ARCHIVED - Canadian Food Inspection Agency 2008-2009

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2008-2009 Report Card
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

Official Languages Program Management (15%)

Rating

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has developed an official languages strategic plan for 2008–2013. The Plan describes the specific activities to be taken by the CFIA to meet its official languages obligations under Parts IV, V, VI and VII. The Strategic Plan is a detailed document that describes the various official languages activities to take place over a five-year period. Many of the activities related to managing and administering the official languages program repeat from year to year, such as completing and submitting the Official Languages Annual Report to the Canada Public Service Agency and monitoring data on official languages. As a result, many of the activities in the plan are described as ongoing.

The Plan is updated periodically according to changes in government priorities and new initiatives undertaken by the Agency. The activities listed in the Plan are reviewed regularly.

Last year’s report card for the CFIA called for improvements in service to the public in both official languages and in the use of each official language in the workplace. In response to the Office of the Commissioner’s 2007–2008 observations, the CFIA followed up with every office where service in both official languages was not adequate. Corrective actions were discussed and implemented at each office to ensure quality service.

With respect to service to the public, the CFIA plans to conduct an internal monitoring exercise at all CFIA offices with official languages obligations. Results are to be shared with senior management, and corrective actions are to be taken where deficiencies exist. The first exercise is scheduled for early spring 2009. Furthermore, when external organizations such as the Canada Public Service Agency and the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages conduct audits within the CFIA, the Agency follows up with the respective managers in offices where corrective measures are required.

Last year, the CFIA had 16 designated offices without bilingual capacity. Action plans have been developed to correct the situation, and the Agency continually monitors these offices. The number of offices without bilingual capacity has now been reduced to 11. The CFIA’s plan is to continue the monitoring of these offices on a semi-annual basis, but no specific measures or target dates have been adopted to ensure the full compliance of all offices.

The CFIA submits an annual review on official languages to the Canada Public Service Agency. Last year, it provided a targeted review on service to the public. The CFIA is not obligated to provide a report on Part VII to Canadian Heritage.

The CFIA continues to promote the importance of respecting the use of each official language in the workplace. A communiqué was sent to all employees on this specific topic.

Although measures are in place, the CFIA must intensify its efforts and actions to improve its capacity to offer quality services in both official languages at all times. It must also make the organization’s workplace conducive to the use of English and French, and be more instrumental in fostering linguistic duality and the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs).

The CFIA is committed to working with the Office of the Commissioner to resolve complaints, and cooperates fully with the Office of the Commissioner’s employees in this regard. Very few complaints against the CFIA were received during 2008–2009.

B

Service to the Public Part IV of the Official Languages Act (30%)

According to observations of service in person made by the Office of the Commissioner between June and December 2008, an active visual offer was present in 83% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 17% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was available in 72.5% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by the Office of the Commissioner between June and December 2008, 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 available in 91.4% of cases.

According to observations of service by e-mail made by the Office of the Commissioner between September and December 2008, the availability of service is comparable for both linguistic groups 88.9% of the time, and benefits Francophones 11.1% of the time. However, the response time is, on average, 5.76 hours longer in French than in English.

B

Language of Work  Part V of the Official Languages Act (25%)

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner showed that, overall, 69% of Francophone respondents in the National Capital Region (NCR), New Brunswick and the bilingual regions of Ontario "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime. In Quebec, 54% of Anglophone respondents were of the same opinion.

For both categories of respondents, the satisfaction rate by question is presented below.

Survey Questions

Anglophone Respondents

Francophone Respondents

The material and tools provided for my work, including software and other automated tools, are available in the official language of my choice.

75%

84%

When I prepare written materials, including electronic mail, I feel free to use the official language of my choice.

45%

60%

When I communicate with my immediate supervisor, I feel free to use the official language of my choice.

55%

72%

During meetings in my work unit, I feel free to use the official language of my choice.

40%

57%

The training offered by my work unit is in the official language of my choice.

55%

72%

D

Participation of English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians  Part VI of the Official Languages Act (10%)

Overall, the workforce is 26% Francophone.

In Quebec, excluding the NCR, the workforce is 3% Anglophone.

(Source: CFIA, March 4, 2009)

C

Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality  Part VII of the Official Languages Act (20%)

The corporate official languages 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 CFIA also has a network of official languages champions comprised of a national champion, five area champions, five area human resources leads and the corporate official languages coordinator. Network members meet regularly to discuss official languages issues and best practices. In addition, the CFIA’s national official languages champion was recently appointed member of the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions. Furthermore, CFIA employees across Canada attend their respective Federal Councils, where OLMC matters are discussed.

The CFIA should develop a more formal approach to ensure a better understanding of the impact of its daily operations on OLMCs and on the promotion of linguistic duality.

Although the CFIA does not have a formal process to identify the needs of OLMCs, regional managers across Canada are responsible for knowing the demographics and official languages requirements of their clients and the OLMCs served by their regional offices.

The CFIA continues to work with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to become better acquainted with the needs of OLMCs and how best to meet those needs.

The Agency continues to use its quality manual for policy and publication development. The Quality Manual explains the guidelines and processes to be followed to ensure that Part VII of the Official Languages Act is taken into consideration throughout the process. The CFIA continues to distribute all its publications, including emergency food recall alerts, to the public in both official languages at all times.

The CFIA published three articles in Contact, its internal newsletter, on the topic of official languages. An article entitled “Supporting our Official Language Minority Communities” was released in September 2008, a second article, “Respecting employees like we respect the Canadian public,” was released in November 2008 and a third article, entitled “Providing service to the public in both official languages,” was published in March 2009.

In March 2008, the CFIA held an official languages event with the theme “There are Champions amongst us” to coincide with the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. Official languages toolkits were handed out, and awareness of official languages was raised through an interactive game and questionnaire.

The CFIA is a partner in the Food for Health travelling exhibition and Web site. The travelling exhibition is bilingual and will be touring across Canada. It will be accessible in both official languages to the Canadian public.

The CFIA continues to use its national recruitment kit, which includes a link for all new or transferred employees indicating where they can obtain information on services in the minority language (schools, theatres and businesses). The goal is to allow employees to continue living in their official language, and to contribute to the development of OLMCs.

The above-mentioned measures constitute a first step, but will have to be paired with additional efforts so the CFIA can play a more significant role in the development of OLMCs and the advancement of English and French.

C

Overall Rating

C