ARCHIVED - Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2007-2008

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Report Card 2007–2008
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Factors and Criteria

Summary of substantiating data


Management (15%)

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

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has an accountability framework posted on its official languages intranet site. The document specifies how the obligations set out in Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act) are to be carried out. The document has been reviewed to update roles and responsibilities, and to incorporate activities relating to Part VII of the Act, providing an integrated departmental approach to the management of the Official Languages Program. Consultations on the new framework took place during a national meeting with DFO official languages coordinators on November 6, 2007. A revised version is being produced, for presentation to the Departmental Management Committee (DMC). The official languages (OL) accountability framework describes the responsibilities of various stakeholders in this regard, such as the role of the two official languages champions, directors general and managers.

In consultation with the Policy Sector (responsible for Part VII of the Act), the DFO Action Plan was reviewed to address Part VII requirements. Actions were reviewed and concrete performance  indicators for Parts IV, V and VI were discussed on November 6, 2007. Indicators developed as a requirement for Part VII are being incorporated into the document. As well, one of the five priorities in DFO’s Action Plan following the Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) is “Embracing our linguistic duality”. The action plan includes priorities and strategies, discussed through a national committee, representing DFO regions, sectors and the Canadian Coast Guard. Through this national committee, lead responsibilities, timelines, resources and status of actions are discussed, with a view to providing DMC, managers and employees with a report on progress.

The Senior Advisor, Official Languages, is consulted on Treasury Board submissions and memoranda to Cabinet, and signs off as such, to ensure that official languages issues are taken into consideration.

All performance agreements for departmental executives include a commitment to ensure that Language of work and service to the public requirements are met and that linguistic duality is promoted.

DFO keeps abreast of progress on OL within the institution and monitors the achievement of objectives set out in the Action Plan by conducting ongoing analyses of all its public Web sites and data on its linguistic capacity, and by ensuring a follow-up for complaints filed with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL).

DFO also conducted a self-assessment of its performance against some of the Performance Report Card criteria.


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

The 2005–2010 Strategic Plan, “Our Waters, Our Future”, addresses OL in terms of fostering a representative workforce and using both OL in the workplace. The Report on Plans and Priorities and the Departmental Performance Report refer to OL.  Also, strategic plans, business plans, and HR plans include applicable references to the importance of official languages. For example, specific sections on OL are included in the HR planning guides at all levels (i.e., RC manager, region and sector/Agency).

Two OL champions support the Deputy Minister. The Departmental Management Committee regularly discusses OL issues and the Senior Associate Deputy Minister shows a keen interest in all OL-related issues. Effective coordination exists between the corporate official languages unit in the Human Resources and Corporate Services Sector, which is responsible for Parts IV, V and VI, and colleagues in the Policy Sector who are responsible for the application of Part VII. Effective coordination also takes place with the regional and Canadian Coast Guard coordinators, and with the OL champions and DMC members.

In 2007, an internal audit of the DFO’s Official Languages Program was conducted. The management action plan resulting from this audit includes 4 recommendations, all of which are well under way. They are: 1) Provide for an integrated OL accountability framework including roles and responsibilities, coordination and accountability mechanisms and communicate the framework to all parties involved; 2) Update, simplify and integrate current OL information on the intranet site to reflect current government OL policies and directives and OL information, including Part VII of the Act.; 3) Provide an integrated departmental OL action plan based on results, risks and delivery capacity that links to Sector, Region and Coast Guard activities and aligns with performance agreements at all levels, and identify OL action plan indicators and expected results; and 4) Ensure that an appropriate mechanism is developed to keep track of progress and of achievements made in implementing the integrated OL Action Plan annually to provide the managers responsible with appropriate information to make decisions and to guide the amendments and updating of the plan in the following year.
DMC meetings continue to be held alternatively in English and in French, and all documentation continues to be provided in both official languages. This process is now well established and the language of the meeting is indicated on the agenda sent prior to the meeting. This practice shows continued strong leadership at the departmental level, which also extends to other national committees.


Complaints and follow-up (5%)

DFO has a mechanism in place to handle complaints filed with OCOL. OL-related complaint notices received by the Director of Official Languages are forwarded to the appropriate Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM), Regional Director General (RDG) or Coast Guard Commissioner. A copy is also sent to the regional OL Coordinator. The complaint notice is then sent to the manager responsible so that the necessary measures can be taken. For “rapid resolution” complaints, the persons in charge of OL directly contact the ADM, RDG or Commissioner responsible.

After the complaint is resolved, a reminder regarding OL obligations is forwarded to the ADM, RDG or Commissioner concerned, asking for this information to be shared with the management team to prevent similar situations in the future. Depending on the nature of the complaints lodged against DFO, reminders are also sent to managers and to employees.

In March 2007, a national Human Resources session was held, with one half-day being devoted to official languages. During the discussions a schematic diagram was presented that outlines the complaints process, to ensure that all OL advisors and coordinators are aware of their responsibilities and of the complaint process.

As part of the Annual Review exercise (CPSA), a summary of complaints is presented, and the Review is seen, and signed off by senior management.




Service to the public—Part IV (25%)

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

Bilingual offices are advertised in the blue pages of local telephone directories. In addition, updates are made to the Burolis system by the corporate official languages unit when received from the regional offices.

A total of 93% 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

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active visual offer was present in 79% of cases; an active offer by staff was made in 10% 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 84% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 79% of cases.


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

Service agreements include a language clause that stipulates that services and communications provided by contractors must be in both OL.

The quality of services delivered by third parties is monitored through a process, implemented in June 2007, whereby managers are responsible for assessing the performance of suppliers against the statement of work and terms and conditions of the contract, including official languages. The assessment results will be put in the suppliers’ files so that the persons responsible can take this information into account when awarding future contracts.


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

DFO does not have its own policy or guidelines on service to the public. Rather, it complies with the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) policies and guidelines. DFO includes links to CPSA policies, directives and tools on its intranet site so that employees can refer to these documents at any time.

There is a document entitled “Official Languages – Rights and Responsibilities” on the Department’s intranet site that outlines individual (and departmental) responsibilities under Parts IV, V and VI of the Act. There is also an official languages component in the departmental orientation program that is offered to all new employees. It also explains the Department’s obligations under Part IV and how employees play an important role in this regard.

On a regular basis, DFO reminds employees on how to offer services to the public, through the document “Your Rights and Responsibilities”, documentation on services to the public on the intranet, meetings, and Au courant/In the Loop articles. Moreover, when resolving complaints filed with OCOL, a notice is systematically published in Au courant/In the Loop to remind employees of their OL obligations. At bilingual offices, posters in both OL encourage clients to use their official language of choice when dealing with employees.

The National Communications Policy is posted on the DFO intranet site, wherein the use of both English and French is promoted and encouraged. The Department also has a consultation policy and toolbox, where many references are made to the importance of official languages in consulting with the public, including minority language communities.

The Department uses information concerning complaints received from OCOL as a means of monitoring compliance with Part IV.

In response to last year’s Report Card, DFO has followed up with the regions and offices where there were problems in regard to official languages, and has circulated a document on “active offer of services in both official languages”.




Language of work—Part V (25%)

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

Although DFO does not have its own policies or guidelines, it applies those of the CPSA, which are posted on the DFO Web site. Nonetheless, DFO has a policy that specifies that all positions involving the supervision of bilingual employees in designated bilingual regions for language of work purposes must be designated CBC. Language training is offered to supervisors who have not attained this level.

Information on  employees’ first OL and linguistic preferences is included in the Department’s Human Resources Information Management System (PeopleSoft), and all employees are given the option of having English or French software installed on their computers.  Employees’ language training files are  maintained and administered by each region’s operations group. 

To foster the use of the official language of the linguistic minority in the workplace, DFO offers language training and translation services.

Each year, the Department signs an agreement with the Translation Bureau that outlines the services provided by the Bureau as well as the accompanying costs. This agreement is posted on the Department’s intranet site, and an announcement to this effect is placed in the departmental newsletter In the Loop/Au courant.

To assist with language retention and to promote the use of the minority language, the Department distributes buttons “Je veux m’exprimer en français … Aidez-moi à le faire” in unilingual English and bilingual regions, and “I would like to express myself in English … Please help me do so” in unilingual French and bilingual regions. DFO also has a “language partnering program”. For example, the Francophone OL Coordinator from Quebec is partnering with the Coordinator from Newfoundland. This is a great opportunity for both to practice, maintain and improve their respective second-language skills.

In  total, 94% of senior management and 90% of supervisors in bilingual positions in bilingual regions meet the language requirements of their position (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

Reminders of managers’ obligations and employees’ rights appear in Au courant/In the Loop. DFO also uses its OL Action Plan to reaffirm its commitment to and respect for the values set out in the Act, including the provisions on language of work. Information about language of work, such as CPSA’s Guide to Holding Bilingual Meetings is also posted on its intranet site.

Departmental Management Committee members are encouraged to use the language of their choice during meetings. In November 2006, the Committee decided to alternate between the two OL at its meetings. Although all documentation (agenda, minutes) is produced in both OL, participants are encouraged to use the language of the meeting when speaking. This practice has been adopted by most national committees, where the meetings are either held alternatively in English and in French, or there are specific items discussed in a specific language.

Teleconferences and videoconferences with regional directors general and participants from the National Capital Region are held in both OL, and participants are encouraged to use the official language of their choice. During national meetings, simultaneous interpretation services are offered, and the documentation and presentations are prepared in both OL.

The application of CPSA policies and directives on language of work is monitored in different ways. DFO uses exit interviews to address, among other things, employees’ perception with regard to management's willingness to ensure linguistic equality. One of the questions asks employees to indicate their level of satisfaction, between 1 and 5, with regard to the respect of their language rights.

Data is communicated to managers through the “Health of HR” document. In addition, the Department uses information concerning complaints received from OCOL as a means of monitoring compliance with Part V.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL showed that overall, 75% 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. Due to the small number of Anglophone respondents in the bilingual regions of Quebec, OCOL was unable to  use the results of the survey in this assessment.




Equitable participationPart VI (10%)

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

Overall, the workforce is 21.7% Francophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

In Quebec, the workforce is 2.5% Anglophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).




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

Information common to both criteria

The accountability framework has been revised to include Part VII of the Official Languages Act and define the roles and responsibilities under this Part. The action plan for supporting the implementation of Part VII includes performance indicators.

Strategic planning and policy and program development takes into account the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) and promotion of linguistic duality. The Department has a consultation framework that lays the groundwork for a common vision and coordinated approach to OLMC consultations. The policy sector provides a policy framework and strategic directions for public consultation.

The Department reviews its memoranda to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions, federal-provincial/territorial and other agreements and draft legislation and regulations to assess their potential impact on OLMCs and/or linguistic duality based on the official languages analysis grid developed by the Treasury Board.

The Action Plan was developed as a result of the Departmental Management Committee’s discussions on the amendments to Part VII, as well as the obligation to foster the development of OLMCs and promote linguistic duality. The Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Part VII is regularly informed of activities related to the implementation of section 41. A presentation was made to senior management in April 2007. A process for data collection and accountability to senior management for activities related to the implementation of section 41 has been added to the existing accountability process for the other parts of the Act and falls under the accountability and revision mechanism of the Department’s OL Accountability Framework. 

As indicated in the organizational chart, DFO has appointed persons responsible for the implementation of Part VII (OLMC development, promotion of linguistic duality), including the OL Champion, who is a senior executive. The coordinators provide regional and national liaison with OLMCs by participating in the meetings of the various stakeholders who work to support the development of these communities: federal government tables, national linguistic minority committees, coordinators in charge of implementing section 41 of the Act, and regional federal councils of the six regions where DFO provides services (Quebec, Maritimes, Gulf, Central and Arctic, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Pacific). During these meetings, the coordinators introduce themselves to the OLMCs to inform them that they are responsible for liaising with them.

Employees who have a role in OLMC development are made aware of these communities’ needs in various ways: meetings with the associations concerned, Canadian Heritage’s Bulletin 41-42, presentations, such as the one on Francophone communities in the North and in Newfoundland and Labrador and sharing of relevant documentation, such as the list of all federal programs for OLMCs, as well as the Web link to Statistics Canada's socio-economic profiles of these communities. DFO has developed profiles of OLMCs that are dependent on fishing or located in coastal areas. In order to ensure that all the employees are kept up to date, Web pages containing tools and references dealing with OLMC needs and the requirements related to promoting linguistic duality will be designed. This activity is included in the action plan for supporting the implementation of Part VII. The Regional Director General, Quebec Region, makes an annual tour of OLMCs to learn about their needs that fall under the Department’s mandate.

The Department has begun reviewing its policies or programs to identify those that have an impact on OLMCs. This activity is part of the multi-year action plan for the implementation of Part VII. The activity is included in the action plan for supporting the implementation of Part VII and the table of related activities.

The Department has four projects in Quebec, through the Interdepartmental Partnership with Official Language Communities (IPOLC). As a result, DFO is now arranging meetings with OLMCs in order to find out their views on active files and assure them that their concerns are being taken into account. One of DFO’s positive measures involves working with Service Canada and the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the regions of Quebec to increase employment and training opportunities in fishing communities on the Lower North Shore. A new project has been launched to promote the development of aquaculture activities by the Francophone community of the Port au Port peninsula in Newfoundland and Labrador.


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

The Department is one of the 16 federal institutions that signed agreements (Government Table) with two national advocacy agencies whose roles are to optimize the economic potential of OLMCs: the coordinating group on economic development and employability (RDÉE) for Francophones outside Quebec, and the Community Table for Anglophones in Quebec.

The Department also participates in meetings of national coordinators responsible for the implementation of section 41 organized by Canadian Heritage. In addition to participating in these activities, the Department’s national coordinator ensures that all reliable information he obtains on the needs of OLMCs is analyzed and circulated to the national coordinators for other parts of the Act (IV, V and VI) to inform them of or encourage them to take into account this information in activities arising from the parts for which they are responsible. For example, the results of Service Canada’s OLMC consultation were forwarded to the colleagues responsible for Part IV – Service to the Public.

The new plan was approved in spring 2007 by the Part VII coordinator, who is the Assistant Deputy Minister for the Policy sector, and by the Senior Associate Deputy Minister. The Department was also able to carry out activities related to the implementation of section 41 without waiting for the plan to be adopted by the Management Committee, which goes through a more exhaustive process. The results of the activities related to the implementation of section 41 are now part of the Management Committee’s Official Languages Program updates.


(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)


The department has taken positive measures to promote equal status and use of English and French both internally and in Canadian society. For example, it is involved in the preparations for Quebec City’s 400th anniversary. In cooperation with various partners including the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec (LHSQ), the Department participated in creating thematic guided tours showcasing the contribution of Anglophones to the development of Quebec City, especially in the fields of shipping and shipbuilding.

The plan contains activities to promote linguistic duality, such as developing an OLMC community media toolkit for the Department’s communications division. Developing profiles of OLMCs that are dependent on fishing or located in coastal areas, including a list of OLMC media and organizations that represent OLMCs, helps the Department disseminate information in these communities in their language. The Communications Branch, Quebec Region, publishes its information in the second official language in OLMC media such as The Gaspé Spec, The First Informer and The Quebec Chronicle Telegraph, in order to reach fishing communities.

The action plan includes performance measures.