ARCHIVED - Canada Border Services Agency 2007-2008

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 Report Card 2007–2008
Canada Border Services Agency

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data


Management (15%)

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

The accountability framework for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) was approved on November 29, 2006. It was disseminated to the entire organization in May 2007 by means of a communiqué from a Vice-President of the CBSA. The framework specifies how the duties under Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act) are to be carried out, and explains how the work is to be coordinated among all the stakeholders. The framework also contains a section on the monitoring of official languages (OL) at the CBSA, which provides specific performance indicators.

The CBSA has developed a road map for OL that serves as an action plan and takes into account the four key principles of its OL strategy: policy development, monitoring, education and awareness, and language training. This road map, which was approved by the Management Committee in 2005, covers Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act and encompasses all of the CBSA’s OL priorities, including the priorities that were established following the audit of airport border crossings by the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) and the Office of the Commissioner. It specifies objectives to be achieved, time frames and the actions required to achieve the objectives. The annual work plans are based on this road map.

Periodic updates on the progress being made on the road map are provided to and discussed by the Management Committee. The OL Division and the OL Coordinators' Network participate in this exercise. Middle and senior managers' performance management agreements include OL objectives.


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

The strategic plan for 2006–2008 developed by the Human Resources Branch addresses OL issues in its strategies to recruit the qualified and representative workforce required to carry out its mandate. More specifically, it deals with language training and language skills retention to increase the Agency's bilingual capacity.

The CBSA’s 2006–2007 Performance Report includes a section on OL. The CBSA’s 2006–2007 Report on Plans and Priorities addresses the development of an integrated human resources plan for 2008–2009, which includes OL.

OL were broached in 2007 by the Human Resources Committee, whose members include the OL Champion, the vice-presidents and the President of the CBSA.

The Director of OL, who is also responsible for Part VII, meets with the Champion on a monthly basis to discuss OL-related issues.

The CBSA is aware of the importance of taking OL into consideration during internal audits, but OL are not part of the audit plan at this time.


(c) Complaints and follow-up (5%)

The CBSA refers to its directive on the resolution of OL complaints when resolving complaints. The directive was approved by the Management Committee on November 29, 2006, and published on May 1, 2007. It takes complaints filed with the Office of the Commissioner into consideration as well as complaints submitted directly to the CBSA.

The CBSA uses an electronic tracking system to document and monitor the status of complaints. When a complaint is received, it is recorded and forwarded to the OL coordinator of the region or the branch that is the subject of the complaint. The OL Coordinator and the appropriate manager investigate the complaint and prepare a response, which is then forwarded to the appropriate director general. The OL Division reviews the response before sending it to the Office of the Commissioner.

The regional director and the human resources director are informed of OL complaints. The Champion is also informed, as well as the President of the CBSA, who monitoring the situation of OL in the institution.




Service to the public—Part IV (25%)

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

In partnership with the CPSA and Statistics Canada, the CBSA reviewed the application of Part IV of the Act (Communications with and Services to the Public) at all Agency ports of entry. Further to the restructuring of 2003, regional coordinators identified bilingual offices. In November 2007, the required updates were sent to the CPSA to update the information on the CBSA offices in Burolis. 

When offices are closed or moved, the Comptrollership Branch sends this information to the Manager of OL, who subsequently asks the CPSA to update Burolis.

In total, 89% of employees in bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position (Source: Position and Classification Information System [PCIS], March 31, 2007).


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

According to observations of service in person made by the Office of the Commissioner between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active visual offer was present in 92% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 27% of cases, and service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 79% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by the Office of the Commissioner between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 97% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 91% of cases.


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

A standard language clause is part of the template used to prepare agreements for the delivery of services by third parties.

There are no control mechanisms in place to verify whether services delivered by third parties are provided in both OL and are of good quality.


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

The CBSA has developed a policy on communications with and services to the public. The policy specifies the CBSA's institutional obligations and those of its employees who work in bilingual offices. It also makes all staff aware of the Agency's commitment to respect the equality of English and French. This policy was disseminated to all employees on May 1, 2007.

Employees who provide services to the public are advised on how to deliver these services through information sessions provided by regional coordinators. The content of these sessions differs according to target audience: managers, bilingual employees or unilingual employees. A training session for CBSA officers on active offer was held for the Toronto region and the Prairies.

The frequency of these reminders varies from region to region. Some regions have also developed information kits for employees. The Manager of OL hosts discussions on service delivery at management tables to ensure employees fully understand their obligations and the rationale behind these obligations.

The Windsor–St. Clair region is continuing the systematic presentations on active offer and the OL program at the CBSA for all new officers.

On November 1, the manager of the OL program went to the Northern Ontario region to clarify certain perceptions about active offer at the division in order to convey a clear message on active offer to employees.

The director of human resources and the manager of the OL program went to Lester B. Pearson International Airport to make directors and employees aware of the importance of making an active offer. Since then, a list of bilingual employees on duty is systematically given to all unilingual employees.

Coordinators for the Greater Toronto Area have developed a pocket translator that contains key phrases to be used when a unilingual employee must refer a client to a bilingual employee. These tools have been distributed to all unilingual employees. In addition, two full-time French teachers are now available to help employees who want to improve their French skills.

Regional OL coordinators and superintendents perform regular spot checks to verify the availability and quality of services to the public in the official language of the linguistic minority. The performance appraisals of bilingual employees who provide services to the public include OL objectives.

An audit of active offer was carried out by telephone on October 20, 2007, at all offices designated bilingual for the purposes of communications with and services to the public.


Specific problem

One specific problem that is in the process of being resolved is the provision of services in French at the CBSA service counters at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport and at border crossings in Ontario.




Language of work—Part V (25%)

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

The CBSA has developed a policy on the OL of work. The policy specifies language of work obligations in the following areas for bilingual and unilingual regions: supervision, personal and central services, training and development, work instruments, internal communications and the language of meetings. This policy came into effect on May 1, 2007.

The CBSA has developed a preparatory kit for language training and a kit on language retention, which are distributed to all employees who go on language training in order to improve their chances of successfully completing the course and retaining their second language skills.
A bilingual glossary for the CBSA is available on the intranet. Management Committee meetings take place in both OL.

A training session on language of work was provided to, among others, CBSA employees in the Atlantic region, and explained the communications protocol between regions. Orientation manuals on OL for managers and employees are being developed, including a policy on language training and language skills retention.

Language of work tools, such as signature blocks, bilingual voice mail messages and automatic out-of-office e-mail messages, have been distributed to management and employees.

Recruitment at the CBSA emphasizes hiring and training bilingual staff. An extensive awareness campaign is now underway to this effect.

French teachers have been hired at Pearson Airport to facilitate French learning and make CBSA employees aware of linguistic duality.

In total, 94% of executives holding bilingual positions are bilingual, while 86% of supervisors in bilingual regions meet the requirements of their respective positions (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

The CBSA is using the results of the Public Service Employee Survey and other internal surveys conducted by the regions, branches and divisions to verify whether the policy on the OL of work is being applied. It also uses the results of the performance appraisals of bilingual managers who have supervisory duties and of bilingual employees who provide personal and central services, because these contain OL objectives. The presence or absence of language of work complaints also serves as an indicator to verify whether the policy is being applied. The Manager of OL and the OL coordinators monitor employees' signatures on e-mails, intranet postings and extended out-of-office messages.

Regional coordinators report to senior management on language of work once a year.

The CBSA will use the CPSA’s OL campaign to remind all its employees of the importance of OL in the workplace.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner showed that, overall, 656% of Francophone respondents in the National Capital Region, New Brunswick and the bilingual regions of Ontario "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime. In Quebec, 73% of Anglophone respondents "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime.




Equitable participationPart VI (10%)

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

Overall, the workforce is 23.1% Francophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

In Quebec, the workforce is 13.3% Anglophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).




Development of official language minority communities and promotion of linguistic duality—Part VII (25%)


The promotion of linguistic duality and the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) are mentioned in the CBSA’s accountability framework.

The CBSA has developed an action plan as well as an accountability framework for Part VII, detailing steps to take and positive measures to implement to meet its obligations. These documents should be approved in March 2008.

Senior management attended awareness sessions in 2006, but no sessions were held in 2007.

When assessing Treasury Board submissions, the CBSA takes into account OL repercussions on OLMCs and the promotion of the equal status of English and French.

A Part VII coordinator was appointed in September 2007. Awareness sessions on the needs of OLMCs were held with OL coordinators, directors and managers in order to share and explain the information provided by Canadian Heritage. 

OL regional coordinators have begun consulting with regional and national advocacy associations, and have begun establishing partnerships with other federal institutions.

Employees who develop policies and programs that can have an effect on the promotion of linguistic duality were indirectly made aware of their obligation to take positive measures through the awareness campaign organized by the CBSA’s OL Division.

Certain policies and programs have been reviewed to identify those that have an impact on the promotion of linguistic duality. Such was the case during the human resources planning exercise. However, generally speaking, only new programs and policies are reviewed and include a section on OLMCs and linguistic duality.


(a) Development of official language minority communities (12.5%)


Regional coordinators liaise with OLMCs at the regional level. A list of the relevant advocacy associations was shared with the regional coordinators, who were asked to contact these associations so they are aware of each other.

The Vancouver region is involved in OLMC development through its promotion of the recruitment of bilingual students for summer jobs and the recruitment of permanent bilingual employees for the 2010 Olympic Games.

Regional perspective is taken into account, as was the case in the Atlantic region, where the regional coordinator contacted New Brunswick’s OLMCs.

The CBSA works with departments that are members of the Public Safety Portfolio in order to take a coordinated approach to ensuring cooperation with OLMCs. Meetings to this effect take place two to three times per year.

The Pacific region office regularly distributes recruitment campaign brochures to employment centres. This office has also been distributing these brochures to local French-language colleges and universities (Éducacentre/Simon Fraser University) since October. The office in the Niagara–Fort Erie region is highly involved in Welland’s Francophone community, and brochures are also sent to various Francophone centres. The office in the Greater Toronto Area participated in the York University job fair.
The CBSA has established ties with certain institutions, such as the Cité collégiale and the University of Ottawa, in order to develop a partnership to make Francophone students aware of employment opportunities at the CBSA.


(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)


The implementation of a solid language training program has helped to promote the equal status and use of English and French. The CBSA works in partnership with the private sector, colleges and universities to deliver language training, and has signed agreements with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) and other departments to share resources (instructors and facilities). The CSPS encourages other departments to use the CBSA model.

The CBSA continues to encourage employees from outside Quebec to switch positions for a determined period of time with employees in Quebec to raise awareness of Canada’s linguistic duality.

Notices about competitions are sent to federal associations or councils in certain regions and placed in newspapers and other media.

The CBSA training college in Rigaud now includes an OL component in employees’ basic training to promote the equal status of English and French.

The Atlantic region is highly involved in the 29th Jeux de l’Acadie. The office is encouraging CBSA employees to volunteer to organize events. All regions participate in the Semaine de la Francophonie.