ARCHIVED - Canadian Air Transport Security Authority 2006-2007

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Performance Report 2006-2007
Canadian Air Transport Security Authority

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data


Management (15%)

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

The current Official Languages (OL) Policy of the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) also serves as an accountability framework. The Policy is being reviewed as part of CATSA's corporate human resources (HR) review. It provides direction to management and employees about their rights and obligations with regard to Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (the 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. The newly reviewed and revised OL Policy will be adopted by the Senior Management Committee (SMC) and distributed to staff before the end of March 2007. The current policy is on the intranet, accessible to all staff.

The Chief Executive Officer signed off on CATSA's 2006-2007 OL Action Plan in February 2006. All the vice-presidents and most of their directors had previously approved it. It contains specific objectives to be achieved and timelines for their achievement. The Plan covers all four parts of the Act (i.e., Parts IV, V, VI and VII).

CATSA has created an OL accountability mechanism in the form of an inter-branch OL committee (November 2006). This group has one or two people from each of CATSA's sectors as members. The committee's mandate is threefold: (a) develop the updated OL Action Plan for 2007-2008; (b) be responsible for tracking progress against the existing 2006-2007 plan, and for tracking quarterly progress against the 2007-2008 plan; and (c) serve as a sounding board/brainstorming group for new CATSA initiatives or policies, especially those with Part VII implications. The group works with the OL Champion, and he and the Vice-President of Communications must sign off on any document it produces.

Moreover, in 2006, CATSA senior management recognized a problem with OL reporting and assessment mechanisms and began putting corrective measures in place. These measures are intended to strengthen managerial and supervisory accountability. Examples are the now biannual audits by CATSA's Compliance Group of the OL performance of screening contractors, the inclusion of OL questions in the passenger intercept surveys that CATSA occasionally carries out and the introduction of the new Secure Identification and Time Tracking (SITT) system. (See section (d) of Part IV below, for more information on these measures.)


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

This year's strategic Corporate Business Plan and CATSA's 2006 Annual Report both mention OL. The Annual Report contains commitments by senior management for each of Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act.

CATSA's Compliance Group conducted an audit in November and December 2006, and examined the performance of screening contractors in relation to OL requirements. These audits will be conducted every six months.

The SMC, which is made up of the President and vice-presidents, includes the OL Champion (Vice-President of Technology). The weekly meetings of the SMC are held in French every other week. OL issues are discussed at these meetings.  For example, the Annual Review of Official Languages that is sent to the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada (PSHRMAC) is discussed each year. Other ad hoc reports such as the Audit Report of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL), as well as any significant OL complaints, are also discussed as the occasion arises.

CATSA's manager of official languages now has a person dedicated to helping her manage the OL program within CATSA. This has further strengthened OL coordination for all parts of theAct. The Champion, the OL Manager, the Manager of Compliance, and two other key managers remain in continuous contact about OL matters through regular meetings, consultations, etc.

The official languages program is now highly visible within the organization. In the fall of 2006, CATSA's president and CEO, with other members of the SMC, visited 45 airports and met with over 1,400 screening officers across Canada. The goal was to share CATSA's organizational vision. Part of CATSA's vision is not only to provide quality service in both OL but also 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 he also took the opportunity to promote linguistic duality at all airports across Canada. A promotional CD and calendar emphasizing the CEO's messages were again distributed to all screening officers at all airports. There was an emphasis on OL in both the CD and the calendar.  These tours serve to considerably raise the profile of official languages in the field.


c) Complaints (5%)

In 2006, the SMC adopted procedures for handling complaints made to OCOL (which are generally about service at screening points), and CATSA now has a well-developed mechanism to deal with them. Complaints from OCOL are all reviewed with the CATSA regional managers responsible. CATSA's regional managers bring the complaint to the attention of the screening company in their region. The screening company verifies historical records (e.g., of attendance of bilingual staff at the screening point) and raises the matter with its “point leader” (i.e., the shift supervisor at the screening point). The point leader questions the screening officer and verifies any apparent contradiction or additional information. Screening officers are reminded again of their obligations by the screening company's supervisors when there are complaints, and all OL complaints are considered during the service contractor's performance evaluation. Founded complaints are reflected negatively in the company's performance pay.

Through her director, CATSA's manager of official languages reports weekly on OL complaints to her vice-president, (Law and Strategy). In parallel, the Manager of Client Relations (who handles all complaints, not just OL complaints) also raises the complaint with her respective vice-president (of Operations). The Vice-President of Operations, supported by the V.-P. of Law and Strategy and by the Champion, who is also informed, brings the complaint to the attention of the SMC. Moreover, OCOL's written Notice of Intent is shared with various other people in the two branches. Thus, there is wide sharing of information, together with a clear line of responsibility for investigation of the complaint. Moreover, CATSA is now working with OCOL to see how it can receive the maximum amount of information about OCOL complaints, and thereby improve its investigations and reduce the recurrence of screening point complaints.




Service to the Public - Part IV (25%)

a) Bilingual services advertised to the public and sufficient bilingual staff (3%)

CATSA advertises its bilingual points of service on Burolis and has a national 1-800 number in the government blue pages.

In total, 77% of employees in bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position. (Source: Unpublished CATSA internal data as of February 27, 2006. Note: Figures are for CATSA employees. Figures for contractors' bilingual screening officer positions cannot be collected).


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

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2006, an active visual offer was present in 93% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 14% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 73% of cases.

According to observations of service over the telephone made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2006, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 100% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 100% of cases.


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

Language requirements are spelled out in every contract with service providers. CATSA's regional manager in each region inspects major airports nearly every day, and OL is on the checklist. Managers check the presence of an 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 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 provided in the desk calendar that was handed out to all screening personnel during the "Sharing CATSA's Vision" tour.

In 2006, CATSA began amending its contracts with the security companies whose employees are the ones actually screening airline passengers. When each of these contracts is renewed and signed, the screening company is explicitly informed of its obligation to ensure the offer and availability of an equivalent level and quality of service in both official languages at all times throughout the term of the contract.  Moreover, as already noted, the contracts now also specifically include a clause that commits service contractors to providing information about what they deem to be an adequate proportion of bilingual screening officers per screening point, per shift and per designated airport.

In 2007, all new contracts will link 20% of the bonus that is payable to contractors for superior performance to the absence of any founded OL complaints (up from 5% of the bonus in 2006).


d) Policy on service to the public and bilingual services quality monitoring (5%)

CATSA has a policy on service to the public in the form of its OL Policy, together with the internal SOPs used by screening officers, and its service contract terms with the security companies. As already noted, the CEO's Sharing the Vision tour was aimed at passing along the message that part of CATSA's vision is not only to provide quality service in both OL, but also to contribute to preserving and promoting Canada's two official languages.

All screening officers receive training on OL requirements and active offer. CATSA is expanding its customer service module under its refresher training to put more emphasis on active offer. CATSA is also planning to include a separate mini-module specific to OL and active offer as a mandatory requirement under its ongoing professional development program. Screening officers would be required to view this module as a prerequisite to re-certification.

Screening officers and employees receive regular reminders of the need to offer adequate service in both official languages. Examples of these reminders are the various articles in CATSA News, in Atmosphere, and in the President's Vision tour CD and calendar. Furthermore, in 2006, CATSA's Communications Group developed a bilingual CD containing frequently used phrases that the screening officers must use with the public. By listening to the voice on the CD explaining the context of the phrases, screening officers are able to use it as a learning tool to practise the pronunciation of commonly used phrases during the screening process.

In 2006, CATSA's senior management recognized a problem with OL reporting and assessment mechanisms, which were weak at its passenger screening points. As a result, CATSA has put in place an increasing number and variety of monitoring mechanisms for bilingual service. For example, the Compliance Group conducted an audit in November and December 2006 of screening contractors' performance in relation to their OL requirements. The extent to which bilingual screening officers are present, the use of active offer and the overall level of service offered in both OL was observed. This audit will now be conducted every six months.

In addition, Decima Research—an independent third party company—conducted passenger intercept surveys on behalf of CATSA across Canada (2,929 interviews with passengers at 16 airports) in early 2006-2007. These surveys assessed the passenger screening process provided by CATSA and identified the traveller's satisfaction with particular elements of the screening process, such as the level of service offered in the customer's chosen OL. A specific question on active offer was included. As well, CATSA has amended its quality assessment questionnaire to include questions to determine the number of bilingual screening officers at the screening checkpoints, whether there is bilingual signage, and whether the greeters are making an active offer of service. Moreover, the daily check-ups by CATSA regional managers are an example of ongoing monitoring. However, the fact that several of these regional managers have limited capacity in the other official language, and are therefore unable to verify the quality of bilingual service, remains a problem.

Finally, the introduction of the new SITT system is intended to strengthen managerial and supervisory accountability. SITT is a biometrics-based identification system. Employees and contractors' staff will have a stored record of their physical characteristics (such as iris scans or fingerprints). When employees “signs in” at their screening machine, the system is able to identify from the stored file whether the individuals are bilingual. This means that precise information (e.g., time of day and exact location of active work station) can be determined after the fact for bilingual and unilingual staff. This will allow CATSA to establish clearly where, and when, bilingual services were—or were not—available at any time of day. CATSA has begun deploying the SITT equipment to the major Canadian airports with completion of roll-out (e.g., collection and registration of all screener biometrics) intended for the fall of 2007.

These monitoring mechanisms, while good and promising, are quite new, and it is not yet clear to what extent they will prove adequate.


Specific problem

A specific problem is being resolved: the absence of satisfactory service by CATSA in the language of the official language minority in most of the country's busiest airports.




Language of Work - Part V (25%)

a) Language of work policy and adequate bilingual supervision (12.5%)

CATSA has a language of work policy (in the form of the Policy on Official Languages) that sets out employees' rights and managers' obligations to ensure their employees' enjoyment of these language of work rights. Measures have been taken to support the use of the OL of the linguistic minority in bilingual regions (e.g., language training, translation and revision services, etc.). CATSA offers language training during the lunch hour to all interested staff, regardless of the language requirements of their position. In addition, it has made the online language tools at available to all employees enrolled in language training. (CATSA must pay for employees to get this online access.)

In total, 58% of supervisors in bilingual regions who must supervise employees in both OL are able to do so. (Source: Annual Review of OL, using Official Languages Information System II [OLIS II] data as of April 28, 2006.)


b) Use of each official language in the workplace (12.5%)

Throughout 2006-2007, managers and supervisors received explicit reminders about their obligation to create a work environment that is conducive to the use of both OL. As well, there have been regular reminders by SMC to the Management Group that CATSA's language training is important. Because of this, managers are aware that CATSA wants to ensure employees are receiving their training in order to increase the workforce's ability to work in both languages and thus support a truly bilingual workplace.

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 at head office to remind employees that they can always use the OL of their choice in the workplace. Furthermore, management has included monthly articles on language of work in Atmosphere (CATSA's internal newsletter for headquarters staff). These serve as reminders to both managers and employees that employees can use the OL of their choice. Since fall of 2006, arrangements have been made for the OL Champion (a vice-president) to make a short presentation on OL during new employee orientation sessions.

Since all members of the SMC are bilingual, executive meetings are held in one language only, alternating each week, i.e., English one week, French the next. The documentation (agenda, minutes, etc.) is available in both languages.

Managers are putting in place effective mechanisms to monitor implementation of the Language of Work Policy. They have committed to conducting an informal survey of staff on a quarterly basis via CATSA's new web-based feedback tool. In addition, OCOL ran its language of work survey at CATSA in 2006. The Authority has committed to using this data to monitor employees' perceptions regarding implementation of the Language of Work Policy, and to taking proactive measures to develop further initiatives and/or programs.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL, showed that overall, 61% of Francophone respondents in the NCR "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime. For confidentiality reasons, due to the very small number of CATSA employees who work in Montreal (CATSA's only other bilingual worksite outside the NCR), the survey was not administered to employees outside the NCR.




Equitable Participation  - Part VI (10%)

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

Overall, the CATSA workforce is 34.2% Francophone. (Source: OLIS II, April 28, 2006.)


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

OCOL did not assess CATSA on this criterion because of the very small number of employees in CATSA's Quebec office.




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

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

As a Crown corporation, CATSA does not submit memoranda to Cabinet, and it is the Minister of Transport who makes all submissions to the Treasury Board concerning CATSA. Nonetheless, CATSA and Transport Canada work closely together when such a submission is made. At such times, CATSA's Corporate Reporting and Policy Group works with the OL Manager at CATSA to ensure the Official Languages Act section addresses CATSA's OL obligations.

All agenda items for discussion by CATSA's Senior Management Committee must be submitted according to an established template that requires discussion of the OL considerations linked to the item. This includes all Part VII considerations. Similarly, formal briefing notes from staff to individual senior managers are also required to address OL considerations. In addition, the OL Champion has the responsibility to ensure that development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) is integrated into new initiatives as he becomes aware of them. He plays an integrative role around all OL considerations on the Executive Committee.

Steps have been taken to meet CATSA's obligation to enhance the development of OLMCs. For example, senior management has been made aware of the new need to take positive measures to support the Corporation's Part VII responsibilities. Discussions on this subject occurred around the adoption of the 2006-2007 OL Action Plan when that plan was presented to SMC for approval late in the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

As already noted, the inter-branch OL committee that has been set up will be responsible for screening CATSA initiatives from the perspective of Part VII. The OL Action Plan specifies that the OL Manager and the OL officer reporting to her are to meet with OL minority associations in various provinces to establish contact and explore their CATSA-related needs, e.g., to get feedback on service at airports, to explore recruitment opportunities with CATSA, etc. This information will be forwarded to the SMC. Current plans call for CATSA to contact these associations before March 2007. The OL Manager will also handle any liaison necessary with national OL advocacy groups.

In 2006, CATSA contractors in British Columbia and Alberta consulted official language minorities. Even though the focus has been almost exclusively on increasing the recruitment of Francophone screening officers, these contacts nonetheless continued the bridge-building process between the communities and CATSA. However, outside of headquarters and the British Columbia and Alberta region, sensitization of employees to the existence and needs of the minority communities does not seem to have occurred yet.

The inter-branch committee has not yet begun reviewing existing policies and programs to determine what impact, if any, they may have on OLMCs.

This year, CATSA's Part VII promotional efforts have focussed more on promotion of linguistic duality and less on community development with the result that few positive measures have yet been taken to enhance the development of OLMCs.

Some preliminary discussions have taken place internally about how the organization could further factor the needs of OLMCs into its programs, but CATSA's management finds it difficult to see how this could be done within the business model that Parliament has given it. CATSA has limited opportunities to actively affect the development of OLMCs other than through advertisements in OLMC media or, possibly, employment.


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

As already noted, all agenda items for discussion by the SMC must be submitted according to an established template, and formal briefing notes to individual senior managers are also required to address OL considerations. In addition, the OL Champion serves an integrative role in all OL questions and helps ensure that aspects of linguistic duality and promotion of both OL are integrated into new initiatives as he becomes aware of them.

CATSA has not yet raised awareness among staff who develop policies or programs that may also have an impact on linguistic duality, about the new requirement to promote linguistic duality.  However, it has examined some of its current policies and programs to identify possible impacts on the advancement and equal status of English and French. In 2006, steps were taken to meet the obligation to foster equality of status and use of both English and French in Canadian society. In this regard, awareness of senior management has been raised, a committee to implement Part VII has been set up and CATSA already has a number of Part VII “positive measures” to its credit. For example, in the fall of 2006, for the second year in a row, CATSA's President and CEO, plus other members of the SMC, visited airports and met with screening officers across Canada. Through his presentations to staff, the CEO took the opportunity to promote linguistic duality at all airports across Canada, not just those required to provide bilingual service. A CD and calendar emphasizing the CEO's messages were again distributed to all screening officers at all airports. Furthermore, CATSA has developed a “screener web site.”  The site is accessible to over 4,400 CATSA screening officers across Canada and includes an Official Languages Toolbox that provides various tools, articles, guidelines, etc. for screening officers. The toolbox is intended to further help promote linguistic duality and to educate security personnel across Canada. In addition, the OL Manager developed a project plan to engage screening officers and CATSA employees across the country in Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie 2007 celebrations. The plan was in place for the March 2007 event. Creative new promotional posters for internal use at CATSA have been developed and were distributed at the launch of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. Last year, CATSA marked the week with several events, including a screening of the award-winning Quebec film C.R.A.Z.Y.

An article on the theme of OL has been published in the monthly CATSANEWS newsletter at least twice a year for the past four years. This is distributed to aviation industry stakeholders (i.e., extra-mural groups) as well as all screening personnel.

CATSA has not yet finished identifying partners (such as other federal institutions, other levels of government or voluntary associations) with whom it could work to promote linguistic duality in Canadian society.