Archived - Ottawa can account for all official languages funds transferred to provinces, says Fraser

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Ottawa, September 24, 2013 – Federal institutions have all the tools they need to ensure funds transferred to the provinces for official languages programs are used for their intended purposes, but not all of them dig deeply enough, says Commissioner of Official Languages Graham Fraser.

Fraser's office found Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health Canada and Canadian Heritage all have formal accountability mechanisms in place for official languages transfer payments to the provinces for immigration, professional training in health, minority-language education and second-language instruction.

“All three institutions have made considerable efforts to develop frameworks and policies for official language minority community support programs,” said Fraser. “However, Health Canada goes one step further and should be emulated by other federal institutions supporting official languages programs delivered at the provincial level.”

The findings are part of an audit undertaken in response to concerns expressed to the Commissioner of Official Languages by parliamentarians in the spring of 2012 that funds transferred to the provinces to ensure the vitality and development of official language minority communities were being used for other purposes.

The Commissioner's audit identifies some shortcomings and makes three recommendations—to help these departments improve their accountability for official languages transfer payments to the provinces:

  • that Citizenship and Immigration Canada ensure the Government of British Columbia accounts for its activities and spending for Francophone newcomers separately and in more detail when preparing its final annual report, which will be presented to the Department on August 31, 2014;
  • that Canadian Heritage proceed with field validations to follow up on activity and financial reports received in accordance with the outcomes domain in the agreements, to ensure better accountability for funds that are transferred to provincial and territorial departments of education. It must also ensure effective record keeping in this regard;
  • that Canadian Heritage use its next internal audit on the modernization of grants and contributions to integrate all accountability activities related to transfer payments to the provinces and territories, and governed by official languages support programs, into its audit objectives.

“Processes and procedures are needed to track taxpayer's money and make sure it is used for the purpose intended. Our audit revealed that those responsible for the official languages programs in the three institutions do not seem to have the reflex of consulting the internal audit directorate of their respective departments to review their programs' transfer payment accountability mechanisms,” the Commissioner noted. “These individuals would be well advised to work upstream with the internal audit directorates, which will help identify shortcomings in a timely manner.”

To view the audit report, please visit:


For more information or to schedule an interview with the Commissioner, please contact:

Nelson Kalil
Manager, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
Telephone: 613-995-0374
Cellular: 613-324-0999
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368
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