Report Cards 2013–2014

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages issues report cards to a number of federal institutions. The report cards evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of federal institutions in terms of their various obligations under the Official Languages Act.

 
Rating Guide 2013–2014
 

Rating Guide 2013–2014

1) Official Languages Program Management (10%)

 
  1. The institution has an updated action plan that includes targeted and appropriate measures to address the shortcomings identified in investigations, previous report cards or audits by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (Office of the Commissioner). The measures to correct these shortcomings have been or are being implemented. Senior management is monitoring the situation to ensure that progress is being made. (4%)
  2. The institution always promptly provides the documentation required to process complaints being investigated by the Office of the Commissioner. The institution fully cooperates with the Office of the Commissioner during investigations. (2 %)
  3. The institution has developed tools or procedures (permanent mechanism, Part VII reflex) to assess the impact of its major decisions—such as the addition, elimination or modification of policies or programs—on official language minority communities (OLMCs) and on the promotion of linguistic duality. (4%)

2) Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%)

 
  1. The results of the Office of the Commissioner’s observations regarding service in person confirm the presence of a visual active offer and an in-person active offer in both official languages, as well as the availability of service in the official language of the linguistic minority. (10%)
    • Visual active offer (2%)
    • Active offer in person (2%)
    • Availability of service (6%)
  2. The results of the Office of the Commissioner’s observations regarding service by telephone confirm the presence of an active offer in both official languages by staff or by an automated telephone system and the availability of service in the official language of the linguistic minority. (10%)
    • Active offer (4%)
    • Availability of service (6%)
  3. The results of the Office of the Commissioner’s observations regarding service by e-mail confirm that the response rates and times are comparable in both official languages. (5%)
    • Comparable response rates (2.5%)
    • Comparable response times (2.5%)
  4. The institution makes services of equal quality available to the public in both official languages. Bearing in mind the nature of the service and its purpose, the institution takes the particular needs of OLMCs into account when delivering its services. (5%)

Note: Services of equal quality are not necessarily identical but are tailored to the needs of OLMCs, as required.

3) Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%)

 
  1. Measures have been put in place in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes to promote use of the official language of the linguistic minority in the workplace (for example, a registry of employees’ language preferences, provision of language training and maintenance courses, or reminders on language rights). (25%)

4) Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%)

 

The institution demonstrates that Anglophones and Francophones are equitably represented within its organization, taking into account its mandate, the public it serves and the location of its offices.

The results of the 2011 census were used as a reference for evaluating the institution against this part’s criteria.

  1. Percentage of Francophones outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) (1.5%)

The French-speaking population outside Quebec and the NCR, represents 2.4% of the total population. The percentage of Francophones in the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the presence of the Francophone community in this part of Canada.

Ratings Percentage
A – Exemplary 2.2% and above
B – Good Between 1.92% and 2.1%
C – Fair Between 1.68% and 1.91%
D – Poor Between 1.44% and 1.67%
E – Very Poor 1.43% and below
  1. Percentage of Anglophones in Quebec, excluding the NCR (3%)

The English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. The percentage of Anglophones in the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the presence of the Anglophone community in this part of Canada.

Ratings Percentage
A – Exemplary 12.1% and above
B – Good Between 10.7% and 12%
C – Fair Between 9.4% and 10.6%
D – Poor Between 8% and 9.3%
E – Very Poor 7.9% and below
  1. Percentage of Francophones in the NCR (1.5%)

The French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. The percentage of Francophones in the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the presence of the Francophone community in this part of Canada.

Ratings Percentage
A – Exemplary 31.1% and above
B – Good Between 27.6% and 31%
C – Fair Between 24.1% and 27.5%
D – Poor Between 21% and 24%
E – Very Poor 20.9% and below
  1. The institution demonstrates that all necessary measures have been taken so that its workforce tends to reflect the makeup of Canada’s two official language communities, taking into account its mandate, the location of its offices and the public it serves. In particular, it takes all necessary measures to encourage the participation of members of English and French linguistic minority communities, whose representation is not equitable, in its recruitment campaigns specifically targeting OLMCs. (4%)

Development of OLMCs and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%)

 
  1. The institution has:
    • identified the OLMCs;
    • consulted or met with these communities; and
    • determined the needs of these communities. (5%)
  1. The institution’s programs include the development of OLMCs. (3.5%)
  2. The institution’s programs include the promotion of both official languages. (3.5%)
  3. The institution takes positive measures to foster the development of OLMCs. (5%)
  4. The institution takes positive measures to promote the equal status and use of both English and French in Canadian society. (5%)
  5. The institution assesses the impact of the positive measures that have been taken to foster the development of OLMCs. (1.5%)
  6. The institution assesses the impact of the positive measures that have been taken to promote the equal status and use of English and French in Canadian society. (1.5%)

Bonus points (5%)

 
  1. Up to five percent (5%) in bonus points may be awarded for one or several best practices put in place by the institution that do not fall within the Office of the Commissioner’s parameters for evaluation or that exceed the criteria mentioned above.
Ratings Percentage
Rating scale used for the five sections of the report card and the overall rating:
Exemplary A from 90% – 100%
Good B from 80% – 89%
Fair C from 70% – 79%
Poor D from 60% – 69%
Very Poor E 59% and below
 
 
The results of the 2013–2014 report card

A horizontal analysis of the report cards is presented in the 2013–2014 annual report, as well as the report card results table.

 
 

Summer and Fall 2013 Observation Results

 
 

Methodology

Report Card
 

Report Card

Background

The report card is a tool that the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (Office of the Commissioner) uses to assess federal institutions’ compliance with their obligations under the Official Languages Act (the Act). The first report cards were issued in 2004 in response to a recommendation made by the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages in October 2003.Footnote1 The report card methodology is based on a strategic selection of institutions, an assessment of compliance according to key parts of the Act and the assignment of a rating as a performance indicator. Furthermore, it can focus on a specific part of the Act and takes jurisprudence into account. For example, the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the DesRochers caseFootnote2 has changed how Part IV is assessed since 2009.

Selection of institutions

The selection is made from some 200 institutions subject to the Act. The Office of the Commissioner aims to assess the greatest number of institutions possible. The report card also tracks the progress of institutions that have previously been assessed. Other activities of the Office of the Commissioner are taken into consideration during the selection process. For example, an institution is unlikely to be selected for a report card if an audit or audit follow-up is being conducted on that institution in the same year. The selection of institutions must also meet the Office of the Commissioner’s strategic objectives.

The following institutions were selected for this report card cycle:

  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Canada Post Corporation
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Statistics Canada
  • VIA Rail Canada

Weighting

The report cards focus on the results of concrete actions taken by the institutions and on statistical data collected by the Office of the Commissioner. More points are divided among the sections of the report card that evaluate institutions’ performance with respect to Parts IV, V and VII of the Act. The Rating Guide provides a detailed explanation of how points are awarded based on the assessment criteria.

Official Languages Program Management: 10%

Service to the Public (Part IV): 30%

Language of Work (Part V): 25%

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians (Part VI): 10%

Development of Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs) and Promotion of Linguistic Duality (Part VII): 25%

Sources of information included documentation provided by the institutions and interviews conducted with institution representatives (for qualitative information), as well as statistical data (for quantitative results).

The sections of the Act on which performance is assessed ensure that compliance is measured consistently for all institutions subject to the Act.

Report card sections

Official Languages Program Management (10%)

In this section, the Office of the Commissioner evaluates the institution’s official languages action plan, its response to complaints and the extent to which it takes Part VII of the Act into account when making important decisions such as eliminating programs or closing offices. Some of this information is gathered through interviews with institution representatives.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%)

This section contains the results of the Office of the Commissioner’s anonymous observations of service to the public in person, by telephone and by e-mail. For observations made in person, the Office of the Commissioner evaluates the active offer of bilingual service by staff, the visual active offer of bilingual service at bilingual points of service and the availability of service in the official language of the linguistic minority. For observations made by telephone, the Office of the Commissioner evaluates the active offer of bilingual service and the availability of service in the official language of the linguistic minority. More points are allocated to service availability than to active offer. For observations made by e-mail, the Office of the Commissioner compares the institution’s response rates to e-mail written in English and in French and it compares the time delays of the responses in both official languages.

The observation results are worth 25% of the overall rating. The data is gathered through anonymous observations of points of service offering bilingual services, using a sampleFootnote3 identified by Statistics Canada.

Since the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the DesRochers case in 2009, the report card has included an additional criterion to assess the extent to which the institution takes the needs of OLMCs into consideration in its service delivery. This subsection is worth 5% of the overall rating.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%)

Because the most recent results of the Public Service Employee Survey (which date back to 2011) were analyzed in its 2012–2013 annual report, the Office of the Commissioner decided not to use the results of this survey’s language-of-work questions regarding the satisfaction of English-speaking federal public servants in Quebec and French-speaking federal public servants in the rest of Canada. Instead, it asked each institution to show how it takes measures to encourage the use of both official languages in the workplace in bilingual regions.

This section is worth 25% of the overall rating.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%)

This section has two parts (subsections A and B) and is worth 10% of the overall rating.

Subsection A – 6%

This subsection concerns the equitable representation of Canada’s two official language communities in the federal public service. The Office of the Commissioner evaluates how well OLMCs are represented within the institution’s workforce.Footnote 4 Data on the composition of the workforce is compared with data from the most recent Census of the Population. The participation rates evaluated include Francophones outside of Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR), Anglophones in Quebec, excluding those in the NCR and Francophones in the NCR. The evaluation of these three separate geographical areas (presented below) aims to gather detailed data to help the institution take the necessary corrective measures. It is not intended to redefine the distribution and representation of OLMCs across the country.

The detailed evaluation of this criterion breaks down as follows:

  • Percentage of Francophones outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) (1.5%)

The French-speaking population outside Quebec and the NCR, represents 2.4% of the total population. The percentage of Francophones in the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the presence of the Francophone community in this part of Canada.

Ratings Percentage
A – Exemplary 2.2% and above
B – Good between 1.92% and 2.1%
C – Fair between 1.68% and 1.91%
D – Poor between 1.44% and 1.67%
E – Very Poor 1.43% and below
  • Percentage of Anglophones in Quebec, excluding the NCR (3%)

The English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. The percentage of Anglophones in the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the presence of the Anglophone community in this part of Canada.

Ratings Percentage
A – Exemplary 12.1% and above
B – Good between 10.7% and 12%
C – Fair between 9.4% and 10.6%
D – Poor between 8% and 9.3%
E – Very Poor 7.9% and below
  • Percentage of Francophones in the NCR (1.5%)

The French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. The percentage of Francophones in the institution’s workforce tends to reflect the presence of the Francophone community in this part of Canada.

Ratings Percentage
A – Exemplary 31.1% and above
B – Good between 27.6% and 31%
C – Fair between 24.1% and 27.5%
D – Poor between 21% and 24%
E – Very Poor 20.9% and below

Subsection B – 4%

The Office of the Commissioner is also evaluating recruitment activities intended to encourage the participation of members of English and French linguistic minority communities, where representation is not equitable, specifically targeting OLMCs.

Development of OLMCs and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%)

In this section, the Office of the Commissioner evaluates the tools put in place by the institution to comply with Part VII of the Act, which deals with the development of OLMCs and the promotion of linguistic duality. The aim is to determine whether the institution identifies OLMCs whether it consults or meets with them and whether it determines their needs.

The Office of the Commissioner also evaluates the extent to which the institution incorporates the requirements of Part VII (OLMCs and linguistic duality) into its programs.

It assesses the implementation of positive measures, in accordance with the institution’s mandate, and the mechanism(s) used to check the impact of the positive measures taken to support community development and promote linguistic duality.

Bonus Points (5%)

Up to five percent (5%) in extra bonus points may be awarded for one or several best practices put in place by the institution if they do not fall within the Office of the Commissioner’s parameters for evaluation or if they exceed the criteria mentioned above.

Overall rating

The overall rating is calculated using the weighted results for each part. For the institution, it is a tangible indicator of compliance with official languages requirements under the Act.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

See Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, “Fostering a Proactive Approach within Institutions Responsible for Official Languages,” in Official Languages: 2002-2003 Perspective, Study of the Action Plan for Official Languages and the Annual Reports of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Treasury Board and the Department of Canadian Heritage, 37th Parliament, 2nd Session, October 2003, www.parl.gc.ca/Content/SEN/Committee/372/offi/rep/rep04oct03-e.htm.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

The Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decision in the case of DesRochers v Canada (Industry), also known as the CALDECH case, in February 2009. The Court ruled on the nature and scope of the principle of linguistic equality in communications and in the provision of services by the federal government. Federal obligations in this area stem from section 20 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Part IV of the Official Languages Act. See: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/olo/caldech/intro-eng.asp.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Footnote 3

Statistics Canada takes the sample from a list of bilingual points of service provided by each institution. It randomly selects points of service to undergo observations in person, by telephone and by e-mail, as well as the number of observations to be made.

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

Data on the representation of OLMCs within an institution’s workforce is collected either from the institution or through the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Official Languages Information System (OLIS II). See: www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/ollo/appollo/OLIS-SILO/olisII-siloII_e.pdf.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

 
 
Observations of service in person and by telephone
 

Observations of service in person and by telephone

Background

The observations of service to the public made by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (the Office of the Commissioner) are among many tools used to measure the performance of federal institutions with respect to Part IV of the Official Languages Act, which deals with service to the public. The Office of the Commissioner observes three types of service provided by institutions: in-person, telephone and e-mail. This document describes the methodology used for in-person and telephone observations, which are the two kinds of observations most often used by the Office of the Commissioner to measure federal institutions’ compliance with Part IV.

The Office of the Commissioner is supported by Statistics Canada in its methodological approach, particularly with respect to sampling, calculations and validation of results. It is important to note that the results provide an indication of an institution’s performance at the specific time the observations take place. They do not represent the probability of obtaining service in the official language of your choice.

Definitions

In-person observations

Observations of service in person involve making anonymous visits to a federal institution’s bilingual points of service to assess its capability to serve the public in the official language of the linguistic minority. This includes observations of service in English in Quebec and service in French outside of Quebec and in the National Capital Region.

The evaluation is based on the following three criteria:

  • Visual active offer

The observer indicates whether bilingual services are offered at the point of service (“yes” or “no”). This offer is provided through the following visual elements:

  • bilingual signage outside
  • bilingual signage inside
  • presence of “English/Français” pictogram
  • display of pamphlets, forms or documents in both official languages

The observer may indicate “yes” even if not all of the elements are present. For example, if the “English/Français” pictogram is not visible, but most of the documents and signs at the point of service are in both official languages, the observer will indicate that there is a bilingual visual active offer.

  • Active offer by staff

The observer indicates whether initial contact with an employee at the point of service is in both official languages (“yes” or “no”), through the use of the “Hello, bonjour” greeting, a phrase such as “Next, suivant” or a similar phrase.

  • Availability of service in the official language of the linguistic minority

The observer indicates whether service is received in the official language of the linguistic minority at the point of service (“yes” or “no”).

Telephone observations

Observations of service by telephone involve making calls to contact numbers that the institution provides to the public. When the telephone number is for a specific physical office, the same approach is used as for in-person observations with respect to the official language of the linguistic minority. If there is only one telephone number for the entire country, the same number of observations is made in English and French.

The evaluation is based on the following two criteria:

  • Active offer by telephone

The observer indicates whether the institution’s first point of contact answers the telephone call in both official languages (“yes” or “no”), through the use of a bilingual greeting such as “Hello, bonjour” or with the name of the institution in both languages, for example, “Canada Revenue Agency, Agence du revenu du Canada.” Greetings like this make it clear to callers that service is available in the official language of their choice.

  • Service by telephone available in the official language of the linguistic minority

The observer indicates whether service is received in the official language of the linguistic minority (“yes” or “no”).

Methodology

The methodology is the same for observations in person and by telephone. It involves making a number of anonymous observations at a representative sample of all the bilingual points of service of the institution being assessed. At the beginning of each report card cycle, the Commissioner asks the institutions that will be observed to provide a list of all of their bilingual points of service that are open to the public without an appointment. The list is sent to Statistics Canada to establish a sample. One or more observations of the points of service in the sample are made over a defined period of time. The results provide an indication of the availability of service in the official language of the linguistic minority.

  • Results

The main objective of in-person and telephone observations is to obtain statistically valid overall results for each of the observation criteria. Nevertheless, when a large number of observations are made in a given region (for example, Western Canada) or province, it is possible to compile certain regional or provincial results. Unless otherwise stated, the observations do not generate statistically valid results by point of service.

  • Results quality indicator

When Statistics Canada calculates the observation results, it assigns a quality indicator to each one. The indicator establishes the quality of the sample that was subject to observations.

  • A: standard deviation below 4% (margin of error of less than 8%, 19 times out of 20)
  • B: standard deviation between 4% and 8% (margin of error between 8% and 16%, 19 times out of 20)
  • C: standard deviation between 8% and 12% (margin of error between 16% and 24%, 19 times out of 20)

Statistics Canada considers the quality indicators A, B and C to be appropriate, given the objective of the Office of the Commissioner’s observations. This statistical survey is not an opinion survey, nor is it intended to predict future results.

  • Comparison of results

Observation results are snapshots of service availability at various points of service at a specific time. Unless otherwise stated, they cannot be compared from year to year or serve to determine progress over time. The ensuing results would not be reliable, as the margins of error increase when results from separate samples are compared. However, it is reasonable to conclude that an institution must make improvements at its bilingual points of service if it obtains poor results at every observation exercise.

 
 
Observations of service by e-mail
 

Observations of service by e-mail

Objective

The observations of service to the public made by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (Office of the Commissioner) are among many tools used to measure the performance of federal institutions with respect to Part IV of the Official Languages Act (service to the public). The Office of the Commissioner observed three types of service offered by institutions: in-person, telephone and e-mail. This document explains the methodology used for e-mail observations.

E-mail service is evaluated in order to prepare report cards. The objective is to compare e-mail response rates and times in both official languages.

Scoring

The points awarded for e-mail service account for 5% of the overall report card rating and are broken down as follows:

  1. Response rates are comparable in both official languages (2.5%)
  2. Response time is comparable in both official languages (2.5%)

Methodology

The methodology was established in cooperation with Statistics Canada, which also participated in the interpretation of results.

Identical e-mails in English and French were sent to each institution during the summer and fall of 2013 to compare response rates and times. The results are therefore representative of that time period.

Unlike observations in person and by telephone, the results of which indicate service availability in the official language of the linguistic minority, e-mail observation results compare response rates in both official languages.

Note: It was not possible to evaluate e-mail service from the Canada Post Corporation or the Canada Revenue Agency. The Canada Post Corporation does not respond to information requests by e-mail unless the correspondent has an active claim or a file number. The Canada Revenue Agency does not correspond with taxpayers by e-mail.

1) Comparable response rates

The response rates in both official languages make it possible to determine whether the institution provides comparable service in English and French.

  1. Calculating response rates in English and French
    • Response rates in English: (Number of English responses received ÷ Number of English e-mails sent) × 100 = x%
    • Response rates in French: (Number of French responses received ÷ Number of French e-mails sent) × 100 = x%
  1. Determining the score
    • Comparable response rate score: Parity score - Difference in the response rates in both official languages = x%
    • Parity score = 100%
    • The parity score represents the ideal case where the response rate for English e-mails is the same as the response rate for French e-mails.
    • Take, for example, VIA Rail Canada, which provided a response in English or French for each e-mail during the observation period. Based on the calculation formula, there is no difference (0%) in the response rate, resulting in a score of 100% for comparable response rates (score equivalent to 2.5% of the overall report card rating—see Appendix A).
    • Another example is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), whose response rate was 90% in English and 40% in French. By subtracting the difference between the response rates in both official languages from the parity score, a score of 50% is obtained for comparable response rates (score equivalent to 1.25% of the overall report card rating—see Appendix A).

2) Comparable response times

The average response times for English e-mails and French e-mails make it possible to compare response times in each official language. To do this, a score is assigned that represents the proportionality or equivalency of the average response times in both official languages. Consequently, the closer the value of the proportionality coefficient is to 1, the higher the score.

  1. Calculating average response times
    • In order to reduce the effect of excessive response times on the average, the Winsorization estimation method is used, which involves determining a limit Footnote 1 (e.g., 200 hours for VIA Rail) based on the assumption that a response time exceeding that limit is the result of something other than a question of language. Therefore, any response time exceeding the limit is rounded off to that number for the purposes of calculating the average response times.
    1. Calculating the average response times for English e-mails and French e-mails
      • Average response times (hours) = Average response times total (hours) ÷ Number of responses received
    1. Calculating the difference in average response times for English e-mails and French e-mails
      • Difference between the two average response times (hours) = |Average response times for English e-mails - Average response times for French e-mails|
  1. Determining the score
    • The score is the proportionality coefficient expressed as a percentage. That value is obtained based on the average response times for e-mails in each official language. When the value is equal to 1, it means that the average response times for English e-mails is  equal to the average response times for French e-mails. In other words, the smaller the difference between the average response times in each official language, the closer the proportionality coefficient is to 1 and the higher the score.
    1. Calculating the proportionality coefficient
      • If ß (the shortest response time) is proportional to Ω (the longest response time) and µ is the proportionality coefficient, then µ = ß ÷ Ω, with ß = µ × Ω and Ω = (1 ÷ µ) × ß.
    1. Calculating the score
      • Comparable response time score: µ × 100 = x%
      • Difference between the two average response times: (Difference between the two average response times ÷ Ω) × 100 = x%
      • Consider the RCMP, for instance, for which the average response time is 75.2 hours for English e-mails and 163.9 hours for French e-mails. This results in a proportionality coefficient of 0.46, which corresponds to a score of 46% (75.2 ÷ 163.9 × 100 = 46%). The difference of 88.7 hours between the two averages corresponds to a proportional difference of 54% (163.9 - 75.2 = 88.7 hours; 88.7 ÷ 163.9 × 100 = 54%). The weight of this score in the report card is 1.15% (46% × 2.5% ÷ 100 = 1.15%) out of 2.5% (see Appendix A).
      • As another example, consider VIA Rail, for which the average response times is 62.7 hours for English e‑mails and 83.3 hours for French e-mails. That results in a proportionality coefficient of 0.75, which corresponds to a score of 75% (62.7 ÷ 83.3 x 100 = 75%). Furthermore, the difference of 20.6 hours between the two averages corresponds to a proportional difference of 25% (83.3 - 62.7 = 20.6 hours; 20.6 ÷ 83.3 x 100 = 25%). The weight of this score in the report card is 1.9% (75% x 2.5% ÷ 100 = 1.9%) out of 2.5% (see Appendix A).

Appendix A

E-mail Service Observations 2013–2014 Report Cards
Institution Service Availability Response Times Overall score out of 5% (in report card)
Response rate in English Response rate in French Service availability score Score out of 2.5%
(in report card)
Average response time in English Average response time in French Difference between average response times
(hours)
Difference between average response times
(%)
Response time score Score out of 2.5%
(in report card)
Canada Post Corporation N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Canada Revenue Agency N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Correctional Service Canada 100% 100% 100% 2.5% 100.9 hours 153.8 hours 52.9 hours 34% 66% 1.65% 4.2%
Public Health Agency of Canada 100% 100% 100% 2.5% 222.7 hours 213.8 hours 8.9 hours 4% 96% 2.4% 4.9%
Royal Canadian Mounted Police 90% 40% 50% 1.25% 75.2 hours 163.9 hours 88.7 hours 54% 46% 1.15% 2.4%
Statistics Canada 100% 90% 90% 2.25% 38.2 hours 42.9 hours 4.7 hours 11% 89% 2.23% 4.5%
VIA Rail Canada 100% 100% 100% 2.5% 62.7 hours 83.3 hours 20.6 hours 25% 75% 1.9% 4.4%

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Because response times vary for each institution, the limits also vary: RCMP = 400; VIA = 200.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

 

Institutions

Canada Post Corporation
2013–2014 Report Card
Canada Post Corporation
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) B

The Canada Post Corporation (Canada Post) was established to operate a postal service for the collection, transmission and delivery of messages, information, funds and goods both within Canada and between Canada and other countries. It strives to provide innovative physical and electronic delivery solutions, creating value for all Canadians.

Canada Post has an action plan for 2013–2014 on the implementation of Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act). The action plan contains targeted measures to address previously identified shortcomings, such as measures to improve the active offer and availability of service in both official languages and to create a work environment conducive to the use of both official languages. However, the plan does not contain implementation timelines, nor does it identify who is responsible for each action. Canada Post did develop other tools and documents to track the progress of individual items in its action plan. For instance, it uses compliance quarterly reports to inform all general managers about any issues of non-compliance and ensure a timely follow-up. In addition, an official languages policy compliance report is submitted to the Board of Directors annually, which helps ensure the visibility of the program to senior executives and the Board. In 2013, the compliance group held monthly meetings with Canada Post’s Official Languages Champion to discuss official languages issues. Canada Post also developed a practice of making its annual reports and action plans regarding Part VII easily accessible to official language minority communities (OLMCs) through its Web site. These documents are also sent to OLMCs by e-mail for their information and input.

The 2013–2014 action plan was reviewed by senior management and approved in June 2013.

Despite all the measures that Canada Post has put in place to track the progress of the action plan items, its action plan remains incomplete without an implementation schedule or the identification of responsible parties. We therefore encourage Canada Post to integrate the specific steps it took, including dates and responsible parties, into an overarching action plan in order to ensure successful implementation and progress tracking.

Canada Post is usually able to provide requested documentation within a given timeframe and fully cooperates with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the complaint resolution process. Several meetings were held between the Office of the Commissioner and Canada Post representatives during the past year to find sustainable solutions for full compliance with the Act.

Canada Post has developed tools and procedures to consider the impact of its major decisions—such as closing an office or eliminating a service or program—on the vitality of OLMCs. The impact assessment process is outlined in the Canadian Postal Service Charter, which provides guidelines on how to proceed during office closure, move or amalgamation. The retail department has also established a consultation process that takes into account OLMCs, local dynamics, the retail network and sales. To ensure that Canada Post meets its obligations under the Act, its compliance team provides advice and guidance to internal clients for a periodic review of new and existing programs and initiatives.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) B

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of in-person service between May and September 2013, a visual active offer was present in 100% of cases, an active offer in person was made by staff in 36% of cases and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 86% of cases. Compared to the results of the 2008–2009 report card exercise, Canada Post’s performance improved in terms of both the visual active offer and the active offer in person. However, its score for active offer in person remained low, as clients were greeted in both official languages only 36% of the time. While its exemplary performance in terms of the visual active offer is commendable and should be maintained, Canada Post must work toward ensuring that the active offer in person is systematically made and that service is available in both official languages at all times.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service between May and September 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 91% of cases, and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 99% of cases. Canada Post is encouraged to maintain its efforts in this area.

The Office of the Commissioner did not conduct observations of e-mail service provided by Canada Post in 2013.

Canada Post continues to examine the impact of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the DesRochers case when evaluating its programs and services. Through an informal process, the institution has been using the Treasury Board Secretariat’s analytical grid to assess its national and regional programs and to factor in the specific features of OLMCs. Managers responsible for developing new products and programs meet regularly and use the grid to analyze the impact of the DesRochers decision. For instance, the principle of substantive equality is taken into consideration when placing local job ads or during the advertising campaign for the Aboriginal Education Incentive Awards. Canada Post is currently developing a process to formalize the application of the Supreme Court of Canada in its DesRochers decision, in early 2014.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

Canada Post has several measures in place to foster the creation of a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages. A communication plan aims to increase awareness among managers and employees of their rights and obligations in terms of language of work. Other tools developed by Canada Post include a checklist for bilingual meetings, reminders to supervisors about bilingual meetings, official languages e-learning and messages from the Official Languages Champion regarding communications.

To evaluate the effectiveness of its measures to promote the use of the minority official language at work, Canada Post uses its complaints and inquiries tracking system to monitor internal complaints and inquiries from employees. Monthly reports are then produced and submitted to senior management. Although monitoring complaints and inquiries is a good initiative, Canada Post could benefit from a more proactive approach in assessing its language-of-work measures.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) E

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically, those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating Canada Post’s performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 1.2% of Canada Post’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 25.6% of Canada Post’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 7.8% of Canada Post’s workforce is Anglophone.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

Canada Post has introduced several tools to promote awareness of its Part VI obligations among hiring managers and human resources personnel. For example, documents developed by its Policy and Practice Centre, such as Hiring Practice, Hiring Manager’s Guide to Official Languages and Staff Selection and Language Requirements of Positions and Staffing Bilingual Positions, contain references to Canada Post’s official languages policy and the Act and remind employees of Canada Post’s obligations under Part VI. To encourage Anglophones and Francophones in minority communities to work for Canada Post, job openings are regularly broadcast in OLMCs across the country, a practice that also includes advertisements in the press of the official language minority and post-secondary institutions. However, as the statistics above show, Canada Post needs to increase its efforts to attract more Anglophone employees in Quebec and Francophone employees outside Quebec. This underrepresentation should be addressed through targeted measures.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) A

Canada Post has identified the OLMCs in each province and territory, as well as a contact person for each. The official languages team frequently conducts research of OLMC Web sites to ensure regular monitoring of OLMC activities. Canada Post has also established an ongoing dialogue with OLMCs and maintains regular contact with them by sharing relevant information about its activities, programs and initiatives (e.g., Canada Post activity reports and action plans regarding the implementation of section 41 of the Act).

Canada Post contributes to the vitality and development of OLMCs by making a special effort to target these communities in the context of its broader initiatives, such as the Aboriginal Education Incentive Awards program, the Santa letter-writing program or the Canada Post Community Foundation. These activities stem directly from the consultations held with the communities and address the identified needs, such as literacy. In 2012, for example, two Aboriginal Education Incentive Awards of $1,000 were presented to members of English-speaking communities in Quebec as a result of a promotional campaign targeting OLMCs.

In 2012–2013, Canada Post participated in several meetings and conferences on official languages with the Network of National Section 41 Coordinators and the Official Languages Interdepartmental Network. In addition, several consultations and meetings to discuss possible partnerships were held with OLMC organizations such as the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, La Fédération culturelle acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse, and the Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada (FAAFC). For instance, in January 2013, Canada Post hosted a meeting with the FAAFC to discuss partnership opportunities with the Heritage Club, which participates in activities supporting the community. Following that meeting, two potential partnerships were proposed by the FAAFC, and work is currently underway to produce sustainable results.

Canada Post also works closely with the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN). Canada Post’s contribution of $2,000 made it one of the Gold Partners of the 2013 Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award ceremony, a QCGN initiative. Because the QCGN plays a vital role in supporting Quebec’s English-speaking communities, Canada Post’s contribution helps the QCGN to achieve its goals.

Canada Post regularly advertises its job openings in OLMCs across the country in the official language minority press and post-secondary institutions—a practice that contributes to the development of these communities by providing them with employment opportunities and helps Canada Post achieve its objectives regarding equitable representation of both language groups in the workforce.

In March 2011, Canada Post received an Official Languages Excellence Award from the Pacific Federal Council for its contribution to the advancement of official languages in British Columbia by increasing the bilingual capacity of its Vancouver retail network during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

With regard to promoting linguistic duality, Canada Post issues some 70 stamps every year as part of its Stamp Program. All Canadians are encouraged to submit stamp proposals, and selection is usually based on the celebration or promotion of Canada—its heroes, remarkable people, heritage, traditions and achievements. OLMC members are informed about this program through regular communications and are encouraged to submit their proposals. As part of the 2012 celebration of the year of the Fransaskois, Canada Post issued a stamp on February 23 featuring three works by Joe Fafard, a Canadian sculptor born and raised in the French-speaking community of Ste-Marthe-Rocanville, Saskatchewan.

Canada Post celebrates Les Rendez-vous de la francophonie throughout the country. In Ottawa, as part of the 2013 celebration, Canada Post set up an exhibit on Ontario’s Francophonie during the two weeks of the event and organized various activities to promote La Francophonie (including the presentation of the movie French Immersion: C'est la faute à Trudeau). Canada Post also actively supports Linguistic Duality Day and, in 2013, organized various activities to encourage employee participation, such as the Linguistic Duality Quiz, French-Canadian folklore entertainers, a movie screening and an exhibition of cartoons in the Rotunda portraying key events that have shaped linguistic duality.

Canada Post assesses the impact of the measures it takes for both development of OLMCs and promotion of both official languages through the feedback it receives from the communities. Canada Post has developed mechanisms, such as the complaints and inquiries tracking system, to monitor its initiatives and programs and determine their possible impact on the promotion of both official languages and on the vitality of OLMCs.

Canada Post demonstrates a strong commitment to fostering the development of OLMCs and the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society through a variety of measures and activities. Its efforts are commendable and it is encouraged to build on its initiatives in that area.

Conclusion  

This assessment of Canada Post’s compliance with various aspects of the Act revealed that the institution is committed to meeting its obligations. Its continuous efforts in the area of official languages resulted in an overall rating of “B.” Three of the evaluated areas require some improvements: development of a comprehensive official languages action plan; improvement of the in-person active offer of service in both official languages; and development of a proactive approach to assess language-of-work measures. Two of the evaluated areas—Parts VI and VII—stood out for different reasons: the former, because Canada Post fell short of the equitable participation rates for Anglophones in Quebec and for Francophones outside Quebec, thus requiring more effective targeted measures to encourage their participation within the institution; and the latter, because of Canada Post’s exemplary performance in this area and the variety of measures it has implemented to foster the development of OLMCs and promote English and French in Canada.

Overall Rating B
 
 
Canada Revenue Agency
2013–2014 Report Card
Canada Revenue Agency
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) A

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) deals with taxpayers, such as individuals, businesses, charities and not-for-profit organizations, who file tax returns in order to receive benefits or to provide information about their organization.

The CRA has an action plan for 2011–2014 that addresses Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act). The CRA’s action plan outlines objectives, expected outcomes and measures taken to address previously identified shortcomings. These measures include reviewing the linguistic profiles of bilingual positions, offering second language training and retention sessions, increasing bilingual recruitment efforts, establishing a monitoring framework for Part IV, delivering targeted communications to increase awareness of Part V, providing tools and tips for conducting bilingual meetings, developing recognition strategies and offering an on-line course called Official Languages and You, in particular to raise awareness of the responsibilities under Part VII. The CRA’s action plan not only defines specific goals and expected results; it also establishes the criteria for measuring progress toward those goals.

The results of monitoring exercises are documented, and the Official Languages Champion reports the findings to the Regional/Branch Management Committee or Assistant Commissioner, as appropriate. When shortcomings are identified, management is required to develop an action plan that includes corrective measures to be taken within two months of the report.

At the end of each year, regions and branches report on progress made regarding the measures outlined in the action plan, and this information is consolidated in CRA’s annual report on official languages for a subsequent presentation to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) and the Board of Management. This presentation is delivered annually to senior management. The CRA submitted a copy of its annual report on official languages to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. The report shows that the CRA has made strides toward implementing the objectives set out in its action plan, and that it continues to focus on improving results and meeting its obligations under all parts of the Act.

The CRA also adapts its monitoring efforts on an ongoing basis. It has developed tools and procedures to assess the impact of its major decisions—such as the creation, elimination or modification of policies or programs—on official language minority communities (OLMCs), which demonstrates its Part VII reflex concerning OLMCs and the promotion of linguistic duality.

In the fall of 2013, the Assistant Commissioner of the Human Resources Branch engaged the AMC to highlight the importance of the CRA’s legislative responsibilities under Part VII. As a result, it was agreed that the CRA’s business planning cycle is a natural venue and fit for official languages and that the Agency should integrate Part VII considerations into existing governance structures. In the fall of 2013, the CRA began to document these discussions, which are ongoing and have been integrated into the CRA’s business cycle, policy and operations.

The CRA usually cooperates fully with the Office of the Commissioner in the complaint resolution process. On more than one occasion, however, it has been difficult to obtain all of the information required to complete the investigation.

The CRA has a strong action plan for 2011–2014 and an efficient monitoring mechanism in its offices across the country. Shortcomings are addressed as they arise. The support of CRA staff is crucial in the investigation of complaints, however. The CRA is encouraged to improve its support and cooperation to ensure that all complaints are resolved in a timely manner. Overall, the CRA’s program management reflects its strong commitment to official languages.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) A

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of in-person service during the summer and fall of 2013, a visual active offer was present in 99% of cases, an active offer in person was made by staff in 70% of cases and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 90% of cases. There was a statistically significant increase in the active offer score, from 25% in the 2008–2009 report card exercise to 70% in 2013–2014.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service during the spring and summer of 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 90% of cases, and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 96% of cases. These scores are slightly lower than those obtained in 2008–2009 (100% and 98%, respectively).

The Office of the Commissioner did not conduct observations of e-mail service provided by the CRA because the Agency does not correspond with taxpayers by e-mail.

The CRA is aware of the concept of substantive equality, as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in its DesRochers decision. The CRA has used the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Analytical Grid for Analysing Federal Services and Programs in Light of the Principle of Substantive Equality to assess its services in order to ensure that the principle of substantive equality is applied and that specific OLMC needs are addressed. The principle of substantive equality is now integrated in all CRA tools on official languages, especially the on-line course called Official Languages and You.

The Office of the Commissioner’s observation exercise demonstrates that the CRA scored very well with respect to its obligations under Part IV of the Act (communications with and services to the public).

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

In regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, the CRA has taken measures to promote the use of the minority official language in the workplace (e.g., a registry of employees’ language preferences, language training and retention, and reminders about language rights).

In its offices across the country, the CRA offers a variety of activities to foster the creation of a workplace conducive to the use of both official languages. For example, the Nova Scotia Tax Services Office offers program-related training to employees in their second official language. The Kitchener/Waterloo Tax Services Office provides weekly training to employees through on-line French courses. The Laval Tax Services Office has an initiative called “C’est mercredi, why not?” to encourage employees to express themselves in their second official language. The Winnipeg Compensation Client Service Centre helps employees prepare for second-language evaluation tests by providing practice tests. At headquarters, the Information Technology Branch created and posted a list of commonly used bilingual messages to help employees use both official languages in their daily communications.

These are just a few examples of the measures the CRA has implemented to create a bilingual work environment in its offices across the country.

The CRA has not, however, established mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of its language-of-work measures.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) A

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically, those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating the CRA’s performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 4.9% of the CRA’s workforce was Francophone as of March 31, 2013.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 31.4% of the CRA’s workforce was Francophone as of March 31, 2013.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 11.7% of the CRA’s workforce was Anglophone as of March 31, 2013.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

Since its previous report card in 2008–2009, the CRA has made progress in building a workplace where Anglophone and Francophone minorities are represented in greater numbers. The CRA carries out extensive outreach activities to encourage members of English and French linguistic minority communities to take part in recruitment events. In 2012–2013 alone, the CRA participated in approximately 100 recruitment events at post-secondary institutions across the country, using these opportunities to encourage students (including those from OLMCs) to consider and seek employment at the Agency.

Some key regional recruitment activities are taking place in Quebec, where in the past the percentage of English-speaking CRA employees was notably lower than that of Quebec’s Anglophone population. The CRA’s Quebec Region has invested in strategic recruitment and outreach with OLMCs. It has appointed a student ambassador at the St. Lawrence campus of Champlain Regional College, whose primary responsibility is to promote career possibilities and advantages of working at the CRA. The CRA’s Quebec regional resourcing advisor maintains contact with the student placement services at McGill University and Concordia University to keep them informed of student hiring opportunities. In partnership with McGill University and Dawson College, Quebec’s regional call centre recruits English-speaking students for its work-study programs. As a result of these and other efforts, progress has been made in attracting more Anglophone employees in Quebec.

The CRA’s Ontario Region continues to attend career fairs, conduct external recruitment activities and encourage French-speaking members of OLMCs to seek employment at the CRA. It also uses these opportunities to strengthen ties with the OLMCs. Last year, the Ontario Region recruited French co-op students from the University of Ottawa and Gatineau’s Université du Québec en Outaouais and participated in a job fair at the Collège Boréal in Sudbury.

According to the CRA, recent measures under the government-wide deficit reduction action plan have dramatically limited its external recruitment efforts. As a result of measures announced in recent federal budgets—including Budget 2013, in which the Agency was targeted with additional budgetary reductions—the CRA’s baseline budget has been reduced by more than 3,000 full-time equivalent positions. After introducing a national staffing management plan that included increased attention to staffing vacant positions (primarily related to attrition), the CRA has been extremely successful in placing most affected personnel in other positions. This, in turn, has allowed the CRA to maintain its bilingual capacity.

The CRA has also developed various communications products to increase awareness among employees of its responsibilities with respect to Part VI of the Act.

The CRA has improved its performance in terms of equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians within its workforce. Given the recent government-wide budget cuts, the CRA is to be commended for its efforts to achieve equitable representation and to maintain its bilingual capacity. However, as the statistics above show, the CRA needs to continue in its efforts to attract more Anglophone employees in Quebec and Francophone employees in the NCR.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

The CRA has identified the OLMCs and OLMC organizations in each region. It is up to the head of each program to determine the impact on OLMCs and identify their needs. Through specific surveys containing very structured, targeted questions, CRA regions and branches request and receive feedback from OLMC organizations about how services are delivered and what challenges the OLMCs face with respect to the CRA and its programs. To determine OLMC needs, the surveys identify the impacts of program changes on OLMCs. The surveys also include a question on activities relating to the administration of tax, benefits and related programs in order to find out what the OLMCs’ general needs are for possible projects or priorities associated with a program. Regular meetings are held with the CRA’s Agency Transformation Office, its regional and branch directors and its Human Resources Branch to remind program areas to consider the impacts of program changes on official languages. Procedures also take into account the impact of the branches’ major decisions—such as creating, eliminating or changing policies or programs—on OLMCs.

The relationship between the CRA and OLMCs (as a group) is a partnership. One example of how the CRA has partnered with the OLMCs was the one-day consultation session it held with OLMC representatives, under the auspices of the Pacific Federal Council. The session included workshops to collect information and encourage constructive dialogue. The CRA again partnered with the Fédération des francophones de la Colombie-Britannique for the processing and the analysis of the questionnaires. The Pacific Federal Council used the information from the questionnaires and the workshop discussions to develop an action plan to explore specific themes that will benefit OLMCs.

The CRA conducts extensive outreach with various OLMCs throughout the year, the purpose of which is to educate, inform and promote CRA programs and services and to increase awareness of and encourage voluntary compliance. It tailors its outreach activities to meet the needs of various audiences. For example, it identified and responded to OLMC needs in Manitoba in terms of tax and benefit programs and services. A CRA team leader had invited Pluri-elles, an OLMC association, to attend a French information session at the Accueil francophone, an organization that provides settlement and integration services to French-speaking immigrants and refugees. Pluri-elles asked to have the session at its own offices, and so the CRA ensured that the necessary arrangements were made to accommodate the request.

In 2012–2013, the CRA conducted 46 OLMC outreach sessions in person. Because of their relatively small population size, OLMCs may not have access to in-person seminars that require a minimum attendance. This meant that the CRA had to take action—such as lowering the attendance requirement for the OLMCs or increasing outreach contact to the OLMCs to inform them of the seminars. The CRA also delivers on-line information sessions and webinars and provides e-tools to OLMCs. This has helped ensure and promote equal service to both language groups. Videos and webinars assist communities in remote parts of the country to connect and engage, regardless of location.

In its previous report card exercise in 2008–2009, the CRA had permanent mechanisms in place to ensure that the promotion of linguistic duality and support for the development of OLMCs were taken into account when it comes to strategic planning and program and policy development. In February 2009, the CRA’s National Committee of Champions of Official Languages established a sub-committee to clearly define the Agency’s responsibilities under Part VII of the Act and to integrate Part VII into the CRA’s corporate culture. The sub-committee’s objective was to determine how the CRA could strengthen ties with OLMCs and consider their needs through the CRA’s continuing activities in the areas of supporting the development of OLMCs and enhancing their vitality. This is an improvement since the CRA’s last report card.

The CRA does not have impact assessment tools to evaluate the positive measures it has taken for the development of OLMCs and the promotion of linguistic duality.

The CRA’s proactive involvement in OLMC development demonstrates that it has a good Part VII reflex. Assessing the impacts of its positive measures—such as specific and direct impacts on OLMCs—would be beneficial to the CRA so that it could identify where improvements or modifications could be made.

Conclusion  

This assessment of the CRA’s compliance with various aspects of the Act shows that the institution is committed to meeting its obligations. The CRA obtained commendable scores in three of the evaluated areas—program management, service to the public and equitable participation. There is still room for improvement, however, especially when it comes to cooperating with complaint investigations and making the active offer in person. The CRA has conducted extensive recruitment activities to improve its performance in terms of equitable representation of English- and French-speaking Canadians within its workforce, and it needs to continue in its efforts to attract more Anglophone employees in Quebec and Francophone employees in the NCR. It has also implemented a wide variety of language-of-work measures for its employees across the country. However, the institution would benefit from mechanisms to assess the effectiveness of these measures. It would also benefit from assessing the impacts of its positive measures on OLMC development and the promotion of linguistic duality.

Overall Rating B
 
 
Correctional Service Canada
2013–2014 Report Card
Correctional Service Canada
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) A

Correctional Service Canada (CSC) is the federal government agency responsible for administering the sentences of offenders serving a term of two or more years, as imposed by the court. CSC provides a variety of programs for offenders—both within its institutions and on parole in the community—to help them successfully reintegrate into society as law-abiding citizens.

CSC has an official languages action plan that covers the period from 2011 to 2014. This action plan complements CSC’s Improvement Action Plan, which was developed to improve the institution’s official languages performance following the release of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ report card in the fall of 2010.

The 2011–2014 Action Plan contains targeted measures to address the shortcomings within the institution identified in the Office of the Commissioner’s 2010 report card and in its 2012 follow-up to the Audit of Direct Health Care Services by Four Federal Institutions. The plan includes specific activities to make sure that the stated objectives are met and that the expected results are achieved. It also has implementation timelines and identifies who is responsible for each measure.

CSC’s Action Plan has two main components. The first component focuses on improving CSC’s compliance under the Official Languages Act (the Act), particularly with regard to Part IV (communications with and services to the public), Part V (language of work) and Part VI (participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians). CSC’s Human Resource Management Sector is responsible for this component of the Action Plan. The second component focuses on CSC’s obligations under Part VII of the Act, which deals with enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities (OLMCs) and promoting linguistic duality. CSC’s Communications and Engagement Sector is responsible for this component of the Action Plan.

As detailed in its 2013 Action Plan Progress Report, CSC has made considerable strides in implementing the objectives set out in the Action Plan. Some activities have already been completed, such as integrating official languages objectives into CSC’s Strategic Plan. Others are currently at the approval stage, such as the guide for managers called Official Languages and HR Activities. There are also many recurring activities that will continue to be implemented on an ongoing basis, such as monitoring active offer every month, participating in career fairs at English-language universities in Quebec to increase the number of English-speaking employees in the region, and verifying that administrative offices, penitentiaries, parole offices and community correctional centres are using the Treasury Board Secretariat’s analytical grid to ensure that the principle of substantive equality (as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in its DesRochers decision) is being applied.

CSC’s Official Languages Leadership Committee oversees the implementation of the official languages program within the organization. The Leadership Committee is chaired by CSC’s national official languages champion, who is also the Senior Deputy Commissioner, and meets on a quarterly basis to review and discuss official languages concerns and initiatives. Official languages objectives are included in performance agreements for assistant commissioners and regional assistant commissioners.

Whenever CSC develops or modifies policies, there is a consultation stage with all affected parties, including OLMCs, and all policies must be regularly examined according to an internal tool called How to Develop Policy at CSC. Similarly, every time a parole office is relocated or a community correctional centre is opened or closed, there are clear processes in place to consult with the affected communities, which include OLMCs.

With regard to the Office of the Commissioner’s complaint resolution process, CSC often has difficulty producing documentation within a reasonable timeframe in order to resolve complaints. However, since the previous report card in 2010, CSC has developed an internal complaint resolution procedure, and progress has been made in all regions over the past 18 months. Nevertheless, there is still room for improvement.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) B

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of in-person service during the winter of 2013–2014, a visual active offer was present in 94% of cases, an active offer in person was made by staff in 46% of cases and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 63% of cases.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service during the fall of 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 91% of cases, and service in the language of the linguistic minority was available in 75% of cases.

The Office of the Commissioner’s observations of e-mail service during the fall of 2013 resulted in a response rate of 100% for e-mails sent in English and 100% for e-mails sent in French. However, in terms of comparable timeframes, responses in French took an average of 52.9 hours longer than those in English. This represents a difference of 34%.

For a few months in 2011, CSC established a cross-sectorial working group at the management level to oversee the application of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the DesRochers case within the organization. The working group was supported by a lawyer from CSC’s Legal Services Sector. Contracting practices have been updated by Legal Services to comply with the decision, and CSC’s programs and services have been evaluated using the Treasury Board Secretariat’s analytical grid to ensure compliance with the principle of substantive equality.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) A

CSC has introduced a number of measures to foster the use of both official languages in the workplace. A guide called Official Languages and Human Resources Activities is currently in the consultation stage. This guide will help managers and human resources advisors to be objective when identifying the language requirements of positions. In addition, a tool called Language of Work in Bilingual and Unilingual Regions was recently approved and distributed to all CSC employees through the Infonet. This tool describes language-of-work rights and obligations, informs employees about how and where to file language-of-work complaints, specifies the language of communication between regions, and identifies designated bilingual offices across Canada.

Following the publication of the 2011–2014 Action Plan, two posters have been developed to promote language-of-work rights. One encourages employees to speak in the official language of their choice in the workplace and the other reminds employees of things to think about when chairing bilingual meetings. These posters are permanently displayed in main boardrooms across regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes.

CSC indicates that the Learning and Development Branch regularly provides all of its training courses in both official languages to ensure that employees have the opportunity to be trained in the language of their choice. There is a regular follow-up in the form of a quarterly review to ensure that the timeline for meeting the linguistic profile of a particular position is respected. CSC also provides developmental language training when financial resources allow. The objective is to help employees maintain and improve their language skills as part of their personal learning plan.

Although CSC does not assess the results of these measures systematically, it has conducted in-house surveys during specific events, such as National Learning Day or Public Service Week, to evaluate employee satisfaction in terms of language of work. The most recent survey was conducted in March 2011, during the Headquarters’ Learning Day, and the findings were used to make changes in all regions. Despite the number of measures that have been implemented to foster the use of both official languages in the workplace, more efforts should be made to evaluate the measures on a regular basis.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) C

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically, those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating CSC’s performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 6.3% of CSC’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 47.1% of CSC’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 2.6% of CSC’s workforce is Anglophone.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

As these figures show, while CSC has been successful in ensuring equitable participation of members of the French-speaking minority communities, it has faced challenges with regard to Anglophone participation in Quebec, which is more than 10 percentage points below the proportion reported by the Census.

In CSC’s Improvement Action Plan, as well as its 2011–2014 Action Plan, there are specific objectives and activities to increase Anglophone participation in Quebec, which currently does not reflect the presence of this community in this part of Canada. For example, to increase the number of English-speaking CSC employees in Quebec, the organization’s Quebec region has been participating in career fairs at English-language universities in the province. CSC is encouraged to continue these recruitment activities in Quebec.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) D

CSC has identified the OLMCs in each province and territory across the country. It has reached out to OLMC organizations, such as the Association canadienne-française de l’Ontario – Conseil régional des Mille-Îles (ACFOMI), to discuss Francophone outreach as well as employment and volunteer opportunities in the region. CSC shared with ACFOMI’s Employment Services a list of forecasted external recruitment processes for 2011–2012 in the Ontario region. CSC has also established communications with other OLMC organizations by including them on the Citizen Engagement Directorate’s e-mail distribution list. In September 2011, several OLMC organizations were invited to CSC’s Executive Development Symposium Partners Day. The Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) actively participated in this event, which was an opportunity for CSC to enhance OLMCs’ understanding of its mandate. CSC is encouraged to continue to provide these opportunities for dialogue.

CSC also consults with OLMCs through its National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee and its five Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees. These committees have been created to serve as a forum for developing and providing advice to CSC regarding programs and services for the reintegration of offenders belonging to an ethnocultural community. Some of the committee members are representatives of OLMC organizations in the regions, which include the Alliance Jeunesse-Famille de l’Alberta Society (Prairie region).

Although there is no structured process to consult with OLMCs, CSC has developed consultation guidelines to ensure that community groups are consulted prior to any establishment or relocation of community correctional centres or parole offices. These community groups often include OLMCs, but the guidelines do not mention them specifically. CSC is encouraged to include specific mention of OLMCs in its consultation guidelines, as well as the particular considerations to take into account when consulting these communities. Emphasis should also be placed on identifying the specific needs of OLMCs.

In an effort to increase cooperation with other federal institutions engaged in Part VII activities, CSC is actively involved in the Justice and Security Network, a group of 10 federal departments and agencies whose mandate is to examine issues related to justice, security and official languages. Through this network, CSC has established contact with associations such as La Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française and the FCFA. Furthermore, CSC has met several times with the Canadian Heritage-led interdepartmental committee on Part VII in an effort to better understand its commitments under Part VII and to develop a structured and coordinated approach for consulting with OLMCs so that it can better identify their needs.

CSC has taken positive measures to foster the development of OLMCs. In June 2013, CSC’s Atlantic region formed a new partnership with the Université de Moncton to establish the first French-language criminology minor program in the Atlantic provinces. Under this partnership, three CSC employees teach criminology courses at the Université de Moncton one day a week during the academic year. Another initiative consists of a 10-week exchange in which an employee of the Atlantic region worked with the Fédération des femmes acadiennes de la Nouvelle-Écosse on the project called “La violence, ça suffit !” (Violence, that’s enough!). However, these measures are limited to one region in Canada.

CSC’s positive measures in terms of fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society are limited in scope and include the promotion of Linguistic Duality Day and the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie on its internal and external Web sites and encouraging its employees to participate in various activities associated with these events.

CSC has introduced some assessment tools to evaluate the impact of its positive measures to foster the development of OLMCs, but it cannot demonstrate concrete results. A generic questionnaire was distributed to participants at the end of the Partners Day event at the most recent Executive Development Symposium in 2011, and class evaluations will be used to assess the partnership with the Université de Moncton. However, CSC does not evaluate the impact of positive measures to promote the equal status and use of both English and French in Canadian society, however limited these are.

Although CSC has made significant efforts to improve its Part VII performance, there is no specific mention of OLMCs in its consultation guidelines, and the needs of these communities are not identified. CSC has implemented positive measures to foster the development of OLMCs, but in only one Canadian region: the Atlantic provinces. And although CSC has promoted linguistic duality in Canadian society by encouraging its employees to participate in various activities associated with specific events, it has neither designed nor used formal tools to assess the impact of these positive measures or of its positive measures to foster the development of OLMCs.

Conclusion  

This assessment of CSC’s compliance with various aspects of the Official Languages Act showed that the institution’s overall performance in terms of official languages has improved since its previous report card in 2010. CSC committed to improving its previous results and demonstrated this by developing and implementing targeted measures to address some of its shortcomings. Notable progress has been identified with respect to active offer and the availability of service in both official languages by telephone, as well as measures to foster the use of English and French in the workplace. In addition, CSC is organizing recruitment activities in Quebec to increase the proportion of English-speaking employees in that region, which is still low.

There is still room for improvement, however, in terms of active offer in person, the availability of service in both official languages and providing prompt documentation to the Office of the Commissioner in the resolution of complaints. With regard to Part VII, CSC is encouraged to include specific mention of OLMCs in its consultation guidelines and identify the needs of these particular communities. We would like to highlight the positive measures CSC has implemented to foster the development of OLMCs. These are concrete actions that fall within CSC’s mandate while also aiming to enhance the vitality of OLMCs. CSC is encouraged to expand these positive measures—which are currently limited to the Atlantic region—to benefit the rest of Canada. It is also encouraged to improve its performance in terms of taking positive measures to promote linguistic duality in Canadian society. In addition, CSC needs to design and implement formal tools to assess the impact of its positive measures, which will benefit both the institution and the OLMCs.

Overall Rating B
 
 
Public Health Agency of Canada
2013–2014 Report Card
Public Health Agency of Canada
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) C

The Public Health Agency of Canada (the Agency) protects the health and safety of all Canadians. Its activities focus on preventing chronic diseases, like cancer and heart disease, and responding to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks. In 2012, major changes were made at the Agency when a number of its central services were harmonized with Health Canada’s, including human resources, which is responsible for the official languages program. Despite the harmonization, the Agency’s deputy head is still responsible and accountable for all functions provided within the shared services partnership. The Agency remains a separate entity, with its own deputy head, mandate and important legislative responsibilities.

The Agency had an official languages action plan for 2012–2013. This plan was merged with Health Canada’s, and the deadlines were extended until 2014. The plan establishes objectives, measures, deadlines and responsibilities, and sets out obligations under Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (the Act). The Agency does not have an up-to-date action plan for Part VII. Although the goal of the existing plan is to help it meet its official languages responsibilities, the Agency would benefit from expanding the plan to include more detailed objectives and targeted measures tailored to address the shortcomings identified in the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ audits, complaint investigations and report cards. For example, the previous report card mentioned that developing policies on service to the public and language of work would be a priority in 2008–2009, but this has not been confirmed or included in the action plan that was extended until 2014. The Agency would also benefit from establishing a follow-up report for each of its initiatives in order to measure progress.

The Agency stated that not all efforts could be made over the past year as planned to implement the action plan. The Human Resources Directorate has been preoccupied with matters related to the harmonization of its services with Health Canada’s, such as the reduced structure, internal functions, office locations and the number of external advisory bodies. Since the harmonization, the two institutions have been reviewing their practices and developing an official languages action plan that reflects the unique characteristics of each organization.

When it comes to cooperating with the Office of the Commissioner’s complaint resolution process, the Agency has been having difficulty producing the required documentation within a reasonable timeframe. Managers from different parts of the organization need to pay particular attention to corrective actions proposed by those responsible for the official languages program in order to be proactive and take concrete measures to address problems raised in the complaint investigations.

Even though the Agency has been focusing its efforts since 2012 on harmonizing its services with Health Canada’s, it has succeeded in developing tools and procedures to consider the impact of its major decisions—such as the creation, elimination or modification of policies or programs—on official language minority communities (OLMCs). The submission guide the Agency currently uses for funding applications includes an official languages clause. The institution has also created two forms: the “Official Languages Impact Analysis” and the “Official Languages Checklist.” Documents submitted to the Treasury Board are checked by those responsible for the official languages program to assess their potential impact on OLMCs.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) A

Because the Agency did not have enough offices providing service in person when the Office of the Commissioner was conducting its observations, in-person service could not been evaluated. Therefore, statistically valid results could not be obtained for this area.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service between May and September 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 82% of cases, and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 94% of cases.

The Office of the Commissioner’s observations of e-mail service between May and September 2013 resulted in a response rate of 100% for e-mails sent in English and 100% for e-mails sent in French. In terms of comparable timeframes, responses in French took, on average, nine hours longer than those in English. This represents a difference of 4%.

In the summer of 2013, the Agency monitored service to the public by telephone in 14 of its offices that are required to provide telephone service in both official languages. The exercise revealed that improvements were needed with respect to active offer and that it is important to identify the best tools to help employees who serve the public understand the importance of systematically greeting clients in both official languages. The Agency is developing a communications strategy to address shortcomings in terms of compliance.

The Agency is aware of the concept of substantive equality. It uses the Treasury Board Secretariat’s analytical grid to ensure that its services in both official languages comply with the instructions given by the Supreme Court of Canada in its DesRochers decision. Personnel in procurement and contracting have been instructed to use the analytical grid when drawing up new contracts.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

In regions that are designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes, the Agency has taken measures to promote the use of the minority official language in the workplace.

For example, the official languages data in PeopleSoft is reviewed regularly, and official languages objectives are included in supervisors’ performance agreements. The official languages Buddy Program promotes learning of the second official language and fosters a workplace conducive to the use of both English and French. On average, 12 sets of buddies are paired up each year. Internal communications in bilingual regions and in unilingual English and unilingual French regions are sent out in both official languages simultaneously. In 2013, 11 orientation sessions that included an official languages component were given to new employees. The employee guide for new staff members is available on the intranet site. The Agency also organizes activities focused on English and French language and culture, including Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (linguistic duality day), Did you Know? Word of the Week and other awareness activities.

All of the spot checks that the Agency conducts each year, such as for the National IT Services 1-800 line, show that personal and central services are provided in both official languages. Management awareness activities are held regularly, such as meetings every two months with senior executives from the Strategic Policy, Planning and International Affairs Branch to discuss official languages issues, specifically those related to language of work.

While the Agency implements initiatives to help create a bilingual environment and encourage its employees to use the official language of their choice, it does not evaluate the impact of these initiatives on employees.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) D

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating the Agency’s performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 1.9% of the Agency’s workforce was Francophone as of March 31, 2013.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 21.4% of the Agency’s workforce was Francophone as of March 31, 2013.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 16.9% of the Agency’s workforce was Anglophone as of March 31, 2013. This is a satisfactory result, given that many other federal institutions have difficulty achieving this level of participation.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

The Agency said that it did not take specific measures to encourage OLMCs to participate in recruitment campaigns. These kinds of measures would be particularly important to increase its Francophone workforce in the NCR.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) C

The Agency works together with Health Canada’s Official Language Community Development Bureau to coordinate its responsibilities for the implementation of Part VII of the Act, including the following: strategic planning and policy development; developing a performance measurement framework; developing OLMC-specific strategic results and performance indicators with respect to promoting health; liaising with OLMCs and other key partners; liaising with the Agency’s official languages champions and coordinators as well as regional personnel, all of whom have a role to play in community development; and following up on consultations with national advisory committees.

In terms of OLMC development, the Agency produced a report and a five-year action plan to increase the vitality of Atlantic Canada’s Acadian and Francophone communities (2007-2012). The report identifies the main needs and challenges of these communities in promoting health, as well as their viewpoint and recommendations on how to improve access to the programs and services of the Agency’s Atlantic Region (PHAC Atlantic). The action plan lists a series of objectives for PHAC Atlantic as well as activities to enable it to achieve the desired outcomes. The institution has given no indication, however, of how it will follow up on the report and the action plan.

The Agency consults with the OLMCs that it has identified, in order to discuss their needs and the challenges they face. In 2012, for example, the Agency produced a dialogue report for the Official Languages Health Contribution Program after a consultation session with Francophone minority communities. It also produced two reports based on consultations with members of Quebec’s English-speaking community: The Health and Social Service Priorities of Quebec’s English-Speaking Population 2013-2018 and Public Health Challenges, Needs and Priorities of Quebec’s English-speaking Communities. These documents identify the needs and priorities of OLMCs in different parts of the country.

The members of the Atlantic region’s official languages committee participated in annual general meetings and other meetings of the key OLMC health networks in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The topics discussed at these meetings were communicated to the regional official languages and programs committee. The Agency also participated in New Brunswick’s Community-Government Exchange Table, which brings together government and community representatives and in Dialogue, which brought together representatives from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and from Francophone minority communities.

As an example of positive measures to foster OLMC development, the Agency provided bilingual resources on early childhood development to organizations in this field. This positive measure is somewhat limited, however.

The Agency only took positive measures internally to promote linguistic duality. The official languages champion gave a speech on linguistic duality to personnel in September 2013. And the Agency encouraged its employees to participate in linguistic duality activities, such as French Thursdays in the NCR and English Wednesdays in the Quebec Region. The institution would benefit from identifying positive measures to promote linguistic duality among the general population, not just its own employees.

In 2013, the Agency published a report called Evaluation of the Official Languages Health Contribution Program 2008-2012, which followed a review of that program’s relevance and performance. This report contained three recommendations that are to be implemented between March 2014 and March 2015. This initiative is an example of how the Agency measures the impact of the positive measures it has taken. However, the Agency needs to evaluate the impact of all the measures it takes to support OLMC development.

The Agency has not demonstrated that it evaluates the impact of its positive measures to promote linguistic duality, however limited these are. It needs to put mechanisms in place to evaluate this impact.

Although the needs and priorities of OLMCs are specified in various reports (studies, evaluations, consultations), the Agency would benefit from following up on these initiatives in order to measure their effectiveness. The institution needs to take this into account when it develops its Part VII action plan.

Conclusion  

The November 2012 reorganization of the Agency’s Human Resources Services does not fully explain the lack of follow-up to correct shortcomings noted in the previous report card or in the complaint investigation reports of the Office of the Commissioner.

The Agency needs to develop a solid official languages action plan, complete with solutions to shortcomings identified by the Office of the Commissioner, and conduct an annual review—with an effective follow-up mechanism—in order to report on the progress made with respect to the plan’s objectives. The Agency also needs to be proactive in resolving official languages complaints.

Although in-person observations could not be conducted, the Agency obtained good results for service by telephone and by e-mail. The Office of the Commissioner encourages the Agency to continue in this direction, and to finalize and implement the communications strategy developed in response to its telephone service monitoring exercise carried out in the summer of 2013.

The Agency also obtained good results for language of work (Part V). The institution needs to create monitoring tools to show that the two official languages are actually used in bilingual regions.

In terms of equitable participation (Part VI), the Agency should target OLMCs in its recruitment campaigns, in particular to address the Francophone workforce in the NCR.

With regard to Part VII, the Agency meets most of the criteria, but will need to follow up on its reports and action plans to contribute to the development of OLMC and the promotion of linguistic duality. It will also need to measure the impact of its positive measures.

Overall Rating C
 
 
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
2013–2014 Report Card
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) B

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the Canadian national police service. It provides a total federal policing service to all Canadians and delivers policing services under contract to the three territories, eight provinces (except Ontario and Quebec), more than 150 municipalities, more than 600 Aboriginal communities and three international airports.

The RCMP has a three-year Action Plan on Official Languages that runs from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2015. The plan focuses on improving the RCMP’s performance to achieve full compliance with the Official Languages Act (the Act), particularly with respect to Part IV (communications with and services to the public), Part V (language of work) and Part VII (advancement of English and French). The plan contains specific objectives and targeted measures to address previously identified shortcomings. It also has an implementation schedule with timelines and identifies who is responsible for each measure. Some activities related to RCMP strategic initiatives have been completed, including a review of the roles and structure of the regional official languages units, a review of the existing national and regional official languages governance structure and a review of RCMP programs and services to ensure that the principle of substantive equality (as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in its DesRochers decision) is being applied. Many other activities are underway and either will be completed by 2015 (e.g., development of an education package for the RCMP official languages network regarding roles, responsibilities and RCMP’s mandate under the Act) or are recurring and will continue to be implemented on an ongoing basis (e.g., continuing to work with the Human Resources Management Information Centre to improve official languages data monitoring and reporting systems/mechanisms).

Official languages issues are periodically brought before the Senior Executive Committee and the Human Resources Governance Committee by the Official Languages Champion. However, the Action Plan on Official Languages is not being reviewed annually by senior management. The RCMP’s monitoring mechanism focuses only on problem areas, which are periodically presented to the Senior Executive Committee for review. The RCMP is encouraged to introduce a formal annual review of its Action Plan on Official Languages to ensure that senior management receives a full progress report on all activities.

In addition to the overarching national Action Plan on Official Languages, the RCMP has developed regional action plans with measures tailored for specific regions (e.g., the Atlantic Regional Initiatives or the National Headquarters Action Plan). Similarly to the national plan, some of the activities in the regional plans have been successfully implemented or are being implemented on an ongoing basis, while others are expected to be completed by 2015.

In June 2012, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages completed a follow-up to assess the implementation of the recommendations made by the Commissioner in a July 2007 audit of direct health care services. Of the six recommendations made to the RCMP, three were fully implemented, two were partially implemented and one no longer applied.

The RCMP cooperates fully with the Office of the Commissioner in the complaint resolution process. It is usually possible to gain access to managers involved in a complaint investigation; however, it is not always possible to obtain required documentation within a given timeframe due to various circumstances, such as the complexity of the complaint or the coordinator’s workload. The RCMP is encouraged to improve its process for dealing with official languages complaints so that all complaints may be resolved in a timely manner.

The RCMP has developed tools and procedures to consider the impact of its major decisions—such as closing certain detachments—on the vitality of official language minority communities (OLMCs). For example, during the consolidation of three RCMP detachments (Rivière-Verte, Saint-Léonard and Grand Falls) in 2009, a new approach was introduced that included an impact assessment, a communications strategy, consultation with OLMCs, a report on the consultation and a survey for consultation participants. The RCMP will continue to use this approach, as needed, in the future.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) C

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of in-person service between May and September 2013, an active visual offer was present in 92% of cases, an active offer in person was made by staff in 30% of cases and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 77% of cases.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service between May and September 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 66% of cases, and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 76% of cases.

The Office of the Commissioner’s observations of e-mail service between May and September 2013 resulted in a response rate of 90% for e-mails sent in English and 40% for those sent in French. This means that the RCMP replied to 50% more e-mails in English. In terms of comparable timeframes, responses in French took, on average, 89 hours longer than those in English. This represents a difference of 54%.

With regard to service to the public in person, certain improvements were noted compared to the results of the RCMP’s 2008–2009 report card. Higher scores were obtained in 2013 for both the visual active offer and the active offer in person. Nevertheless, scores for the active offer in person and by telephone remained low, and there is also room for improvement when it comes to availability of service, both in person and by telephone. The RCMP needs to implement measures to ensure that the active offer is made systematically and that service is available in both official languages at all times. The RCMP should also strive to improve its performance in both of the criteria evaluated during the e-mail observations (response rate and timeframe).

In terms of substantive equality, the RCMP has made considerable progress in addressing the needs of OLMCs in the delivery of its services to the public. In September 2012, the Senior Executive Committee decided that the Directorate of Diversity and Official Languages would take the lead on conducting the review of RCMP programs and services in cooperation with the affected service lines. In 2012–2013, the review was successfully completed using the grid developed by the Treasury Board Secretariat for applying the principle of substantive equality to federal services and programs.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

Since the 2008–2009 report card exercise, the RCMP has implemented various measures to create a work environment conducive to the use of both official languages and to encourage the use of the minority official language in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes. These measures include a Fact Sheet on Managers’ Responsibilities for Language of Work in Bilingual Regions, a hand-out for National Division about chairing bilingual meetings and participating in bilingual meetings, an Infoweb page dedicated to Part V that contains bilingual e-mail templates and an adaptation of various Treasury Board policies and directives related to language of work.

The RCMP has also introduced several initiatives and tools related to second language training, such as the 13-week accelerated English-language training program for unilingual Francophones, Standard Operating Procedures for English as a Second Language Training for new Francophone members and an Infoweb page on second language training.

To evaluate the impact of its measures related to language of work, the RCMP uses the results of its Employee Opinion Survey, which was last conducted in 2009, and of the triennial Public Service Employee Survey, which was last conducted in 2011.

Although the RCMP has introduced a number of measures to help create a bilingual environment and to encourage its employees to use the official language of their choice, it does not systematically assess the impact of these measures. The RCMP is encouraged to develop an assessment framework to evaluate the effectiveness of its language-of-work initiatives.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) B

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically, those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating the RCMP’s performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 7.8% of the RCMP’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 40.8% of the RCMP’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 10.9% of the RCMP’s workforce is Anglophone.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

The RCMP is making considerable efforts to achieve equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians within its workforce. To promote awareness of its Part VI obligations, the RCMP created an Infoweb page dedicated to Part VI that contains a link to the Policy on Official Languages for Human Resources Management. A variety of recruitment activities in the Ontario and NCR regions contributed to an equitable representation of Francophones within the RCMP’s workforce in these regions. However, the RCMP needs to develop targeted recruitment strategies to ensure that it sustains a fair representation of Anglophones within the organization in Quebec.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

Working in partnership with diverse communities is an intrinsic part of the RCMP’s mandate and vision and is therefore reflected in the services it provides to these communities. The RCMP has identified the OLMCs and official language minority press in each region and listed them on its Infoweb in a section dedicated to Part VII of the Act. It has formal consultation mechanisms in place to ensure ongoing communication with OLMCs. For example, since 2010, the RCMP’s Directorate of Diversity and Official Languages has established a national round table and maintained ongoing communications with the Fédération des associations de juristes d’expression française de common law inc. and the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada. During these consultations, the RCMP identifies the needs of OLMCs and the specific challenges they are facing. It also discusses potential joint strategies to further support OLMC development and vitality.

The RCMP invites OLMCs to attend its annual conferences, such as the National Conference on Official Languages, and regional meetings, which fosters greater understanding of each other’s respective realities, needs and limitations. This closer relationship has made the RCMP more aware of OLMCs’ needs when making operational decisions that may have an impact on these communities.

The RCMP continues to implement some of the initiatives that it had in place during previous report card exercises, such as its membership in the Justice and Security Network (which was established in 2007 to promote and encourage the coordination of the implementation of Part VII of the Act and, more precisely, section 41) and its programs for young Canadians in OLMCs. The RCMP has also worked successfully with OLMCs to produce a welcome package for new employees in various regions who speak the minority official language. Based on consultations with OLMCs, this package contains a wealth of valuable resources and promotes the OLMCs’ various activities and initiatives while helping new RCMP members integrate into the communities. The RCMP continues its outreach activities in support of OLMC development by sharing its unique law enforcement skills and knowledge through community lectures and educational opportunities on a variety of subjects for a variety of groups.

The RCMP participates in several working groups that deal with the implementation of the Act and Part VII in particular, such as the New Brunswick Federal Council’s Official Languages Committee and Nova Scotia’s Section 41 Coordinators Network.

In January 2013, the RCMP participated in the first French-language Justice Sector Career Fair in the Greater Toronto Area, an activity that stemmed from the 2009 Forum on Vulnerable Young Francophones in Minority Communities. The career fair gave close to 200 young Francophones, most of whom are immigrants, the opportunity to meet with some 15 organizations from the justice sector. The RCMP also used this recruitment opportunity to promote and raise awareness of the benefits of a policing career in a bilingual organization where the use of English and French is an operational asset, as much for its employees as for the communities it serves.

In 2012–2013, the RCMP took part in a national French legal training course for provincial court judges, held in Caraquet, New Brunswick. The course, which is offered by the Centre canadien de français juridique inc., helps provincial court judges and others working in the justice sector to provide superior quality services to Canadians in English and in French.

The red serge of the RCMP is an iconic symbol that represents the Canadian identity. The RCMP shows its support to Canadian communities by participating in various national and regional events. For example, in honour of the 100th anniversary of Saskatchewan’s Francophone community, the Northwest Region Red Serge took part in many OLMC celebrations.

The RCMP helps to foster the full recognition and use of both English and French within its organization by promoting Linguistic Duality Day and Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie on its Infoweb and encouraging its employees to participate in various activities to showcase linguistic duality and recognize both official languages as being integral to Canadian society. Although endorsing the above-mentioned activities internally is a good start, the institution must be more proactive and direct its promotional efforts toward the general public in order to raise awareness of the importance of linguistic duality in Canadian society as a whole.

To evaluate the impact of the various measures it takes to support the development of OLMCs, the RCMP uses surveys, feedback forms and verbal feedback from the communities. However, it does not have any formal mechanisms for evaluating the impact of its initiatives related to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society. The RCMP is encouraged to adopt a consistent approach in assessing the impact of the positive measures that it implements.

The RCMP has implemented a number of measures aimed at supporting the vitality of OLMCs, and it continues to work on several previously introduced initiatives. Considering its presence and role in the communities, however, the RCMP’s contribution to fostering the full recognition of both official languages in Canadian society could be more significant. The RCMP is encouraged to be more proactive and to strive to achieve its full potential when it comes to the implementation of this aspect of Part VII of the Act.

Conclusion  

This assessment of the RCMP’s compliance with various aspects of the Act showed that, since the previous report card exercise in 2009, the institution has taken great strides toward meeting its obligations. Despite this progress, opportunities for improvement were identified in all of the evaluated areas. For the most part, the RCMP’s performance was considered good with some improvements required. More specifically, the RCMP is encouraged to:

  • conduct a formal annual review of its Action Plan on Official Languages,
  • improve its process for dealing with official languages complaints,
  • establish an assessment framework to evaluate its language-of-work initiatives,
  • develop targeted recruitment strategies to ensure that Anglophones are equitably represented within the organization in Quebec, and
  • be more proactive in taking positive measures to promote linguistic duality in Canadian society and adopt a consistent approach in evaluating their impact.

Of all areas evaluated, however, the RCMP’s performance in terms of service to the public was found to be particularly lacking. Even though progress had been made compared to the previous report card exercise, the RCMP’s scores for the active offer in person and by telephone remained low, and there is also room for improvement when it comes to availability of service, both in person and by telephone. The results of the e-mail service observations were also quite poor. The RCMP is strongly encouraged to implement measures to ensure that the active offer is made systematically and that service is available in both official languages at all times. Addressing the identified shortcomings requires sustained commitment and efforts from the RCMP.

Overall Rating B
 
 
Statistics Canada
2013–2014 Report Card
Statistics Canada
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) B

Statistics Canada’s mandate is to “collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the commercial, industrial, financial, social, economic and general activities and conditions of the people of Canada.”

Statistics Canada (StatCan) has an Official Languages Committee that has developed an annual Work Plan for Parts IV, V, VI, and VII. The most recent Work Plan covers the period from 2013 to 2014. StatCan has also developed a triennial Results-Based Action Plan for Part VII (Action Plan). The most recent Action Plan covers the period from 2011 to 2014.

The Action Plan is a detailed document, prepared by the national coordinator responsible for implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act (the Act), that describes StatCan’s plans and their specific implementation. It is divided into five sections: Awareness, Consultations, Communications, Coordination and liaison, and Accountability. Planned activities are described for each section, as well as the expected implementation period or date of the activities, indicators to measure their success, and the expected final outcomes of the activities. Examples of planned and implemented activities include producing and releasing detailed analytical portraits on Francophones in New Brunswick and the Atlantic provinces, Alberta and the Prairies and delivering various presentations of those portraits to representatives of those official language minority communities (OLMCs). The Accountability section of the Action Plan states that the Coordinating Committee on Language Statistics will conduct an internal evaluation to ensure that activities are in line with its Action Plan.

The Work Plan is prepared by StatCan’s Official Languages Committee and presented to the Policy Committee for approval each year. The Official Languages Committee meets monthly and consists of two directors general, the official languages champion (assistant chief statistician) and at least one representative from each of StatCan’s five sectors. The Work Plan provides an overview of StatCan’s plans and managerial priorities for the year. It is divided into several sections, but each focuses on the role of management in the administration of official languages practices. One section is dedicated to promotion of linguistic duality; however, it is the least detailed section and focuses more on the workplace than on Canada and on OLMCs. The Work Plan does not include detailed action. Rather, it presents a number of actions and goals, sorted by priority, that StatCan would like to carry out during the year. The Work Plan also lacks specific timelines for its goals and actions, as well as a clear indication of who is responsible for each action. The Work Plan should have a “Progress” column that lists the measures taken to carry out the plan and dates by which these measures should be completed. Where the Action Plan contains many details, the Work Plan does not.

StatCan’s national coordinator responsible for implementation of section 41 of the Act is the Assistant Director, Social and Aboriginal Statistics. The national coordinator liaises with federal institutions and OLMCs to ensure that StatCan complies with its obligations under Part VII. StatCan also has official languages coordinators at the divisional level whose role is to assist the director of the division in matters relating to official languages. A divisional coordinator’s activities may include recommending improvements to the director regarding bilingualism and sharing best practices with other divisional coordinators.

StatCan readily cooperates with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the investigation of complaints. It provides documentation promptly and respects deadlines. StatCan rarely asks for extensions and does so only when reasonable.

StatCan takes into account the impact of its decisions on OLMCs through informal ongoing consultations. The national coordinator holds discussions with OLMCs and their representatives at various conferences, symposia and other meetings. These informal consultations constitute a large proportion of the organization’s impact assessments. StatCan is encouraged to ensure that these assessments be part of a standard operating procedure.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) A

The Office of the Commissioner did not conduct observations of service in person because StatCan interacts with Canadians primarily by telephone or on-line. With regard to certain surveys and the census, visits to the respondents’ home may be required.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service between September and December 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 100% of cases, and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 100% of cases.

The Office of the Commissioner’s observations of e-mail service resulted in a response rate of 100% for e-mails sent in English and 90% for e-mails sent in French. In terms of comparable timeframes, responses in French took, on average, 4.7 hours longer than those in English. This represents a difference of 11%.

Using the Treasury Board Secretariat’s analytical grid to ensure that the principle of substantive equality (as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in its DesRochers decision) is being applied, StatCan evaluated its services and concluded that, given their nature, it does not need to adapt them to the needs of the linguistic minority community.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) A

StatCan takes steps to ensure that the language rights of all its employees are acknowledged and respected. StatCan’s Official Languages Policy stresses the right of employees in bilingual regions to work in the official language of their choice and provides the necessary tools for both employees and supervisors to respect the language rights of others.

StatCan provides guidelines for communications within bilingual regions. Employees and supervisors are provided with resources such as access to translation services, bilingual e-mail templates, bilingual meeting materials, and term@stat, a terminology bank specially designed for Statistics Canada employees that indexes the terminology specific to the activities of Statistics Canada. Following workshops on holding bilingual meetings, participants were given a template in which they had to describe methods used to ensure a bilingual meeting, the dates of implementation, and follow-up measures to cement the practice.

StatCan’s Official Languages Policy also encourages employees to practise their second official language in the workplace. StatCan has been urging all supervisors to ensure the validity of their language qualifications and plans to do the same for all employees. E-mails were sent out in the summer of 2013 as part of a long-term initiative to remind both employees and management to keep their language qualifications up to date. In 2012–2013, StatCan encouraged directors and assistant directors whose second-language evaluation results had expired (i.e., results were more than five years old) to be retested. By 2015, StatCan hopes that all of its employees will have valid, up-to-date second-language evaluation results.

StatCan has a Language Buddy System, in certain fields, through which participants partner up and practise with a pupil or a mentor in order to improve their second-language proficiency. The “buddies” set a schedule for practice sessions, and at the end of their partnership, they fill out a follow-up sheet on the quality and effectiveness of their practices.

StatCan also has an employee who has been designated as a bilingualism facilitator. This employee becomes a member of the division and works solely on official languages to ensure that directors, managers and employees are all aware of their language obligations. The facilitator first establishes a work plan, then meets with the division’s personnel (directors, managers and employees) to determine what needs to be done and to encourage the development of tools and practices that will foster increased communication in both official languages. Once the work plan is completed, the facilitator follows up with management to ensure the continued success of bilingual practices.

StatCan has divisional official languages coordinators to assist directors in their responsibilities under the Act. To help them in their tasks, the coordinators have an online Wiki at their disposal that has links to materials and tools, including “Second Language Learning” and “Best Practices.”

Overall, StatCan has numerous measures in place to ensure that employees in bilingual regions are able to work in the official language of their choice. StatCan is encouraged to continue to strive for excellence in this area.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) D

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically, those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating StatCan’s performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 10.1% of StatCan’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 39.7% of StatCan’s workforce is Francophone.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 10.2% of StatCan’s workforce is Anglophone.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

When asked what targeted measures it takes to ensure participation from members of OLMCs within its organization, StatCan refers to its well-known recruitment program, the ECFootnote 1 Recruitment and Development Program (ECRDP), which recruits qualified applicants from universities and other post-secondary institutions for EC positions at StatCan. Although StatCan ensures equal opportunity for both English and French speakers, its ECRDP initiative does not target OLMCs.

StatCan needs to develop targeted recruitment strategies to ensure that Anglophones are equitably represented within the organization in Quebec. It also needs to establish recruitment initiatives for English- and French-speaking Canadians from OLMCs.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) A

StatCan published detailed portraits on its Web site between 2010 and 2012. These analytical papers examine a wide variety of demographic, economic and social factors that characterize OLMCs. StatCan also has a document that details its data sources on OLMCs. Listed in this document are surveys such as the Survey on the Vitality of Official Language Minorities, whose data was used for the OLMC portraits, in-depth analyses, and the Census of Population (an event that occurs every five years, with the most recent census having taken place in 2011). StatCan meets and consults with OLMC groups informally and formally on a regular basis, including the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada and the Quebec Community Groups Network, and has had numerous e-mail or in-person exchanges with groups such as the Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences and the network of the Conseils scolaires de langue française.

StatCan is often invited by OLMC groups to give presentations at various conferences and symposia. A recent example is an October 2013 presentation on the evolution of bilingualism from 1961 to 2011 given to the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers and the Association canadienne des professeurs d’immersion in Ottawa. The presentation examined trends from the past 50 years and the expansion and eventual stagnation of the bilingual population of Canada. Other presentation topics include health care and official language minorities, as well as immigration and its effects on OLMCs.

StatCan participated as a member of the organizing committee of Linguistic Duality Day 2012, giving a presentation on the trends in bilingual and unilingual speakers across the country over a 50-year period, and highlighting the impact of immigration on the linguistic portrait of Canada.

In addition to its work on bilingualism, StatCan has conducted research on French and the Francophonie in Canada. Then, following the 2011 Census, StatCan released a paper on four key language indicators in the census: mother tongue, language spoken at home, first official language spoken and ability to conduct a conversation in French. The researchers compared the proportions of the population across Canada and within specific regions in the country. The research article, called French and the francophonie in Canada, was published in 2012, and is available on StatCan’s Web site.

Although StatCan has no formal mechanisms for consulting OLMCs, it frequently has informal or formal conversations with OLMCs at the various conferences and symposia it attends. The national coordinator responsible for implementation of section 41 is in charge of establishing these discussions.

StatCan also forms partnerships with other institutions to produce helpful materials for both the institutions and the OLMCs. For example, StatCan created its OLMC portraits in partnership with Canadian Heritage, the Department of Justice, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) now Employment and Social Development Canada and Health Canada. StatCan also partnered with HRSDC and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, for the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. StatCan also held film screenings as part of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie 2013 and published on its Web site a special edition of …by the numbers about the Francophonie.

StatCan monitors the impact of its initiatives and positive measures electronically by e-mail and through informal consultations at conferences and symposia that it attends. However, StatCan has no formal mechanism in place to measure the impact of its positive measures. StatCan is encouraged to develop a permanent and formal mechanism to evaluate the impact of its positive measures. This formal mechanism would ensure transparency and uniformity.

Conclusion  

This assessment of StatCan’s compliance with various aspects of the Act revealed that the institution has done very well in terms of service to the public and language of work. It also takes positive measures to enhance the development of OLMCs and promote linguistic duality within Canadian society. It actively consults with OLMCs to ensure that their needs are met. StatCan’s analysts cooperate and maintain a positive relationship with analysts from the Office of the Commissioner during complaint investigations. StatCan’s main shortcoming is in the development of targeted measures for the equitable participation of English-speaking Canadians in Quebec and in its recruitment efforts for English- and French-speaking Canadians from minority communities. StatCan relies on informal consultations to evaluate the impact of its positive measures. However, both the OLMCs and StatCan would benefit from a formal mechanism to assess this impact.

Overall Rating A
 

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Abbreviation for the Economics and Social Science Services job classification group

Return to footnote 1 referrer

 
 
VIA Rail Canada
2013–2014 Report Card
VIA Rail Canada
Evaluated Section Rating
Official Languages Program Management (10%) A

As Canada’s national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada (VIA) is mandated to provide safe, efficient and cost-effective transportation services in both of the country’s official languages. Given this mandate, VIA plays a symbolic role with respect to national identity and linguistic duality.

Since its previous report card in 2008–2009, VIA has adopted its 2013–2016 Integrated Action Plan on Official Languages, which sets out priorities, elements to be measured, expected outcomes, activities and performance indicators, and identifies who is responsible for them. The Action Plan includes a production schedule (for which executives are accountable) for implementing Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act).

VIA’s Cross-functional Committee on Official Languages used to meet twice a year, but in December 2013, it decided to meet three times a year to review the reports of the people responsible for Action Plan items and to follow up on any recommendations. As specified in VIA’s Integrated Action Plan, the committee includes representatives from all sectors of the corporation and takes VIA’s operations into account when making decisions about official languages. At these meetings, the committee also discusses the institution’s Part VII activities.

On December 5, 2013, VIA attended the forum on official languages good practices, which brings together all federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations to discuss the most effective practices with regard to official languages. A report on the meeting’s conclusions was to be presented to the cross-functional committee at its February 2014 meeting.

Under the Action Plan, VIA executives are accountable for official languages outcomes. In August 2013, the Board of Directors approved the inclusion of official languages objectives in their management contracts (performance agreements).

VIA uses regular progress reports from its regions to ensure that all decisions and actions of the corporation and its representatives take into account the impact on the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs). These reports are passed on to the Cross-functional Committee on Official Languages and to other cross-functional committees. When VIA introduces new services, such as computer kiosks, to its passengers, it ensures that these tools are easily accessible in both official languages.

With regard to investigations following the filing of complaints, VIA has shown a strong commitment to official languages and is always willing to correct any shortcomings in this regard. The corporation cooperates fully with the Office of the Commissioner in the resolution of complaints.

VIA’s management of its official languages program is exemplary.

Service to the Public – Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%) B

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of in-person service between May and late September 2013, a visual active offer was present in 99% of cases, active offer in person was made by staff in 27% of cases and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 81% of cases.

According to the Office of the Commissioner’s observations of telephone service between May and August 2013, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 87% of cases, and service in the official language of the linguistic minority was available in 93% of cases.

The Office of the Commissioner’s observations of e-mail service between May and September 2013 resulted in a response rate of 100% for e-mails sent in English and 100% for e-mails sent in French. However, responses in French took, on average, 21 hours longer than those in English. This represents a difference of 25%.

Using the Treasury Board Secretariat’s analytical grid of federal programs and services to ensure that the principle of substantive equality is being applied, VIA decided that, given the nature of its services and programs, it would not be necessary to tailor them to the needs of the linguistic minority. VIA already provides bilingual service at all times throughout its network.

VIA could improve its active offer by telephone, and should improve its active offer in person, so that Canadians are always informed that service is available in both official languages. And even though VIA’s e-mail response rate in both languages was 100%, French-speaking Canadians would benefit from faster response times.

Language of Work – Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%) A

In 2012, VIA posted a notice on its intranet site to remind employees that managers would take all reasonable steps to create and promote a work environment that is conducive to the use of both official languages. The notice also stated that employees would have an opportunity to work in the official language of their choice in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes. This statement was followed by a list of the designated bilingual regions. In a document called Promoting Official Languages at Work: Employee Communication Plan, VIA explains that having a bilingual organization requires ongoing commitment from employees, supported by appropriate measures that are upheld by senior management. VIA says that it intends to take further steps to promote linguistic duality to its employees in designated bilingual regions.

In 2011, VIA surveyed staff in designated bilingual regions about language of work and drew on the results for its 2013–2016 Integrated Action Plan on Official Languages. In 2014, VIA will implement its communications plan, which includes the recommendations stemming from the survey.

The survey revealed that 86% of English-speaking employees and 76% of French-speaking employees feel comfortable writing documents and e-mails in the language of their choice. Also, 89% of English-speaking employees and 95% of French-speaking employees feel comfortable communicating with their immediate supervisor in the language of their choice. In meetings, 75% of English-speaking employees and 88% of French-speaking employees feel comfortable expressing themselves in the language of their choice.

VIA could serve as an example to other separate employers, not only for taking the initiative of surveying employees to ensure that everything possible is being done to give them the opportunity to express their views, but also for including the results of the survey in its Integrated Plan so that any needed remedial action can be taken.

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians – Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%) A

The results of the 2011 Census—specifically, those for first official language spoken—have been used as an indicator for evaluating VIA's performance in terms of equitable participation.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population outside Quebec and the National Capital Region (NCR) represents 2.4% of the total population. In all of Canada, except for Quebec and the NCR, 11.5% of VIA’s workforce was Francophone as of March 31, 2013.

According to the 2011 Census, the French-speaking population of the NCR represents 34.5% of the total population. In the NCR, 44.4% of VIA’s workforce was Francophone as of March 31, 2013.

According to the 2011 Census, the English-speaking population of Quebec, excluding the NCR, represents 13.4% of the total population. In Quebec, excluding the NCR, 20% of VIA’s workforce was Anglophone as of March 31, 2013.

(Source: Statistics Canada and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat)

Despite government-wide budget cuts and layoffs, VIA still had positions to fill and used a variety of recruitment methods to fill them. For example, in early 2013, the corporation took action to recruit bilingual on-board staff in the Toronto area. In the spring of 2013, it contacted the Dieppe campus of the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick to fill bilingual telephone sales positions in Moncton. In 2013, it also worked with the Centre culturel franco-manitobain to recruit front-line bilingual client service staff in the Winnipeg area, contacted the Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité in Ontario about future recruitment of front-line client service staff, and held discussions with Collège Boréal in Toronto about recruitment for the bilingual senior services officer position.

In terms of equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians, VIA’s workforce is exemplary. VIA’s recruitment initiatives are also noteworthy because the corporation contacts various types of organizations to recruit staff who can speak English and French.

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality – Part VII of the Official Languages Act (25%) B

VIA has identified 44 OLMC organizations across the country and established relationships with several of them. It partners with them in their activities in order to meet other OLMC organizations and establish new relationships. During these activities, VIA can talk to OLMC representatives about the needs of the communities and their organizations. VIA has a special team that consults with OLMCs and discusses their needs.

VIA has contacted numerous OLMCs throughout the country to discuss possible meetings or agreements that could support their development. So far it has entered into partnerships or sponsorships with OLMC organizations such as the Chambre de commerce francophone de Saint-Boniface, the Quebec Community Groups Network and Montréal’s Action Centre. VIA is also a partner of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, the Fondation franco-ontarienne, the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta – Régionale d’Edmonton, Vancouver’s Village international de la francophonie 2010, and many other organizations.

Over the past 24 months, VIA has taken part in numerous events aimed at promoting OLMC development. On April 30, 2013, VIA attended the third meeting of the Arts, Culture and Heritage Working Group with the English-speaking communities of Quebec. VIA has also organized activities specifically for OLMCs, such as having its trains stop at Calypso Park in Limoges (near Casselman), so that 1,000 more people could see the L’écho d’un peuple show. On June 26, 2013, the celebrations for the 100th anniversary of Winnipeg’s daily newspaper La Liberté were made possible with VIA’s help. On October 17, 2013, VIA took part in the Sheila and Victor Goldbloom Distinguished Community Service Award ceremony.

On May 31, 2013, VIA’s corporate secretary sent the corporation’s 2012–2013 Official Languages Report to some 25 OLMC partners.

One of the more noteworthy initiatives supported by VIA, along with Canadian Heritage, to promote linguistic duality is the YMCA Summer Work Student Exchange program. This program gives Canadian students aged 16 or 17 an opportunity to learn English or French as a second language and to discover Canada’s other language community, all while gaining work experience that will help them when it comes time to enter the labour market.

As an example of positive measures to foster OLMC development, VIA was once again one of the main partners of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.

As an example of positive measures to promote linguistic duality, in 2013 VIA introduced its new on-train entertainment system, which was developed in cooperation with CBC/Radio-Canada, the National Film Board of Canada and Historica Canada. Passengers now have free access to new television shows, films and documentaries in both official languages with exclusively Canadian content. The selection of items presented is based on the culture and language of the target audience.

VIA’s mandate does not include managing grants and contributions programs and policies. Its involvement with OLMCs arises from its creativity, its efforts to establish partnerships, and the leadership and work of its official languages champions. VIA’s support for many groups across the country, some of which are involved in promoting linguistic duality, is usually in the form of travel vouchers that OLMC groups can use as door prizes or for silent auctions. For example, two Winnipeg–Churchill return trip train tickets were given out as door prizes at the Cercle de Molière’s Lobster Gala in Saint-Boniface, Manitoba, on September 28, 2013. And for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of La Liberté in Winnipeg on June 26, 2013, VIA donated return trip train tickets to a variety of destinations for auctions, door prizes and competitions. According to VIA, participating in events like these gives it an opportunity to find out about community needs and circumstances.

Once a year, VIA contacts OLMC representatives for suggestions about how it could do more for their community’s development and vitality.

VIA has made the improvements that the Office of the Commissioner suggested as part of the 2008–2009 report card exercise. However, the OLMCs would benefit from an assessment of the impact of VIA’s positive measures.

Conclusion  

The ratings for VIA’s 2013–2016 Integrated Action Plan and for its approach to Parts V and VI demonstrate a very thorough implementation of the Act with respect to language of work and equitable participation of English- and French-speaking Canadians. Furthermore, VIA demonstrates a high level of commitment to official languages and is always willing to correct shortcomings reported in complaints about official languages. With respect to Part IV of the Act, improvements are needed in the areas of active offer in person and by telephone, and the response time for e-mails in French needs to be shortened. With respect to Part VII, the Office of the Commissioner recognizes that VIA has made the improvements suggested as part of the previous report card exercise, during which the corporation was encouraged to increase its efforts in the area of supporting OLMC development and to show concrete results from its consultations with the communities. Both VIA and the OLMCs would benefit from a mechanism for measuring the impact of the corporation’s positive measures.

Overall Rating A