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Overall report card results for 2007–2008

This year’s report cards show mixed results, with improvements in some areas and stagnant results in others. Generally speaking, however, the Commissioner is pleased to see that two thirds of the institutions evaluated received a rating of either A or B. The overall results for 2007–2008 are as follows:


Three institutions (the National Capital Commission, the Canadian Tourism Commission and Statistics Canada) received an overall rating of A;


23 institutions received an overall rating of B;


10 institutions received an overall rating of C;


Two institutions (the Halifax International Airport Authority and the Canadian Forces) received an overall rating of D.

The Commissioner notes the three institutions that received an exemplary rating represent a diverse group of federal institutions, both in terms of size and mandate. In his view, this demonstrates that, regardless of their particular vocation or structure, all federal institutions have the ability to fully integrate official languages into their planning and daily operations, and to accomplish this, strong leadership is all that is needed. In this regard, the Commissioner wishes to take the opportunity to recognize Ivan Fellegi, Chief Statistician of Canada, for the leadership he has shown during his tenure as head of Statistics Canada. Mr. Fellegi, who will retire from his post in June 2008, is an example of how leadership at the top affects the performance of an institution and its respect for the language rights of Canadians. Statistics Canada is the only federal institution to date that has received an exemplary rating in two out of the four years for which the Commissioner has issued report cards.

When broken down by portfolio, institutions in the social, cultural and other group performed well, as did most institutions in the economy portfolio. As in previous years, most institutions in the transport and security portfolio received the lowest ratings, obtaining both Ds and most of the Cs.

An examination of the five factors shows service to the public remains the most important problem area in terms of official languages compliance, followed by language of work. It is interesting to note that the same pattern appeared in the complaints.

Ratings for program management and equitable participation were generally positive, with only a few institutions needing to make more efforts in these areas. Ratings were also positive for the advancement of English and French in a large number of institutions. While strong performance is always encouraging, the Commissioner is nonetheless aware that institutions achieved the highest ratings for the factors with an assessment based more on process (action plans, accountability frameworks, internal mechanisms, etc.) than on measurable results that have an impact on Canadians. When factors with measured results, such as service to the public and language of work, were involved, performance was much weaker, suggesting that institutions must make a greater effort to fully address the issues that directly affect Canadians.

Overall report card trends over the last three years

Table 4 presents some of the trends noted over the last three years in the report cards. Only institutions evaluated since 2005–2006 are included in these trends.

Overall report
card ratings
Increase Overall report card ratings have improved steadily since 2005–2006, even if this improvement is not always reflected in results on the ground. Compared with three years ago, many more institutions received “good”—and in some cases “exemplary”—ratings due in part to strongperformance in program management and the advancement of English and French. The Commissioner is encouraged by this progress, but he also notes that institutions still face a number of challenges in the areas where a stronger emphasis is placed on results, such as service to the public and language of work.
Major problem areas
identified in the
report cards
No change Service to the public has consistently been the factor where the poorest results have been obtained over the last three years, followed by language of work. This is clearly
an area where the federal government must show stronger leadership to achieve better results. All factors, however, have seen an improvement in results since 2005–2006, notably program management, equitable participation and the advancement of English and French.
Top performing
Some change Nine institutions have consistently performed well over the last three years, more specifically Statistics Canada, the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, the National Film Board, the National Capital Commission, the National Arts Centre, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Ottawa International Airport Authority, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the Canada Revenue Agency. The Commissioner also notes that a number of other institutions have steadily improved their performance since 2005–2006, and encourages them to continue their work in this direction.

The analysis of the overall portrait presented in this section leads to a number of conclusions. First, in some respects, it appears that federal institutions have hit a plateau in terms of respecting their official languages obligations. While it is encouraging that complaints have gone down slightly and report card ratings are improving in some areas, upon closer examination it is evident the main problem areas in official languages have not changed over the last few years. Service to the public, for example, is continuously the subject of the highest number of complaints compared to other parts of the Act, and the report card ratings for this factor are the lowest year after year. Institutions perform well in terms of implementing some of the necessary infrastructure and mechanisms to help them carry out their official languages obligations; however, these mechanisms are not always having an effect on the ground, as the following section will show in more detail. To have a direct impact on Canadians, institutions will have to enhance these tools and change the way they operate, focusing on results and improving performance.

Second, when institutions show strong leadership, they achieve strong results. This is obvious, for example, when the list of institutions most often the subject of complaints is compared to the list of those with the best report card ratings over the last three years. With the exception of the Canada Revenue Agency, none of the institutions that have consistently received favourable ratings on their report cards over the last three years have been the subject of a large number of complaints.

Finally, institutions in many cases are successful in meeting their official languages obligations in certain areas yet perform poorly in others. This suggests that there is a need for institutions to adopt a more coherent approach to implementing the Act, and that good examples or strong performance in one area should not be taken as a sign that institutions are performing well overall.

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