 - PSC, 10 - REH and 14 - TBD)
  • Present major OLA components in orientation sessions for new employees, in one-on-one meetings with new recruits, in internal training activities for executives, managers and employees and in all other forums, where appropriate. (cf. 3 - DUS, 4 - DVA and 6 - NAR)
  • Take advantage of existing means (bulletins, news flashes, employee newsletters, the Intranet site) to promote official languages regarding:
  • the obligation to serve the public in both official languages in designated bilingual offices (including promotional tools, flyers, the Internet, information booths, service to the travelling public, service provided by third parties, public events of national and international scope, and services related to health, safety and security);
  • language rights of employees in designated bilingual regions as well as the related requirements of managers; and
  • support for the development of official language minority communities. (cf. 2 - DOE, 3 - DUS, 6 - NAR, 8 - PEN and 12 - SVC
  • Produce, adapt and disseminate documents on language of work (managers' obligations, employees' rights, and creation of an environment conducive to the effective use of both official languages) and on service to the public (active offer and service delivery). (cf. 1 - COL, 3 - DUS, 11 - STC and 14 - TBD)
  • Introduce activities to maintain or develop the second language (for employees who have already obtained a given language level) and language training activities (for employees who wish to learn the other official language, even though they are not in bilingual positions). (cf. 3 - DUS, 6 - NAR and 12 - SVC)

Optimization of official languages

  • Introduce a mechanism to ensure memoranda to Cabinet and submissions to the Treasury Board are systematically analysed to optimize their effects on institutional bilingualism (service to the public, language of work and participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians), and on support for the development of official language minority communities. (cf. 14 - TBD)
  • Introduce a mechanism to ensure institutional initiatives (alternative service delivery, government transformations, partnerships and federal-provincial agreements) are systematically analysed to optimize their effects on institutional bilingualism (service to the public, language of work and participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians), and on support for the development of official language minority communities. (cf. 6 - NAR and 14 - TBD)
  • Ensure that the institution's strategic planning processes take into consideration all aspects of official languages. (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Encourage official language minority communities to access a high-level official with whom they can discuss institutional official languages activities, in accordance with the Treasury Board decision of March 19, 1998. (cf. 3 - DUS and 10 - REH)
  • Encourage consultation with official language minority communities, in terms of service quality and development support, to optimize the impact of decisions on them, relating to research, policies, programs, services (including alternative service delivery) and initiatives (including government transformations, partnerships and federal-provincial agreements).
  • Ensure institutional quality of service standards to the public or staff, where applicable, promote the commitment to quality service in both official languages as a fundamental value of the federal government and a best practice for human resources and business management.
  • Include an official languages component in all internal audits and program evaluations. (cf. 4 - DVA, 6 - NAR and 8 - PEN)
  • Ensure the institution's statutory policies, where applicable, consider official languages in service to the public, language of work, participation of Canada's Anglophones and Francophones, and support for development of official language minority communities.
  • Incorporate data requirements related to the support for development of official language minority communities into research plans, as applicable.
  • Ensure compliance with Treasury Board policy on grants and contributions to voluntary non-governmental organizations serving members of both official language communities. (cf. 5 - IMC)

Management of official languages

  • Prepare an official languages plan on the obligations concerning service to the public, the language of work and participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians. (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Prepare a progress report by sector, where applicable, on the degree to which official languages objectives have been met, and, where necessary, prepare a plan to remedy any discrepancies in performance as identified in progress reports, internal and external audits, studies by the Commissioner of Official languages, or others. (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Prepare an action plan and report on achievements in implementing Section 41 of the Act for institutions as designated in the government's August 1994 accountability framework. (cf. 7 - PCH)
  • Ensure the institution has an organizational structure, including human resources and operating budgets, sufficient to effectively manage official languages at national and regional levels. (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Set up an intra-institutional network or committee (between headquarters and regions) to ensure that the official languages objectives are being met. (cf. 3 - DUS, 6 - NAR, 8 - PEN, 10 - REH and 12 - SVC)
  • See that the institution's human resources planning, including La Relève and staff mobility, covers present and future needs of bilingual employees at all levels, in all categories, in all sectors and in all designated bilingual offices, at headquarters and in the regions. (cf. 4 - DVA and 6 - NAR)
  • Provide follow-up for executive language training plans to comply with the Policy Concerning the Language Requirements for Members of the Executive Group (CBC for EX).
  • Where needed to facilitate their implementation, publish guidelines outlining Treasury Board policies on service to the public and language of work. (cf. 6 - NAR and 8 - PEN)
  • Ensure that resources and tools are available in English and French, to deliver service to the public in both official languages in all offices obliged to do so under the OLA and its Regulations. (cf. 6 - NAR)
  • Ensure the work environment is conducive to an effective use of both official languages. Therefore, supervision, training and development, personnel and central services, meetings and work instruments, including computerized tools, are available in English and French in offices situated in bilingually designated regions (OLA Part V - Language of Work). (cf. 11 - STC)
  • In compliance with Treasury Board policy on the administration of the Official Languages Program, and where applicable, include in the managers' performance appraisals a section on their contribution to the implementation of policies on service to the public, language of work and equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians. (cf. 6 - NAR)

Conclusion

The 36 activities proposed in this guide are designed to help the official languages champion and personnel in his or her institution, make official languages an integral part of all decisions relating to functional and statutory activities in the organization. In fact, these proposed activities are key to the institution attaining full integration of official languages in its operations.

The Task Force is convinced that by using all the organization's resources, the official languages champion will be able to raise his or her institution's consciousness on the importance of respect for the rights and obligations under the Act, and the realities and aspirations of official language minority communities.


Appendix I - List of Resource Persons

1- (COL) Commissioner of Official Languages
Lyne Ducharme
Tel.: (613) 995-0363
Fax: (613) 943-2255
E-mail: lyne.ducharme@ocol-clo.gc.ca

2- (DOE) Environment Canada
Roch Davidson
Tel.: (819) 994-7667
Fax: (819) 953-2300
E-mail: roch.davidson@ec.gc.ca

3- (DUS) Industry Canada
Diane Morneau
Tel.: (613) 954-3697
Fax: (613) 941-0778
E-mail: morneau.diane@ic.gc.ca

4- (DVA) Veterans Affairs Canada
Susan LeMaistre
Tel.: (902) 566-8770
Fax: (902) 566-8781
E-mail: sjlemais@vac-acc.gc.ca

5- (IMC) Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Lucie St-Jean
Tel.: (613) 941-7740
Fax: (613) 941-7780
E-mail: lucie.st-jean@8127vht.cina.cic.x400.gc.ca

6- (NAR) Canada Customs and Revenue Agency
Suzanne Routhier
Tel.: (613) 954-8220
Fax: (613) 954-8263
E-mail: suzanne.routhier@ms-rc.gc.ca

7- (PCH) Canadian Heritage
Pierre Goulet
Tel.: (819) 997-7584
Fax: (819) 953-3942
E-mail: pierre_goulet@pch.gc.ca

8- (PEN) Correctional Service Canada
Monique Parker
Tel.: (613) 992-7634
Fax: (613) 943-2062
E-mail: parketml@csc-scc.gc.ca

9- (PSC) Public Service Commission of Canada
Luc Whissel
Tel.: (819) 953-5400
Fax: (819) 953-7593
E-mail: luc.whissel@psc-cfp.gc.ca

10- (REH) Human Resources Development Canada
Michelle Hamelin
Tel.: (819) 997-5771
Fax: (819) 997-9399
E-mail: michelle.hamelin@hrdc-drhc.gc.ca

11- (STC) Statistics Canada
Lisette Perreault
Tel.: (613) 951-9651
Fax: (613) 951-6241
E-mail: perrlis@statcan.ca

12- (SVC) Public Works and Government Services Canada
Francine Bastien
Tel.: (819) 956-4391
Fax: (819) 956-4412
E-mail: francine.bastien@pwgsc.gc.ca

13- (TBD) Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Marcel Pilon
Tel.: (613) 992-8109
Fax: (613) 943-2899
E-mail: pilon.marcel@tbs-sct.gc.ca

14- (TBD) Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Bernadette Larrue
Tel.: (613) 952-2866
Fax: (613) 952-3231
E-mail: larrue.bernadette@tbs-sct.gc.ca


Appendix II - Official Languages Champion's Checklist

As a result of my efforts and actions, particularly with executive committee members, have the following results been obtained?

Yes

No

1) Does the executive committee promote the language rights of the public and the employees?

__ __
2) Does the executive committee set an example by holding its meetings in both official languages? __ __
3) Do executive committee members and all sectors ensure that quality services (under the OLA and its Regulations) are provided to the public in both official languages? __ __
4) Are executive committee members and all sectors promoting a work environment conducive to the effective use of both official languages (under the OLA and related Treasury Board policy)? __ __
5) Is documentation regularly disseminated to executives, managers and employees to inform them about the Official Languages Program (activities, language rights and obligations)? __ __
6) Are mechanisms in place for consultation with official language minority communities to optimize the impact of the institution's decisions on them, in terms of service quality and development support? __ __
7) Are mechanisms in place to ensure that official languages are taken into account:  a) in research and strategic planning;
b) in program design;
c) in memoranda to Cabinet, submissions to the Treasury Board and federal-provincial agreements; and
d) in government transformations and partnership agreements?
__ __
8) Has an official languages component been included in internal audits and program evaluations? __ __
9) In institutions where applicable, have appropriate language clauses been included in grants approval letters and contribution agreements to voluntary non-governmental organizations, in accordance with Treasury Board policy? __ __
10) Does the organizational structure have sufficient human and financial resources in place, at national and regional levels, to permit effective management of the official languages obligations? __ __

Appendix III - Members of the Task Force on the Visibility of Official Languages within Federal Departments and Agencies

Nicole Fortier, Task Force Chairperson,
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Francine Bastien
Publics Works and Government Services of Canada

Roger Farley
Canadian Heritage

Michelle Hamelin
Human Resources Development Canada

Resource Members:

Denis Cuillerier and Francis Landry
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat


Acknowledgements

The Task Force would like to thank the members of the Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages, who agreed to share their institutions' experiences in carrying out some of the strategic activities.