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ARCHIVED - Canada's Performance Report 2008-09: The Government of Canada's Contribution

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3 - Social Affairs


The Government of Canada is committed to building a stronger, more cooperative federation in which all levels of government work together to promote Canada's core values—linguistic duality, ethnic diversity, our national heritage and arts, and active citizenship—while enhancing the health, safety, and standard of living of its citizens.  

This chapter includes information on the federal government's contribution and expenditures in four outcome areas under Social Affairs:

  • Healthy Canadians
  • A safe and secure Canada
  • A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion
  • A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
Expenditures in Social Affairs

In 2008–09, a total of 61 federal organizations spent $48.8 billion on programs and services that contributed to Canada's social affairs. Two critical areas of federal spending—health and security—represented 80 per cent of total expenditures in this area.

Table 3—Comparison of 2008–09 planned and actual spending by the Government of Canada for the Social Affairs outcome areas ($ billions)
Outcome Area Main Estimates Planned Spending* Actual Spending
Healthy Canadians $28.1 $28.2 $28.8
A safe and secure Canada $9.9 $10.4 $10.4
A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion $6.1 $6.0 $6.4
A vibrant Canadian culture and heritage $2.9 $3.2 $3.2
Total $46.9 $47.8 $48.8

* Planned spending is derived from departmental RPPs.

Note: Due to rounding, numbers may not sum exactly to totals.

Figure 3.1-Breakdown of actual spending in Social Affairs ($48.8 billion) by outcome area for fiscal year 2008-09

Figure 3.1 - Text version

The federal organizations with the largest investment in Social Affairs were the Department of Finance Canada, Health Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

Healthy Canadians


Health is fundamental to determining individual and national success. Healthy Canadians are more economically productive and place less strain on government health and welfare systems.

Under the healthy Canadians outcome area, the Government of Canada aims to create a responsible, accessible, and sustainable health system to help Canadians stay healthy. It does this by building Canada's public health capacities, supporting First Nations and Inuit health, helping provinces create efficiencies in health services and improve access to health care, reducing environmental health risks, and investing in applied health research.

Canada's health system operates through the collaboration of all levels of government and various stakeholders across the country. With financial support from the Government of Canada by way of the Canada Health Transfer, the provinces and territories have responsibility for health care. The federal government acts as a catalyst in health system innovation and oversees the principles set out in the Canada Health Act, which enables all Canadians to have access to necessary medical services, regardless of their ability to pay.

Expenditures for healthy Canadians

The 11 federal organizations listed below spent $28.8 billion in the outcome area of healthy Canadians in 2008–09.

  • Assisted Human Reproduction Canada
  • Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Department of Finance Canada
  • Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission Canada
  • Health Canada
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Canadian Polar Commission
  • Patented Medicine Prices Review Board Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Veterans Affairs Canada

The Canada Health Transfer (CHT) is administered by the Department of Finance Canada and provides support to the provinces and territories for the provision of quality health care for Canadians. The CHT amounted to $22.8 billion in 2008–09, representing 79 per cent of spending in the healthy Canadians outcome area.

After the Department of Finance Canada, Health Canada is the second largest contributor to this outcome area. Health Canada spent $3.7 billion on national health strategies and various programs regarding First Nations and Inuit health, food and consumer safety, environmental health, drugs and substance abuse, and tobacco consumption.

The third largest contributor to health-related programs and services is Veterans Affairs Canada. Its 2008–09 expenditures of $1.1 billion went to treatment and other related health benefits, long-term care, and the Veterans Independence Program.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is the fourth largest contributor, spending $552 million in the healthy Canadians outcome area. In addition to promoting health and working to prevent disease and injury, the Agency provides federal leadership and accountability in managing public health emergencies.

Figure 3.2-Distribution of actual spending by federal organization in healthy Canadians, 2008-09

Figure 3.2 - Text version

The Government of Canada's contribution to healthy Canadians

Protecting Canadians from disease

The Public Health Agency of Canada takes a lead role at the federal level in the promotion of health and the prevention of disease and injury. Its programs result in millions of children in Canada receiving, at no cost to their families, vaccinations to protect them from potentially life-threatening diseases such as meningitis, chicken pox, whooping cough, and pneumonia. In 2008–09, approximately 40 per cent of the Agency's total spending supported disease prevention, including funding for new immunization programs.  

For example, the Agency helped the provinces and territories provide publicly funded human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to reduce the risk of women developing cervical cancer. Building on previous immunization programs administered by the Agency, the HPV vaccine program is expected to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in Canada by 60 per cent within 30 years of its introduction and to reduce mortality from this disease by 60 per cent within 35 years.

In 2008–09, the Public Health Agency of Canada continued to improve Canada's pandemic influenza readiness and build on steps taken in previous years. The Agency was able to respond in a timely, effective manner to the predicted H1N1 outbreak, purchasing and distributing antiviral drugs, planning for the rapid production of a vaccine, and launching the web portal,[24] Also, under the leadership of the federal, provincial, and territorial Emergency Preparedness and Response Expert Group, the Agency developed a Pandemic Influenza Exercise Tool-Kit that can be used by health agencies and their partners for training, building relationships, and planning evaluation. Work also began on a new module to assist in designing pandemic influenza exercises for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities.

Responding effectively to disease outbreaks

In Canada, food inspection is an area of shared jurisdiction among federal, provincial, and territorial governments. At the federal level, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ensures enforcement of the legal and regulatory framework that safeguards Canada's food supply and animal and plant resources.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency made significant progress in its ability to detect and respond to food safety incidents in 2008–09. It enhanced relationships with international partners to share information on food safety, developed training materials to enforce the new Product of Canada labelling guidelines, provided the public with food safety information, and increased inspections and sampling of high-risk foods.

In the summer of 2008, in collaboration with provincial and federal health authorities, the Agency responded to an outbreak of listeriosis linked to ready-to-eat meats produced at a Maple Leaf Foods plant in Toronto, Ontario. As soon as illnesses were confirmed to be linked to this food source, the Agency issued recall notices for all potentially affected products. This recall was one of the largest in Canadian history, involving 192 products and close to 30,000 distributors. At the plant where the meat was produced, the Agency conducted a thorough investigation, oversaw the implementation of corrective measures, and verified the resumption of safe operations.

Through its response to the listeriosis outbreak, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency learned that collaboration is critical to leveraging expertise for preparedness and that public communication, education, consultation, and outreach activities are vital to build consensus and sustain confidence in food safety. Since the outbreak, the Agency has taken steps to reduce these kinds of food safety incidents and better protect Canada's food supply. Steps include the following:

  • Implementing environmental testing and reporting to enforce sanitation requirements for all food contact surfaces;
  • Reviewing the listeria policy with Health Canada to improve measures to control listeria in high-risk, ready-to-eat food products;
  • Implementing measures to enhance the expertise of meat inspectors;
  • Directing resources to areas of high risk;
  • Investing in laboratories to validate new and more rapid test methodologies;
  • Refining the approach taken by Agency inspectors to verify industry compliance with all regulatory requirements; and
  • Strengthening relationships with all players in the food safety system—producers, processors, other levels of government, and consumers.

Minimizing the impact of chemicals on health and the environment

The Chemicals Management Plan[25] is an initiative jointly led by Environment Canada and Health Canada that aims to protect Canadians and our environment from hazardous chemicals. As a result of accelerated action under the Plan over the year, approximately two-thirds of the highest priority substances with possible health or environmental concerns were in the process of being assessed, or had been fully assessed, as of March 31, 2009. Risk management measures were established for those substances with identified health and environmental concerns. In 2008–09, Canada, the United States, and Mexico signed a joint Statement of Intent affirming their commitment to developing a regional framework for the safe management of harmful chemicals.

Additionally, Health Canada has assessed 82 per cent of the active ingredients in pest control products that were commonly used in Canada before current assessment processes were in place. The Department is on track to complete this work in 2009–10. The government is also working to facilitate the transition to safer alternatives such as lower risk pesticides.

Did you know?

Under the Chemicals Management Plan, an assessment was completed in 2008–09 on bisphenol A, a chemical found in some plastic baby bottles and water bottles, as well as in certain cans used for food and other products. Based on the outcome of this assessment, the Government of Canada developed a plan to reduce exposure to the chemical for newborns and infants up to 18 months of age. Specifically, regulations were put in place to ban the import, sale, and advertising of baby bottles made from polycarbonate plastics that contain bisphenol A.

Source: Health Canada

Improving the health of First Nations, Inuit, and northern communities

Health outcomes of First Nations and Inuit have improved steadily over the years but still fall below ratings for other Canadians. Budget 2008 committed $147 million over two years to strengthen First Nations and Inuit health programs and help close the gap. This additional funding has already expanded health coverage in a number of areas in 2008–09. For example, the Maternal and Child Health Program benefited from a 24-per-cent increase in the number of trained nurses and a 60-per-cent increase in home visitation workers. Likewise, the Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative was able to increase its roster of trained community-based workers by 85 per cent.

Pilot projects testing innovative health care service delivery models have also been launched to improve health outcomes in First Nations and Inuit communities. Projects include the use of collaborative care teams and expanded tele-health and other e-health services and involve improved integration with provincial health services. In addition, approximately 200 community-based suicide prevention programs were operating in 2008–09, complemented by expanded cultural and mental wellness support for up to 80,000 former Indian Residential School students and their families.

Several initiatives undertaken by the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2008–09 also contributed to improving public health in Canada's north. In collaboration with the Government of Nunavut, the Agency finalized a pandemic planning tool for use by the territory's 26 health centres. It also worked to increase pandemic preparedness and response capacity in Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The Agency's Aboriginal Head Start in Urban and Northern Communities Program helped to address the health, spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual needs of thousands of young Aboriginal children living in urban centres and northern communities. This holistic program involves child development strategies developed and managed by Aboriginal people and focusses on health promotion, culture and language, education, social support, and parental involvement. An evaluation completed in 2006 found that this program had a positive impact on participating children, parents, and communities.

Did you know?

In 2008–09, the Public Health Agency of Canada collaborated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, educators and education consultants, and students to create Buffet Busters,* a fun, interactive website that uses animated disease outbreak scenarios to teach kids how to protect themselves against food-borne diseases. The site complements the Grade 5 health curriculum. In November 2008, Buffet Busters received a 5-star review from Biotechnology Focus, a leading industry publication.

Source: Public Health Agency of Canada


Tackling the mental health needs of Canadians

In 2007, the federal government funded the creation of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, taking a significant step forward to address mental health issues and improve the health and social outcomes of Canadians living with mental illness. Progress made in 2008–09 included the development of a framework for a Canadian mental health strategy. The strategy will provide a unifying vision and a comprehensive approach for transforming the mental health system. Public consultations were held in 13 cities across the country, and 1,700 people participated in an online survey.

In 2008–09, the Mental Health Commission of Canada also launched the Anti-stigma / Anti-discrimination Initiative,[26] the largest systematic effort in Canadian history to reduce the stigma of mental illness. During the year, the Commission collected research and consulted with experts in other countries that have already developed such programs. It also initiated Canada's largest ever research study on mental health and homelessness.

For its part, Veterans Affairs Canada initiated a more comprehensive approach to the care and treatment of operational stress injury, which is part of the mental health services it offers to veterans, the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and their families through clinics, social support programs, and community-based mental health providers. Providing mental health services to almost 12,000 clients, the Department increased the number of its operational stress injury clinics to eight in 2008–09, opening clinics in Ottawa and Vancouver, with two more clinics to be added in the fall of 2009. These clinics provide comprehensive clinical assessment and treatment services under one roof. As of March 31, 2009, approximately 960 clients were receiving assessment or treatment services through the network of operational stress injury clinics. The number of clients receiving services from these clinics almost tripled over two years. The overall satisfaction rate of clients surveyed in the spring of 2008 was 85.2 per cent, a slight increase from the satisfaction rating of 84.4 per cent registered in 2006.

In addition, more than 3,300 veterans and family members have received support, including peer, family, and bereavement support, from the Operational Stress Injury Social Support Program since its inception.

Performance context

To set its programs, expenditures, and performance in context, the Government of Canada is tracking key measures of long-term progress in the outcome area of healthy Canadians.

Performance Context - in the outcome area of healthy Canadians.
Trend Indicator Overview
Improving performance Life expectancy From 2001 to 2006, overall life expectancy at birth rose by 1.2 years, from 79.6 to 80.8 years. For men, life expectancy has increased steadily from 77 years in 2001 to 77.8 in 2004 to 78.4 in 2006. Women have likewise experienced a gradual rise—from 82.1 years in 2001 to 82.6 in 2004 to 83 in 2006.
Source: Statistics Canada[27]
No trend Self-rated health status There is no definite trend in recent years regarding the proportion of Canadians reporting "excellent" or "very good" health. In 2008, 58.9% gave themselves this rating level, down from 60.1% in 2005. The rate in 2003 was 58.4%.
Source: Statistics Canada[28]
No trend Healthy lifestyles Canadians' progress toward healthier lifestyles presents a mixed picture. There is no definite trend regarding levels of activity during leisure time. In 2008, 50.6% of Canadians were at least moderately active during their leisure time, down from 52.2% in 2005 and 51.8% in 2003.
Source: Statistics Canada[29]
No trend Wait times In 2007, the median wait time was 4.3 weeks for specialist visits and non-emergency surgery and 3 weeks for diagnostic tests. Numbers have generally remained stable from 2003 to 2007.
Source: Statistics Canada[30]
No trend Patient satisfaction In 2007, 85.7% of Canadians (85.6% of men and 85.8% of women) reported being "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the way that health care services were provided. This rate is essentially unchanged from previous years—85.3% in 2003 and 85% in 2005.
Source: Statistics Canada[31]

A safe and secure Canada


Building a safe and secure Canada involves the development of a just society at home and the protection of national security interests. It is a goal that complements Canada's international work in maintaining safety and security throughout the world. A stable society based on the rule of law is better able to develop its commercial base and contribute to economic growth and development.

Federal government responsibilities in this outcome area include preventing and combatting crime, enforcing laws, managing custody and correctional facilities, and securing Canada's borders. Responsibilities also involve building capacity to prepare for and respond to security and public health threats and to safely manage nuclear installations. In 2008–09, the federal government continued to focus on crime prevention, safety infrastructure, and law enforcement.

Expenditures for a safe and secure Canada

The following 24 federal organizations spent $10.4 billion in the outcome area of a safe and secure Canada in 2008–09:

  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Canadian Security Intelligence Service
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Commission for Public Complaints Against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Correctional Investigator Canada (The)
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Department of Justice Canada
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada
  • Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
  • National Capital Commission
  • National Parole Board
  • Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner
  • Parks Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Public Safety Canada
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Transport Canada
  • Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada
  • Transportation Safety Board of Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was the largest contributor to the safe and secure Canada outcome area in 2008–09, with a total of $2.8 billion in spending. This includes $1.1 billion on front-line policing services to provinces and territories, municipalities, and First Nations communities.

In 2008–09, Correctional Service Canada spent $959 million on rehabilitation and case management to support the safe reintegration of offenders into communities. The Agency also invested $1.3 billion on care and custody activities to ensure the safety and security of staff and offenders in federal correctional facilities.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation invested $2.2 billion on programs to increase the availability of safe, affordable housing for Canadians in need, including Aboriginal Canadians.

Figure 3.3-Distribution of actual spending by federal organization in a safe and secure Canada, 2008-09

Figure 3.3 - Text version

The Government of Canada's contribution to a safe and secure Canada

Tackling drugs and organized crime

In 2008–09, the Department of Justice Canada supported the government's agenda to counter crime by proposing new legislation that aims to crack down on gang violence and activities that finance organized crime. This included proposing new offences for trafficking in property obtained by crime and giving law enforcement authorities and prosecutors better tools to fight serious wrongdoing.

For its part, the RCMP successfully disrupted three of its four national priority organized crime targets by countering their growth or dismantling their structures. The RCMP disrupted an additional 210 organized crime targets through reactive operations. In all, this represents an increase of 250 per cent from 2007–08 in organized crime disruptions.

The Department of Justice Canada led federal efforts in countering illicit drug use and worked closely with federal, provincial, territorial, and non-governmental partners in the implementation of the National Anti-Drug Strategy.[32] This strategy, which is aimed at building safer and healthier communities, focusses action in three priority areas: preventing illicit drug use, treating illicit drug dependency, and combatting the production and distribution of illicit drugs.

As part of the National Anti-Drug Strategy, the Department brought in Bill C-15, which introduces minimum penalties for serious drug offences. In 2008–09, the Department also worked with two provinces and a number of non-governmental organizations on a pilot program to promote alternatives to incarceration for drug-addicted offenders. Through its Youth Justice Fund, it provided financial support for 11 research and policy development projects to examine the issue of drug-addicted youth in the justice system.

Did you know?

Last year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police worked in more than 5,000 schools across the country to inform youth on how to recognize, respond to, and prevent bullying behaviour. Students were taught the serious consequences of cyber-bullying, which includes mean-spirited cell phone text messages and posts on social networking sites, as well as threats sent over instant messaging services.

The RCMP’s Youth Officer Resource Centre is an internal website that supports police officers working with youth by providing educational tools and tips, including complete lesson plans and presentations aimed at students in grades 4 through 12. These include various topics such as gangs, drugs, Internet safety, and traditional bullying.

Source: Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Exercising sovereignty in the Arctic

The Government of Canada is advancing an integrated Northern Strategy[33] that will exercise Canada's sovereignty, protect our environmental heritage, promote economic and social development, and improve northern governance.

To increase our presence in the Arctic, National Defence is expanding the number of Canadian Rangers active in isolated northern communities to 5,000 over five years. In 2008–09, the Rangers contributed to a safe and secure Canada by reporting unidentified vessels within Canadian waters off the northeast coast of Quebec and participating in missions to counter illegal immigration on the west coast. In addition, the Rangers conducted North Warning System patrols and assisted in local search and rescue activities.

The Canadian Forces, in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and several other government departments, continued to conduct its three Arctic operations. Of these, Operation Nanook is the largest northern operation to exercise Arctic sovereignty and address contingencies such as humanitarian and environmental emergencies in northern Canadian communities. This year, the operation included a Coast Guard-led joint marine spill response exercise to bolster preparedness for marine environmental incidents and demonstrate Canadian sovereignty in the region.

In addition, the second phase of Project Polar Epsilon was launched last year, which uses satellite imagery to improve Canada's surveillance capability over the region.

Finally, work progressed on procuring a naval patrol ship and a polar icebreaker. The patrol ship is in the project definition phase and is scheduled to be operational in 2014, with a range, endurance, and ice capability to patrol the length of the Northwest Passage and other portions of the Arctic Ocean. The Canadian Coast Guard's polar icebreaker is scheduled to enter full service in 2017.

Did you know?

The year 2008 marked 135 years since the North-West Mounted Police was established by an Act of Parliament, under then Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. Today, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has grown from the 300 members who set out on the March West of 1874 to nearly 30,000 employees and is recognized as a national institution and symbol of Canada around the world. The RCMP has more than 750 detachments across the country, providing front-line police services to over 200 municipalities and some 600 Aboriginal communities.

A 2008 survey found that 85 per cent of Canadians were satisfied with the RCMP’s contribution to ensuring safe homes and communities. The survey also found that 88 per cent of Canadians felt that the RCMP places an emphasis on providing good service to the public. 

Source:  Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Promoting individual security through affordable housing

In 2008–09, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation assisted over 623,000 low-income households to access affordable and suitable housing. The Corporation also invested in home repair and improvement programs to increase the number, quality, and safety of homes for Canadians in need, including emergency shelters and home adaptations for seniors. Funding was committed for 945 new non-profit housing units and will continue to subsidize about 28,500 existing units.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation was instrumental in the creation of the First Nations Market Housing Fund, which began operations in 2008. The Fund offers added security to private lenders who provide loans for the purchase or renovation of homes on reserve or on settlement lands. It will help families and individuals on reserve buy the type of home they desire based on their housing needs, financial situation, and personal tastes. The Fund will help increase the housing supply and provide the means to build equity and generate wealth.

Performance context

To set its programs, expenditures, and performance in context, the Government of Canada is tracking key measures of long-term progress in the outcome area of a safe and secure Canada.

Performance Context - in the outcome area of a safe and secure Canada.
Trend Indicator Overview
Improving performance Safety Criminal incidents reported to police (excluding traffic violations) have dropped steadily from 7,761 in 2003 to 7,310 in 2005 to 6,862 in 2007.
Source:  Statistics Canada[34]
Improving performance Housing Between 1996 and 2006, the incidence of urban core housing needs (households occupying inadequate, unsuitable, or unaffordable housing) declined from 15.6% to 12.7%. More recent data also signal an improving trend. The rate has fallen from 13.6% in 2004 to 13.5% in 2005 to 12.7% in 2006.
Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation[35]

A diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion


Government efforts in this outcome area are intended to promote cross-cultural understanding and the advantages of a culturally diverse, literate, integrated, and inclusive society. Work includes promoting Canada's two official languages, multiculturalism, human rights and anti-discrimination, the elimination of systemic barriers faced by Aboriginal Canadians, education for First Nations, and the integration of new Canadians into the Canadian labour market and society.

Efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive society are expected to result in communities with a sense of common purpose and, by extension, with greater economic potential. Improved social cohesion should contribute to reduced social problems, including crime and delinquency, and lead to a safer and more secure Canada.

Expenditures for a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion

The 12 federal organizations listed below spent $6.4 billion in 2008–09 on activities that contributed to the outcome area of a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.

  • Canadian Heritage
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Canadian Polar Commission
  • Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Indian Specific Claims Commission
  • Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
  • Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
  • Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Status of Women Canada

In 2008–09, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Canadian Polar Commission were the largest contributors to this outcome area, spending a total of $4.4 billion. Of this total, $1.8 billion was spent on education activities, including working with First Nations communities and the provinces and territories to improve levels of education for First Nations students.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the second largest contributor to this outcome area, spent $903 million in 2008–09 on programs for integrating newcomers into society and promoting Canadian citizenship.

Canadian Heritage is also an important contributor to a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion. The Department spent $645.6 million in 2008–09 on programs that promote intercultural understanding and community capacity building and support active public participation in community and civic life.

Figure 3.4-Distribution of actual spending by federal organization in a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion, 2008-09

Figure 3.4 - Text version

The Government of Canada's contribution to a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion

Supporting First Nations education

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada invested $1.8 billion in 2008–09 toward improving the education of First Nations people, including $1.3 billion to support elementary and secondary education for approximately 120,000 First Nations students living on reserve. Approximately 40 per cent of these students attend provincial schools off reserve, for which provincial First Nations tuition fees apply.

The Department's investments in First Nations education are demonstrating measured success. While educational outcomes for all Aboriginal students, including First Nations, have improved over the last 30 years, they continue to lag behind other Canadians. In 2008–09, the graduation rate for First Nations students living on reserve was 34 per cent—an increase of almost 2 per cent from the graduation rate in 2006–07.

Substantial new education investments will lay the foundation for longer term improvement in education for First Nations students. The First Nation School Success Program will help schools develop multi-year school plans, conduct student assessments, and put in place performance management systems. The Education Partnership Program will support improved student achievement by maximizing opportunities for coordination and mutual sharing of expertise between First Nations and provincially run schools.

Both the First Nation School Success Program and the Education Partnership Program were rolled out in December 2008. In 2008–09, over 60 proposals under these programs were received from First Nations communities.

Did you know?

The Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission is one of the components of the negotiated Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. It was formally established by Order in Council on June 1, 2008, with the creation of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission Secretariat as a government department.

On June 11, 2008, the Prime Minister, on behalf of the Government of Canada, issued a formal apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools, their families, and communities. In his apology, he noted that the Commission presents a unique opportunity to educate all Canadians about the Indian Residential Schools system.

In 2008–09, the Commission spent $2.7 million to develop plans and programs that will encourage and facilitate the participation of individuals and groups in pursuit of truth, healing, and reconciliation over the course of the Commission's five-year mandate.

In addition to presenting events and activities, the Commission will also develop and preserve an historical record of the Indian Residential Schools system and survivors’ experiences so that current and future generations will be able to better understand the legacy of this system and its impact.

Source: Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Promoting civic participation through commemorative events

Canadian Heritage has the primary federal role in working to ensure that Canada is an inclusive society built on intercultural understanding and citizen participation. To meet this objective, the Department delivers a variety of programs promoting participation in community and civic life. The most prominent events it supported in 2008–09 were celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of Québec, the 250th anniversary of parliamentary democracy in Canada, and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Crown Colony of British Columbia.

The Department played a lead role in supporting the commemorative events for the city of Québec's 400th anniversary and contributed $40 million toward activities organized by the Société du 400e anniversaire de Québec. A total of 135 projects were funded under the Celebration and Commemoration Program, many designed to create general historical awareness and provide opportunities for Canadians to attend Celebrate Canada 400th anniversary activities, which took place over a period of eleven days from June 21 to July 1, 2008. The Official Languages Support Programs funded 47 projects facilitating the participation of Francophones from across the country in anniversary celebrations, including many emerging artists. Commemorative events also provided an opportunity for a total of 540 young Canadians from the Québec region and other parts of the country to participate in Exchanges Canada activities, enabling them to experience Canada's linguistic and cultural diversity.

According to March 2009 survey results, the celebration of the city of Québec's establishment in 1608 appears to have been successful in raising public awareness about this important historical event. In 2009, 60 per cent of survey respondents were aware that 2008 was the year commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of Québec, compared with 37 per cent in 2007. Furthermore, 84 per cent agreed that the celebrations allowed them to learn more about Canada's history. 

New support for Canada's official languages

Budget 2007 committed an additional $30 million over two years for the promotion and development of official languages in Canada, with a focus on Canadian youth. In 2008–09, Canadian Heritage implemented a series of initiatives building on this commitment.  

Under these initiatives, the Department supported youth development projects across Canada, including leadership training for young Francophones living in linguistic minority situations, community radio internships, youth parliaments, and exchange programs to improve young Canadians' proficiency in their second official language. The Department also undertook capital projects across the country to create physical spaces where youth in linguistic minority situations can develop their language skills. Under the Young Canada Works program, initiatives were undertaken with the assistance of six regional providers to give young people opportunities to live and work in both official languages. The Department also supported the participation of young Francophones across Canada in events commemorating the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city of Québec. This included funding such programs as "La Francoforce," a cross-country tour of emerging French-Canadian artists.

In June 2008, the Government of Canada announced the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013. This is an unprecedented government-wide investment in official languages, with a budget of $1.1 billion divided among 14 federal organizations. Funding is directed at strengthening the vitality of official-language minority communities and offering all Canadians the benefits that two official languages bring.

Helping newcomers integrate

With the increasing cultural diversity of immigrants to Canada, sophisticated settlement, integration, multiculturalism, and citizenship programs are key to helping newcomers adjust quickly to Canadian society and the Canadian labour market. Accordingly, in 2008–09, Citizenship and Immigration Canada invested $825.9 million in targeted policies, programs, and services to help address the challenges faced by newcomers and maximize the economic and social benefits of immigration.

The acquisition of citizenship is an important step in the Canadian integration process, because it invests newcomers with the full range of Canadian rights and responsibilities and fosters their sense of belonging to Canada. Canada continues to have one of the highest naturalization rates among comparable countries. According to the 2006 Census of Canada, 85.1 per cent of foreign-born people who were living in Canada and eligible for Canadian citizenship chose to become Canadians. This represents an increase from 83.9 per cent in 2001.

In 2008–09, the Department also worked on amendments to the Citizenship Act to protect the value of Canadian citizenship by restoring citizenship to many individuals who had lost it under previous legislation and recognizing others as citizens for the first time. The amendments, which received Royal Assent on April 17, 2009, also introduced a limit for citizenship by descent to one generation born outside of Canada.

Did you know?

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office* (FCRO) was established in May 2007 to provide internationally trained and educated individuals, both overseas and in Canada, with the information, path-finding, and referral services they need to better use their skills and credentials in the Canadian labour force. Information about foreign credential recognition processes in Canada is now available worldwide on the FCRO website, as well as through Service Canada's in-person and toll-free telephone services offered at 330 centres across the country.

In March 2009, the FCRO launched Planning to Work in Canada? An Essential Workbook for Newcomers, with a corresponding Google advertisement campaign. The campaign resulted in an increase of almost 81 per cent in visits to the FCRO website over the previous month. In total, 287,378 visits to the website were recorded from July 2008 to March 2009, with 70 per cent of visits originating overseas.

Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada


Performance context

To put its programs, expenditures, and performance in context, the Government of Canada is tracking key measures of long-term progress in the outcome area of a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.

Performance Context - in the outcome area of a diverse society that promotes linguistic duality and social inclusion.
Trend Indicator Overview
No trend Attitudes toward diversity Public opinion polls indicate that Canadians' attitudes toward diversity appear to be mixed. Of the Canadians who believed they were more tolerant of ethnic groups, personal tolerance of others increased to 29% in 2004 from 23% in 1991. However, support for affirmative action declined substantially from 44% in 1985 to 28% in 2004.
Improving performance Attitudes toward linguistic quality In 2006, 72% of Canadians said they were personally in favour of bilingualism for all of Canada, a substantial increase over the 2003 level of 56%.
Source: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages[36]
Improving performance Volunteerism In 2007, 46% of the population aged over 15 volunteered their time through a group or organization. This represents an upward trend from 45% in 2004 and 27% in 2000. The total volunteer hours worked is also increasing: from 1.1 billion hours in 2000 to 2 billion hours in 2004 to 2.1 billion hours in 2007.
Source: Statistics Canada[37]
No trend Political participation In recent years, the trend has been unclear with respect to voter turnout in general elections in Canada. In 2004, voter turnout was 60.9% and rose to 65% in 2006. It then declined to 58.8% in 2008.
Source: Elections Canada[38]

A vibrant Canadian Culture and Heritage


Canada's vibrant culture and heritage, reflected in its history, art, museums, archives, libraries, civic celebrations, sports, and cultural industries, bring Canadians together. The federal government supports a broad range of cultural and heritage initiatives, including funding artists, the arts, and cultural institutions. It also promotes public knowledge of Canadian history and participation in cultural and heritage activities and supports the protection of national heritage sites.

Canadian cultural and heritage industries play an important role in developing our sense of a unique Canadian identity and our pride in regional differences, which foster patriotism, enhance Canada's reputation, and improve our quality of life. These industries also represent a significant part of the Canadian economy.

Expenditures for a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage

The following 22 federal organizations spent $3.2 billion in the outcome area of a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage in 2008–09.

  • Canada Council for the Arts
  • Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Canadian Heritage
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
  • Canadian Science and Technology Museum
  • Canadian Space Agency
  • Environment Canada
  • Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
  • Library and Archives Canada
  • Library of Parliament
  • National Arts Centre Corporation
  • National Battlefields Commission (The)
  • National Capital Commission
  • National Film Board
  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Old Port of Montreal Corporation Inc.
  • Parks Canada
  • Telefilm Canada
  • Veterans Affairs Canada

Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) are Canada's foremost cultural institutions and the largest contributors to this outcome area. The CBC's expenditure of $1.2 billion in 2008–09 was directed to providing Canadians with a national public broadcasting service. Canadian Heritage spent $748 million on creating and facilitating access to Canadian content, fostering cultural participation, and strengthening ties among Canadians.

Parks Canada's financial contribution to this outcome area represents approximately $357 million in 2008–09 and was directed toward ensuring the integrity of Canada's natural and cultural heritage for present and future generations.

Figure 3.5-Distribution of actual spending by federal organization in a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage, 2008-09

Figure 3.5 - Text version

The Government of Canada's contribution to a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage
A strong national public broadcasting service

The CBC continued to make a strong contribution to developing a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage through its radio and television programming from coast to coast in both official languages.

While conventional television broadcasters grapple with stagnant or shrinking audiences, the CBC continues to see strong television viewership and is by far the leading broadcaster of original Canadian content. CBC Television is also distinctive in that it broadcasts in eight Aboriginal languages. In 2008–09, the prime-time audience share for CBC English-language television reached 8.3 per cent, its highest level in five years. Its prime-time schedule is overwhelmingly Canadian, with Canadian programs accounting for 82 per cent of the whole-day 2008–09 schedule. Télévision de Radio-Canada continues to attract about one-fifth of the Francophone television-viewing audience, with Canadian programs comprising 95 per cent of its prime-time 2008–09 schedule.

CBC Radio listenership also remained loyal in both official languages. In 2008–09, CBC English-language radio (Radio One and Radio Two) achieved a combined all-time record audience share of 14.1 per cent, up from the previous year's record of 13.4 per cent. Radio One has been successful in increasing its audience in both the 25–49 and the 65+ age groups. Of the 22 local Radio One morning shows, 20 ranked first or second in all major English-speaking cities and in the top three in their respective markets overall. Radio Two reached close to 1.2 million listeners in 2008–09 and launched four online streams of continuous music, featuring classical music, jazz, Canadian composers, and Canadian songwriters. With respect to French-language radio, la Première Chaîne reached an unprecedented 1.1 million listeners across the country, with a 15.5-per-cent share of French-language radio listenership in markets served by the Corporation—the third-highest share it has achieved. Espace Musique garnered a 3.9-per-cent market share, reaching a record 517,000 listeners. It also launched the web-based radio program, Espace Jazz. Visitor traffic to the site doubled in 2008–09, with a monthly average of 60,000 visits.

Promoting Aboriginal peoples' participation in sport

Canadian Heritage promotes participation in sport through Sport Canada's policies and three funding programs. Its Policy on Aboriginal Peoples' Participation in Sport promotes the development of Aboriginal athletes and sports activities. Key priorities of this policy are to reduce barriers to Aboriginal participation in sport, at all levels and in all contexts, and to promote the development of Aboriginal individuals and communities through sport.

Sport Canada contributed $3.5 million to the North American Indigenous Games, hosted in Cowichan, British Columbia, in August 2008. The event attracted over 12,000 athletes, cultural participants, and spectators to the Cowichan Valley. It helped generate $34.3 million in economic activity and supported $12.7 million in wages and salaries province-wide, mostly in the Cowichan Valley. Events such as these games create a legacy for future Aboriginal sport development and have a tremendously positive impact on Canada's Aboriginal communities.

In addition, Sport Canada negotiated bilateral agreements on a matching-funds basis with all 13 provincial and territorial governments to support grassroots projects that increase opportunities for children and youth, Aboriginal peoples, and under-represented groups to participate in sport. Agreements in place in 2008–09 included 12 Aboriginal sport agreements and 11 agreements to support team travel to the North American Indigenous Games.

Accessing Library and Archives Canada collections online

The shift to digital information is reflected in the Library and Archives Canada website,[39] which is fast becoming Canadians' first access point to its collections. In 2008–09, the number of page views recorded on this website more than tripled from those recorded in 2004–05, reaching a high of almost 176 million. Library and Archives Canada put more databases on line, offered RSS feeds, and became one of the first government organizations to link its website to social network technologies. Digitizing its collections has allowed Library and Archives Canada to expand access to Canadian collections of great value to our cultural heritage.

Did you know?

In 2008–09, Library and Archives Canada launched a pilot project using social networks to enhance access to its collection. Images and videos reflecting a part of the collection were placed on YouTube and Flickr. The objective of the project was to explore new ways to improve access to its collection and increase Canadians' engagement in their documentary heritage.

As a result of this project, access to the Library and Archives Canada collection improved significantly, with over 19,200 views of the Flickr album in a period of 24 weeks. With the launch of the YouTube album, over 240 channel views and over 500 video views were registered in less than four weeks. Traffic to its related collections on the Library and Archives Canada website is up 140 per cent in visits per day, and visitors have begun tagging content. The project has helped to improve the accessibility of these images beyond imaginable expectations.

Source: Library and Archives Canada

Protecting Canada's natural heritage for future generations

Parks Canada manages a total of 42 national parks, three national marine conservation areas, and 162 national historic sites. As such, it has a stewardship role for these heritage places, protecting them for the benefit and enjoyment of Canadians.

The government is working to improve the representation of regions within Canada's system of national parks by establishing new parks or park reserves and expanding others. In 2008–09, agreement was reached on significant expansion of the boundaries of the Nahanni National Park Reserve, and the Minister of the Environment signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work toward the creation of a new national park reserve in the Sahtu settlement region, also in the Northwest Territories.

In 2008–09, Parks Canada demonstrated its commitment to engage partners and stakeholders in the protection and presentation of heritage places by acquiring the surface title of the Saoyú and Ehdacho National Historic Site on Great Bear Lake, permitting its resources to be protected under the Canada National Parks Act. A cooperative management agreement makes this the first northern national historic site to be co-managed by Parks Canada and an Aboriginal group.

Performance context

To put its programs, expenditures, and performance in context, the Government of Canada is tracking key measures of long-term progress in the outcome area of a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage.

Performance Context - in the outcome area of a vibrant Canadian culture and heritage.
Trend Indicator Overview

Improving performance

Participation in cultural and heritage activities From 1998 to 2005, cultural participation among Canadian individuals aged 15 and over increased in almost all areas. For instance, attendance at professional concerts and performances increased from 35% to 41% and public art gallery and museum visits grew from 22% to 26%. The rate of movie-going also rose slightly to 60% in 2005 from 59% in 1998.
Source: Statistics Canada[40]

2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

The Government of Canada is an important partner in organizing the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, to be held in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia. The contributions of federal organizations to the planning and delivery of the 2010 Winter Games are being coordinated through the 2010 Federal Secretariat* 2010 Federal Secretariatat Canadian Heritage. Contributions include the provision of essential services as well as capital and legacy funding, with a total federal government investment of $1.2 billion. The Secretariat works with federal organizations and other partners and stakeholders in planning this international event.

Many federal organizations across government are working to support the 2010 Winter Games. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is taking the lead on security, under the direction of the Office of the Coordinator for the 2010 Olympics and G8 Security to ensure that security planning and security measures are undertaken in a coordinated and timely manner. Public Safety Canada, National Defence, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Canadian Coast Guard are working on security with the RCMP.

The Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada are providing health emergency response and medical service support for the 2010 Winter Games. The Canada Border Services Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are collaborating to ensure the safe and orderly entry of people and goods into Canada.

The protection of the Olympic/Paralympic Brand and the management of radio spectrum issues related to the 2010 Winter Games are being handled by Industry Canada. Environment Canada is responsible for meteorological services and ensuring environmental sustainability. Specific tax issues related to the 2010 Winter Games are being addressed by the Canada Revenue Agency.

To ensure that Aboriginal people share in the economic, social, and cultural benefits of hosting the 2010 Winter Games, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is supporting activities such as the Aboriginal Pavilion and helping to optimize opportunities for Aboriginal businesses and employment.

Federal government collaboration on the 2010 Winter Games began in 2002, with the signing of a multi-party agreement guaranteeing the provision of essential federal services and capital funding for venues and sport legacies. In  2008–09, total federal spending was $46.7 million, excluding security costs. Major achievements during the year include the following:

  • Best practices and lessons learned from the 2008 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing were documented for use in planning the delivery of federal services during the 2010 Winter Games.
  • The comprehensive security plan developed for the 2010 Winter Games was tested through two scheduled exercises.
  • Regulatory and policy changes were implemented for the accreditation of Olympic athletes and officials.
  • Agreements were signed for venue construction, the Opening Ceremonies, and Celebration Sites and Paralympic Games operations. Funding was also secured for the Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays.
  • A team of weather forecasters underwent specialized training to handle forecasting in mountainous terrain and successfully delivered forecasts during events in 2009.
  • Work was initiated on a plan for offsetting carbon emissions during the 2010 Winter Games.

Over 300,000 visitors are expected to attend the 2010 Winter Games during the course of its 27 days. The event's broadcast is expected to draw over three billion television viewers worldwide. The Government of Canada is proud to collaborate with other partners and stakeholders in making the 2010 Winter Games a success and to take this remarkable opportunity to advance public policy objectives, establish lasting legacies, and derive maximum benefit for all Canadians.