Operating context and key risks 2018-19

Operating context: Conditions affecting our work

The 2018-2019 fiscal year will be another transition year for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. A number of activities have already been carried out in preparation for the new Commissioner’s arrival. Although the 2018-2019 Strategic Plan does not focus specifically on the transition, it is understood that the 2018-2019 activities could be affected by the arrival of a new leader.

External context

Fiscal year 2018-2019 encompasses the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in July 2019. This period will give the Office of the Commissioner a variety of opportunities to promote language rights and bilingualism both to federal institutions and to Canadians.

The modernization of the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations and possibly some aspects of the Official Languages Act by the federal government may have a significant impact on the Office of the Commissioner’s role and activities.

Language of work in the federal public service will still be an important issue as the government implements the recommendations set out in the Clerk of the Privy Council’s report.

The government’s acceleration of initiatives on open government and its use of digital service delivery channels will result in increased monitoring of these trends by the Office of the Commissioner and possibly taking action with the federal institutions involved.

The Office of the Commissioner may also be called upon to use its expertise to support the creation of an ombudsman responsible for Indigenous languages.

Internal context

The appointment of a new Commissioner of Official Languages is an opportunity to use the attention generated in the media and among our different target audiences to reaffirm the importance of Canada’s linguistic duality. The new Commissioner will have the chance to address a wide range of issues, including those contained in the new official languages action plan, which was unveiled by the government in March 2018.

If the number of complaints received by the Office of the Commissioner remains high, this trend will continue to drive innovation and efficiency within the organization. The reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program could also increase the number of court cases stemming from complaints.

Key risks

Risk #1: Changes to operational priorities, processes and objectives

Changes to the volume of work, the work environment, and priorities will impact strategic and operational plans.

Risk response strategy

Risk response: Mitigate

  • In 2018-19, with the arrival of a new Commissioner, the organization is finalizing the Vision exercise for the next 7 years (Vision 2025) which will also take into consideration potential changes to the organization’s priorities stemming from external stakeholders reports and changes in the regulations.
  • In addition, OCOL has ensured flexibility in setting its key activities as part of its strategic planning process to adapt to these organizational changes.

Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities

  • Protection of rights related to Official Languages
  • Advancement of French and English in Canadian society

Link to mandate letter commitments and any government-wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)

  • Not applicable.

Risk #2: OCOL’s reputation to support its mandate

There is a risk that OCOL may not be able to maintain its reputation to support and advance its mandate.

Risk response strategy

Risk response: Mitigate

  • In 2018-19, with the arrival of a new Commissioner, the organization is finalizing the Vision exercise for the next 7 years (Vision 2025) which will also take into consideration potential changes to the organization’s priorities stemming from external stakeholders reports and changes in the regulations.
  • In addition, OCOL is focusing efforts on reviewing its processes to bring efficiencies, streamline and innovate, where possible. For example, OCOL is looking for opportunities to develop a strategy to address reoccurring complaints by helping organizations address these challenges, developing tools to help better support federal institutions and continuing to develop relationships with various institutions that are working on innovative ways to resolve reoccurring complaints and in doing so could help us improve our understanding of the environment and become more agile. In addition, OCOL is working to develop intervention strategies that will reach youth and newcomers.

Link to the department’s Core Responsibilities

  • Protection of rights related to Official Languages
  • Advancement of French and English in Canadian society

Link to mandate letter commitments and any government-wide or departmental priorities (as applicable)

  • Not applicable.
Date modified:
2018-09-13