ARCHIVED - Canadian Air Transport Security Authority 2005-2006

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2005-2006 Fact Sheet

Factors and criteria

Summary of substantiating data



a) An accountability framework, an action plan and accountability mechanisms are in place (5%)

Note: The Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) is a relatively new organization that became operational on April 1, 2002, in response to the mandate received from the government to assume responsibility for pre-boarding screening of passengers and their personal effects. Previous to this, a consortium of private sector airline companies did the work. CATSA began managing new service provider contracts on December 31, 2002. Official language (OL) requirements are still new for screening officers and for most of the headquarters staff.

CATSA produced an OL policy in late 2003-2004 that also serves as an accountability framework. The policy was significantly expanded in the fall of 2005. It provides management and employees with guidelines about their rights and obligations with regard to Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act and describes the roles and responsibilities of the President and CEO, senior management, the OL champion, persons in charge of OL and Human Resources and employees. This revised OL policy will be adopted by the Senior Management Committee (SMC) and distributed to staff before March 2006.

Besides the OL policy, CATSA has also developed and distributed an OL action plan for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. The action plan was sent out to all CATSA directors, seeking feedback and asking for their individual OL action plans for their groups so that initiatives could begin this fiscal year. In February 2006, the action plan was approved by the CEO.

The Communications division is responsible for implementing the OL policy. This policy and the action plan are subject to monitoring by the OL champion in order to bring about the necessary change of culture. Top management's commitment to the principle of official languages is strong but OL reporting and assessment mechanisms still seem ineffective, which weakens supervisory and managerial accountability. In 2006, however, this may start to change. (see Section IV-d, below)

b) Visibility of official languages in the organization (5%)

CATSA's 2004 Annual Report refers to bilingualism as one of the 10 priorities of the screening contracts. The 2005 Annual Report, and particularly the 2005-2006 Corporate Plan, both contain references to OL.

No audit has yet been conducted on OL by CATSA, but when CATSA performs its Throughput and Queuing Surveys (every six months), they ask the survey staff to take note of the presence of active offer. The latest survey was done in August (at all Class 1 i.e. major airports) and the report noted that bilingual greeting was noted at all checkpoints and bilingual staff were available at all checkpoints.

The CEO toured of CATSA checkpoints across the country in 2005 and he made a point of strongly reminding employees of the importance of good service in the local minority OL at the designated airports. This was the "Sharing CATSA's Vision" initiative. It is an on-going one. Consultations are continuing to take place with screening personnel and OL will continue to have a strong presence in these consultations. Promotional DVDs and desk calendars were also handed out to all screening personnel during the tour. Again, there was an emphasis on OL in both the DVD and the calendar.

The Executive Committee, which is made up of the President and Vice Presidents, includes the OL champion. The meetings of the Executive Committee are held in French every other week. OL issues are discussed at these meetings.

CATSA now has a Manager of Official Languages to manage the OL program within CATSA thereby providing a single point of OL coordination. Responsibilities for Part VII are now being assigned in CATSA's draft OL action plan.

Fact Sheet

c) Complaints (5%)

In 2005, CATSA's OL manager drafted procedures for handling Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) complaints (which are almost exclusively about service at screening points) for submission to the Senior Management Committee. Complaints from OCOL are all reviewed with the managers responsible. Screening officers are reminded again of their obligations by their supervisors when there are complaints.

OCOL has identified a serious systemic problem with active offer and service in person at major airports across the country.

Fact Sheet

Service to the public - Part IV

a) Bilingual services advertised to the public and sufficient bilingual staff (4%)

CATSA advertises its bilingual points of service on BUROLIS and has a national 1-800 number in the White Pages.

For 2005-2006, the Authority was not in a position to provide OCOL with information as to whether it has sufficient numbers of bilingual personnel at each designated airport to ensure adequate service in both official languages. It did, however, provide information on the number of staff available to serve in each language at each airport as of May 30, 2005.

In 2006, CATSA will be amending contracts—current contracts will be affected—to include a clause that will commit service contractors to providing information about what they deem to be an adequate proportion of bilingual screening officers per screening line, per shift, per designated airport, to ensure that an equivalent level and quality of service in both official languages is actively offered and available at all times throughout the term of their contract.

Fact Sheet

b) Findings on active offer and service delivery (15%)

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL in the fall of 2005, active visual offer was present in 75% of cases, active offer by staff was made in 25% of cases, while service in the language of the OL minority was adequate in 42% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone conducted by OCOL in the fall of 2005, active offer was made by staff or by an automated telephone system in 100% of cases, while service in the language of the OL minority was adequate in 100% of cases.

Fact Sheet

c) The service agreements delivered by third parties or in partnership provide for the delivery of bilingual services (2%)

The language requirements are spelled out in every contract with service providers. CATSA's regional manager in each region inspects of Class 1 airports nearly every day and OL is on the checklist. They check the presence of active offer of service in both OL but often do not verify the adequacy of actual service in the minority OL.

CATSA has developed internal Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) intended for screening officers. The SOPs explain how screening officers who first greet the travellers are required to make an active offer of service and what to do if the passenger responds in the minority language. Translations of common phrases used at screening points were also provided in the desk calendar that was handed out to all screening personnel during the "Sharing CATSA's Vision" tour.

Terms of the contracts that were signed in April 2004 with some of the Authority's security contractors specified an incentive plan. One part of the incentive was to be based on the contractor's OL performance at each bilingual location for which the contractor was responsible throughout the year. This was to be determined in part on founded OCOL complaints.

Fact Sheet

d) Bilingual services quality monitoring (4%)

There has been an article on the theme of OL published in the monthly CATSANEWS newsletter, once or twice a year. This is distributed to aviation industry stakeholders as well as all screening personnel. CATSA staff receive it too. Since January 2005, as a reminder, CATSA has added a statement in each edition of the CATSANEWS that states "CATSA is dedicated to providing services to the travelling public in both official languages."

Monitoring of the existence (but not necessarily of the quality) of bilingual services is the responsibility of the local CATSA manager operating out of each regional office; it is part of their performance evaluation of the contractor. On the other hand, CATSA confirms that Quality Advisors, who use adequacy of OL service as part of their quality measurements when they do airport assessment (those who go out in the field with the checklists), are all bilingual and that their positions are deemed bilingual.

Also, a small number of senior CATSA headquarters employees (who may not be known to the service provider) test the system whenever they fly. However, these two kinds of monitoring of bilingual service quality are relatively infrequent, i.e. once or twice a year. Since most CATSA regional managers and the contractors’ shift supervisors are not bilingual, the agency is therefore not able to monitor on an ongoing basis whether service to the public in both OL is of equivalent quality at checkpoints.

In February 2005, CATSA conducted a customer service survey where they asked the question: "Were you greeted in English and French at the security-screening checkpoint? " 47% said yes, while 43% said no. (Another 10% couldn't remember or didn't respond.)

CATSA is currently exploring a new OL monitoring method which, if implemented, could have a significant positive impact on checkpoint bilingual services. The project would involve using biometrics to incorporate a linguistic component into the act of signing in for duty when screening officers sign in and out at their respective checkpoints. The personal identifier used to identify each individual employee would allow CATSA to keep track of how many bilingual screening officers are on duty at each checkpoint at any particular time during their shift. This would make the contractors (i.e. service providers) more accountable for their scheduling, as well as make it easier to generate information for OL complaints and other reporting purposes.

Fact Sheet

Language of work - Part V

a) Adequate bilingual supervision and language of work policy (12.5%)

45.6% of supervisors in bilingual regions who are required to supervise their employees in both official languages are able to do so. (Source: Table L2 of CATSA’s 2004-2005 Annual Review of Official Languages, as of May 22, 2005)

CATSA has developed its own language of work policy. However, as an organization that is still new to the OL program, CATSA appears to have only some of the necessary supports for the organization’s language of work policy in place. For example, bilingual computer tools, bilingual workplace manuals, etc. , are not as well developed as might be necessary.

One of the action items that came out of the “Sharing CATSA’s Vision” tour was for CATSA to look into options for working with service providers to provide possible French-language training for screening officers.

In 2004, CATSA successfully retained the services of a private language training school.  At the same time, the Authority's HR Division developed staffing guidelines with respect to recruitment and staffing of designated positions.  HR subsequently met with each Director, and, using the guidelines, was able to establish which positions had a second official language requirement, as well as the level of language proficiency (i.e. the Public Service Commission's A-B-C equivalents) required. The employees in the designated positions were assessed for their language skills and those employees who did not meet the required language designation were provided with language training in 2005.

In September 2005, the Authority also introduced language development training for employees who do not have a language requirement based on their position but who would like to improve their oral language abilities for career development purposes. In parallel with this, CATSA ran its third session of mandatory language training (September – December 2005).

When employees are hired they complete documents in which they indicate their OL preference with respect to communication. The Authority also asks and records their mother tongue. For recruitment purposes, candidates indicate in which language they would like to be interviewed, corresponded with, etc.

Translation is always available for the "Leadership Committee" meetings (i.e. the meeting of all CATSA managers).

Fact Sheet

b) Establishment of an environment conducive to both official languages (12.5%)

Reminders of employees’ OL rights are in the form of posters. At the same time as these were distributed in 2003, information kits on obligations were sent to managers. CATSA managers are responsible for ensuring compliance with the policy in their units. There is no sign that employees are explicitly encouraged to use the OL of their choice through, for example, active reminders.

At present, only certain users have been granted the capability of sending messages to all staff (for example, help desk staff, communications officers, etc.) These users do not send out any messages that are not in both OL. As part of the 2005-2006 OL action plan, CATSA will be drafting guidelines for phone messages, e-mail, etc.

Although managers and supervisors appear not to have received explicit reminders about the need to create conducive bilingual work environments, there have been regular reminders by SMC to the management group that CATSA’s language training is important and that the Authority wants to ensure that employees are receiving their training. This has reinforced CATSA’s commitment to the OL program and, indirectly, its ability to work in both OL. All of CATSA’s boardrooms are equipped with OL posters that read, "Go ahead, it's your choice." These posters are also at the printers and other central locations in the Head Office to remind employees that they can always use the OL of their choice.

CATSA recently developed corporate performance measures. The performance measure for corporate communications has been identified as “Percentage of target audience that feel they receive open, clear and timely communications that meet diverse needs in both official languages”. Also the “level of knowledge and understanding achieved by the target audience due to communications” is to be measured in the new year, to ensure that both language groups achieve equal levels of understanding.

Management has also included one article on language of work in Atmosphere (CATSA’s internal newsletter for headquarters staff) and has another one slated for the December issue.

Executive meetings are held in both OL, but more in English. Some measures to encourage and increase the use of the minority language appear to have been taken, such as the decision about making language training available to all employees.

The Internal Communications group has plans to host short individual electronic surveys in Atmosphere in 2005-2006, one of which will be aimed at obtaining feedback from headquarters staff about the extent of their satisfaction in using their preferred OL in the workplace.

Fact Sheet

Equitable participation - Part VI

a) Percentage of Francophone participation throughout Canada (5%)

Figures on first OL are not collected for contractors' employees but Francophones account for 20.3% of CATSA’s own employee workforce. (Source: Table P1 of CATSA’s 2004-2005 Annual Review of Official Languages, as of May 22, 2005)

Fact Sheet

b) Percentage of Anglophone participation in Quebec (5%)

OCOL did not assess CATSA on this criterion because of the very small number of employees (i.e. just four) in CATSA’s Quebec office.


Development of official language minority communities and promotion of linguistic duality - Part VII

a) Strategic planning and the development of policies and programs take into account the development of minority language communities (12.5%)

Within CATSA, the champion has the responsibility of playing an integrative role around OL considerations, on the Executive Committee.

The Minister of Transport makes all submissions to the Treasury Board (TB) concerning CATSA. All TB Submissions prepared by Transport Canada are supposed to contain an assessment of OL issues—including the development of OL minority communities. CATSA’s Corporate Reporting and Policy group will work with the Official Languages Act representative at CATSA to ensure the Official Languages Act section addresses CATSA's OL obligations when there are submissions to be made.

British Columbia and Alberta CATSA contractors have consulted official language minorities. Even though the focus has been almost exclusively on increasing recruitment of Francophone screening officers, these contacts nonetheless have begun the bridge building process between the communities and CATSA. However, outside the British Columbia and Alberta region, and at headquarters, sensitization of employees to the existence and needs of the minority communities does not seem to have occurred yet.

Space and time are purchased from media serving both OL communities. CATSA centrally approves all announcements (choice of medium and dates), which are then produced by a private company on behalf of CATSA. After a few initial bumps on the road, the policy is now in line with the Treasury Board Secretariat's communications requirements.

Fact Sheet

b) Strategic planning and the development of policies and programs take into account the promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)

Agenda items for discussion at the Senior Management Committee must be submitted according to an established template that requires discussion of the OL considerations linked to the item. Similarly, formal briefing notes to individual top managers are also required to address OL considerations. In addition, the OL champion has the responsibility to ensure that the dimensions of linguistic duality and promotion of both OL are integrated into new initiatives as he becomes aware of them.

In the fall of 2005, CATSA’s President and CEO met with over 1500 screening officers across Canada to share CATSA’s organizational vision and extend the desired new service culture to the front line. Part of CATSA’s vision is to contribute to preserving and promoting Canada’s two official languages. Through his presentations to staff, the CEO not only explicitly reiterated the importance of providing adequate service in both official languages at CATSA’s 35 designated bilingual airports, but also took the opportunity to promote linguistic duality at all airports across Canada. A DVD emphasizing the CEO’s messages was distributed to all screening officers at all airports.

In particular, for next year, CATSA will be looking at the possibility of working with service providers to offer possible exchange opportunities for screening officers (who, as employees of the contractor, are not employees of CATSA) so that they can improve their second language and be exposed to the other culture. For example, individuals from Montréal might go on an assignment to a British Columbia screening station.

As well, CATSA is currently in the process of developing a “Screener Web site” that will be ready by April 2006. The Web site will be accessible to over 4,400 CATSA screening officers across Canada and will include an “Official Languages Toolbox” that will host various tools, articles, guidelines, and so on, for screening officers. The toolbox is intended to further help promote linguistic duality and to educate CATSA personnel across Canada.

There has been an article on the theme of OL published in the monthly CATSANEWS newsletter, once or twice a year. This is distributed to aviation industry stakeholders as well as all screening personnel.

Other than this, outside CATSA there have been the outreach activities in British Columbia and Alberta. Furthermore, a CATSA employee has now been tasked with establishing a “coin du bilinguisme/bilingualism corner” in the CATSA library that will constitute a small OL resource centre (e.g. newspapers, magazines, information sheets and pamphlets on OL, etc.)

Fact Sheet


Fact Sheet