ARCHIVED - Canadian Food Inspection Agency 2007-2008

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 Report Card 2007–2008
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Factors and Criteria

Summary of substantiating data


Management (15%)

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

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) Official Languages (OL) Accountability Framework sets out the roles and responsibilities of its President, Senior Executive Committee, champions, managers, and Human Resources personnel and employees, with regard to Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act). It also outlines the actions to be taken in order to fulfill these responsibilities. The OL Strategic Action Plan covers the 2005–2008 period.

CFIA has an instrument on the delegation of authorities, which establishes accountability for the obligations set out in the various parts of the Act. In addition, a mandatory five-day program, Managing for Success, intended for all new managers who have delegated authority, includes a module on OL requirements and responsibilities.

CFIA’s Corporate Business Plan 2003–2008 indicates that the Agency is committed to re-energizing its OL Program. The OL Annual Review is tabled and discussed each year by the Sub-committee on Human Resources (HR), which is chaired by the Vice President of HR. The commitment to OL is further strengthened by a specific requirement to address OL responsibilities in    accountability-based performance agreements for all of the Agency’s EXs, including the President (people management component). Also, the OL Unit provides regular updates on OL to the Sub-Committee on Human Resources.


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

CFIA’s 2003–2008 Corporate Business Plan and the HR Strategy mention OL under the HR Management and Providing Sound Agency Management sections. The OL Strategic Action Plan 2005–2008 was approved by the Executive Committee and refers to Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act.  Consultations with employees have begun on the Agency’s Renewal Plan 2008–2013 which incorporates OL.

OL elements are included in program audits, especially when it pertains to service delivery.

OL issues are discussed at the meetings of the HR Sub-Committee. The national OL Champion, Head of Legal Services, who was appointed by the President, sits on the Executive Committee and updates CFIA’s Executive Committee on OL issues. Discussions on OL matters at various levels of management take place on an on-going basis. To ensure coordination of the approval stages and information sharing among the OL Champion, the HR Executive Director as well as the VP of Operations, a formal distribution  process was  established last year and continues to be successful this year.
Coordination exists amongst the various CFIA OL players.  The OL Champions Network has been going strong since 2003–2004: the national and area OL Champions (National Capital Region, Western, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic), OL coordinators and human resources OL leads meet on a quarterly basis to discuss OL issues and challenges. The area OL champions also meet with their respective area management teams to discuss OL issues, develop, approve and implement area OL action plans covering Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act. CFIA has also identified five human resources OL leads in each of the areas, who support the OL Program and their respective OL champions. The OL coordinators provide ongoing advice and assistance to OL leads and OL champions.

Responsibility for Part VII of the Act is taken into account in the corporate-wide objectives, in accordance with the Action Plan for Official Languages, along with obligations under Parts IV, V, and VI.

A new mandatory E-Orientation Program was developed for new employees, which includes an OL module that covers employees’ rights and obligations with respect to the four parts of the Act, CFIA’s commitment to a work environment conducive to both OL, and promotion of toolkits available to employees and other program initiatives. In addition, the mandatory training for all managers will include a standalone e-module course on OL.


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

Complaints are sent to the OL coordinator, and recorded and forwarded to the appropriate field office. The responsible manager is personally involved in identifying corrective actions, ensuring the implementation of such measures and reporting back to the OL coordinator, who liaises with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL).

Senior management is informed of the nature of complaints filed against CFIA and of actions taken to resolve them. In order to avoid a recurrence of similar problems, the complaints and the corrective measures put in place are discussed during the HR Operations Division conference call via the OL coordinator or shared through e-mail. The HR managers discuss complaints and resolutions with the Area Management Team.

Complaints and their resolutions are also discussed at the OL Champions Network teleconferences. In addition, non-compliant offices have to prepare an action plan for corrective measures, and the OL Unit  follows up to ensure that the measures are effective and efficient.




Service to the public—Part IV (25%)

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

Bilingual offices information appears in Burolis, on the CFIA Web site and in the blue pages of telephone directories. Recent changes in office locations have been communicated to the various governmental levels and via on-site signs.

A total of 89% of employees in bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position (Source: CFIA’s Annual Review on Official Languages 2006-2007).


(b) Observations on active offer and service delivery

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active visual offer was present in 89% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 4% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 64% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 87% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 87% of cases.


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

Service agreements with third parties contain clauses on requirements stemming from the Act. For example, OL requirements apply to publications produced in conjunction with, or by, third parties under partnership or other agreements. The Agency’s Public Affairs Branch is responsible for monitoring OL compliance under the service agreements with respect to publications.  Procurement and Contracting is responsible for monitoring OL compliance under service agreements and if OL obligations are not met, the contract in question may not be paid in full.

As an example of a recent reminder, HR Advisors within the CFIA sent a note to their client group managers to reiterate that consultants hired to run competitions must have the ability to communicate in both official languages when dealing with applicants. In addition, Procurement was contacted to request that a statement be inserted in contracts for third party services to ensure that the language rights of participants in appointment processes be respected.

The information package for managers with regard to compliance to OL notes that managers are to be vigilant when services are co-located and jointly operated to ensure the public continues to receive federal services in the OL of its choice. For example, managers are to ensure that such obligations are included in the agreement with the partner in question.


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

CFIA’s Official Languages Policy applies to all CFIA employees and to persons working for or on behalf of the Agency through other contracting or assignment agreements. The Policy’s objective is to provide CFIA’s managers and employees with guidance as to their rights and responsibilities in relation to Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act as well as to the administration of the OL Program. The Policy makes all employees aware of CFIA’s commitment to official languages including taking concrete and positive measures to serve the Canadian public in the OL of its choice.  Policy provisions are covered under the E-orientation and in-class program for all employees.

To assist staff members in serving the public in both OL, CFIA provides them with electronic bilingual tools, such as: Achieving Balance: A practical guide to help employees meet their obligations under the Official Languages Act and two Guides for Delivering Services in both Official Languages, one is intended for managers and the other one for employees.

An information package is also distributed to all employees. It outlines their responsibilities with regard to service delivery in both OL, and contains an English-French glossary, and a list of common expressions in both OL.

Presentations on service to the public are made during visits to several of CFIA’s bilingual points of service. The presentation deals with four key elements of service to the public: active offer, capability to provide adequate service in the language chosen by the client, voice mail in both OL and visual active offer.  The presentation was also sent to managers who are responsible for offices designated to provide bilingual services.  Managers were required to use the presentation to review service to the public obligations with their  employees.

CFIA has committed to improving its external service delivery in both OL. In 2006–2007, a third party conducted internal monthly monitoring activities on active offer and adequate service by phone in all of CFIA designated bilingual points of service. A final report was provided to senior management, and the OL Unit in collaboration with Operations Branch is closely monitoring action plans on the implementation of corrective measures.

The Human Resources Branch also conducts internal telephone monitoring exercises on all offices required to provide bilingual service on a semi-annual basis (last one conducted in September 2007). Results of this exercise were positive and will be communicated to the Operations Branch. Corrective measures will be implemented as required.

The OL Unit performs audits and follow-ups on various activities pertaining to OL. They also prepare regular progress reports and follow up on corrective measures action plans when an office is identified as not meeting  service to the public requirements.




Language of work—Part V (25%)

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

CFIA’s OL Policy sets out the rights and obligations for employees in designated bilingual regions for language of work purposes with regard to supervision, central and personal services, work instruments, professional and developmental training, internal communications and the language used during meetings. The policy sensitizes all CFIA employees to the Agency’s commitment to official languages, including the building of an exemplary workplace respectful of Canada’s linguistic duality and the active promotion of its OLs. Policy provisions are covered under the E-orientation and in-class program for all employees.

Meetings are chaired in both OL and participants are encouraged to use the OL of their choice.
The Agency offers language training through the Developmental Language Training Program that has been running for four years.

An OL event was hosted at Headquarters to launch a new  Getting Ready for your Second Official Language Training toolkit, developed to support CFIA’s employees in learning their second official language. This toolkit outlines what happens in the employee’s day-to-day work activities, what is expected of them as a new student, how to handle those work-related questions from colleagues and how to retain their language skills.

The Getting Ready for your Second Official Language toolkit was printed and sent to CFIA employees currently on the waiting list for second language training. A Contact article and a National Info Bulletin promoting the two toolkits were also written and distributed to all staff. The toolkits were made available on CFIA’s intranet site for easy access by all staff. 

In addition, a new bookmark was also developed to promote the CFIA’s OL Resource Centre where employees can obtain information about official languages and the various tools available to them. The bilingual bookmark was distributed at an OL event at Headquarters and to employees across the country.
A total of 86% of supervisors in bilingual regions who must supervise employees in both OL are able to do so (Source: Data from Annual Review of OL, Official Languages Information System [OLIS II], March 31, 2007).


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

The CFIA’s OL Communication Plan ensures that regular reminders are sent out to employees and managers on rights and obligations with regard to the four parts  of the Act, including language of work, through the internal newsletter, Contact, National Info Bulletins and Bulletin 41-42 (distributed by Canadian Heritage) on a quarterly basis. OL messages are circulated to all staff through various channels, including the internal distribution list that serves as a communication system to reach all employees.  By March 2008, a total of seven communiqués will have been distributed to all employees with respect to OL.

Members of the Executive Committee are encouraged to use their language of choice during meetings.

The OL coordinator monitors widely distributed e-mails on a regular basis to ensure that messages are sent out simultaneously in both OL. A unit self-evaluation form to control policy compliance is part of the Manager’s Obligation package.

OL data pertaining to staff members’ language of choice is updated regularly in Peoplesoft through the self-serve functionality.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL showed that overall, 69% of Francophone respondents in the National Capital Region (NCR), New Brunswick and bilingual regions of Ontario "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work policy. In Quebec, 57% 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%)

The CFIA has been able to maintain its Francophone representation throughout Canada in spite of its extensive growth over the last few years. Overall, the workforce is  26.2% Francophone (Source: CFIA’s Annual Review on Official Languages 2006-07, March 31, 2007).


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

In Quebec, the workforce is 2.8% Anglophone (Source: CFIA’s Annual Review on Official Languages 2006-07, March 31, 2007).




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


The Corporate OL coordinator is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Act, including Part VII, and for communicating such information (development of OLMCs and promotion of linguistic duality) within the organization. The Agency has designated staff members for liaising with the relevant OLMC associations via its participation on the OL committee of the federal councils in three of its four areas (Western, Ontario and Atlantic).

The Corporate OL coordinator is responsible for reviewing memoranda to Cabinet to ascertain that they take into account the obligation to promote the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs), and determine the impact they may have on these communities. Although CFIA is not one of the designated institutions reporting to Canadian Heritage under section 41, the 2005/2006–2007/2008 OL Strategic Action Plan and the Official Languages Policy were amended to specifically include the obligations outlined under Part VII of the Act: development of OLMCs and promotion of linguistic duality.

Last year, the CFIA asked Canadian Heritage to make a presentation on Part VII to its Executive Committee in order to make senior managers aware of the obligations resulting from amendments to the Act and of the positive measures to be undertaken. As a follow-up, a briefing note has been prepared for members of the Executive Policy Committee (EPC) on Part VII of the Act.  A National Information Bulletin for all staff members on Part VII has also been prepared and should be released shortly.

The Agency has continued to review its policies and programs, especially those pertaining to job postings and food recalls, in order to ensure that the pertinent notices are placed in minority language publications.

CFIA continues to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, one of the 32 institutions reporting to Canadian Heritage, and with whom it shares certain responsibilities, in order to become better acquainted with the needs of OLMCs, and to subsequently determine how best to meet those needs.

An official languages strategic action plan, which was approved in April 2006, mentions that the CFIA will consult with communities and establish partnerships with other government departments. CFIA is in the process of determining how to assess the results of its action plan.

CFIA has developed a Quality Manual for its policies and publications which devotes an entire chapter on the guidelines and processes pertaining to policy development. OL are one of the main components addressed in: the planning of the writing of a policy; the process of developing, writing, editing and publishing a policy, and the consultation processes related to the development of a policy.


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

The national and area OL champions are responsible for liaising with OLMCs and for providing them with relevant information. Prior to changing the designation of some of its offices, senior managers contacted the OLMCs in the affected regions (Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia and Quebec) to inform them of the situation and to achieve a consensus as to the best way to provide bilingual services in those areas. The consultation exercise that was conducted by CFIA enabled the OLMCs to become better acquainted with the CFIA employees who have been designated to liaise with them in the regions. The Corporate OL coordinator also sent a formal letter on the matter to the umbrella organizations of the OLMCs, including Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and la Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne.

CFIA’s Official Languages Strategic Action Plan that was approved in April 2006 mentions that the Agency will consult with communities and will establish partnerships with other government departments.

CFIA senior management has held discussions on how to best factor in the needs of the OLMCs, particularly with regard to service delivery alternatives.

In order to raise awareness among employees involved in OLMC development, the Agency ensures that they receive information following meetings of the Official Languages Crown Corporations Advisory Committee network and the national coordinators of designated federal institutions responsible for the implementation of section 41 of the Act.

One of the positive measures developed by CFIA consists of a national recruitment kit. The kit includes a link intended for new employees as well as for those being transferred that indicates where they can obtain information on services provided in the minority language (OLMC schools, theatres and businesses) so that they may continue living in their official language, while contributing to the development of OLMCs.


(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)

The CFIA Publication Policy includes an entire  section on OL. It sets out the OL requirements for bilingual publications, for staff and third parties or other parties  in an agreement. It also states a commitment to consider the needs of non-official language target audiences when planning and developing publications.

Employees who help to promote linguistic duality, such as the Public Affairs staff, are responsible for ensuring that CFIA’s advertisements are published in OLMC media. In order to raise awareness among employees who have a role to play in promoting linguistic duality, the Agency ensures that they receive information from meetings with the Official Languages Crown Corporations Advisory Committee network and the national coordinators of designated federal institutions responsible for the implementation of section 41 of the Act.

One example of the positive measures undertaken by CFIA to promote the equal status of English and French internally was the official launch in 2006–2007 of the Maintaining your Second Official Language toolkit. It provides a variety of practical tips and suggestions to help staff apply and maintain their second official language skills so that language-training graduates can achieve a level of comfort in using their second official language. CFIA also recognizes how important it is to acknowledge the accomplishments of its employees and sends a congratulatory letter signed by the employee’s most senior manager and the sector’ OL Champion to congratulate the employee on attaining the language proficiency levels. The CFIA continues to promote all its official languages toolkits among both employees and managers.

Another OL event was hosted on March 20, 2007 at Headquarters, which coincided with Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie and had a three-fold objective: to launch the new Getting Ready for your Second Official Language Training; to re-distribute last year’s Maintaining your Second Official Language toolkit on maintaining your second OL; and to promote the events held across the country for Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.  During this event, French-language and English-language “Canadian Landscapes” books were given out as prizes in order to promote both communities amongst employees.