ARCHIVED - Environment Canada 2007-2008

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 Report Card 2007–2008
Environment Canada

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data


Management (15%)

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

Environment Canada’s Management Committee approved Guiding Principles on the Roles and Responsibilities concerning the Official Languages Act (the Act) in September 2007. This document outlines the roles and responsibilities regarding official languages (OL) and helps clarify accountabilities. It is complemented with the department’s Official Languages Management Framework, which also sets out a series of roles and responsibilities, and additionally prescribes how the obligations under Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act are to be fulfilled.

In January 2006, the Management Committee approved the Department’s OL Strategy and Action Plan. However, during the next fifteen months, the Department underwent an important transformation, with significant organizational changes, a results-based management system, and changes to more than half of the Executive Management Committee. The Department created the Official Languages Champions network to update and implement the Strategy and Action Plan. While the Action Plan is still valid, the updated version will better reflect the new horizontal structure, the coordination mechanisms, the manner in which those in charge are held accountable, and amendments to the Act. The Committee expects to complete the Strategy in the next fiscal year so that it will be truly strategic, attainable, practical and properly communicated. The Action Plan includes objectives, describes activities, sets deadlines, identifies those in charge and establishes the appropriate performance indicators.

The Department takes the Action Plan’s objectives into account in its annual report to the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) and during discussions with the Executive Management Committee.


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

Neither the Departmental Performance Report nor the Report on Plans and Priorities make mention of OL. According to the 2007–08 to 2009–10 Departmental Audit and Evaluation Plan, an internal audit will be conducted in 2008–09 on compliance with the Treasury Board’s Official Languages Policy. The importance accorded to OL by the Department can be seen in its new, results-based management structure, as well as in its creation of results management teams.

Several discussions regarding OL have been held in the past year by the Executive Management Committee. More specifically, the new guiding principles on roles and responsibilities, as well as Part VII of the Act were discussed, along with issues surrounding language of work. In addition, the project on bilingualism within the horizontal results-management structure was presented to senior management in January and February of 2007. This structure involves outcome-focused project teams comprising members and leads from the NCR and the regions.

Environment Canada has identified three members of the Executive Management Committee as champions for the implementation of the Official Languages Act. They are an assistant deputy minister and a regional director general, co-champions responsible for Parts IV, V, and VI, and an associate assistant deputy minister, responsible for Part VII.

In 2007, a new OL Champions Network composed of EC managers from all regions was created. The network collaborates in updating and preparing an action plan relative to the various parts of the Act to enhance the organization’s linguistic agenda. It coordinates the implementation of the initiatives coming under Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act.


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

The Senior Departmental OL Advisor within the Human Resources Branch, with the assistance of the HR/OL Coordinators Network, handles all OL-related complaints, while the appropriate managers help develop lasting solutions. The ADM responsible for the point of service involved is kept informed of the outcome of the complaints. Complaints are discussed during departmental HR/OL Coordinators Network meetings to provide information and follow-up, and to prevent similar problems from recurring.




Service to the public — Part IV (25%)

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

Environment Canada informs the public and official language minority communities (OLMCs) of its points of service by publishing them in Burolis. Examples of such services include toll-free and recorded weather forecast telephone services as well as services available in person, on site. In addition, Environment Canada advertises bilingual telephone services in the blue pages of the local directories. Significant changes at offices serving the public are advertised or notices are posted online.

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).

OCOL conducted an audit on services to the public provided in both official languages through the automated telephone system of Meteorological Services Canada. The audit was held between June and October of 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, and an active offer by staff was made in 13% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 65% 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 49% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 64% of cases.


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

Environment Canada’s Departmental Guideline on Service to the Public states that provisions regarding linguistic obligations for service to the public must be included in agreements signed by third parties on behalf of the Department. The Guideline also stipulates that review mechanisms must be in place to ensure that this commitment is fulfilled. Service contracts and partnership agreements are drafted using a template that includes a standard clause providing for the delivery of bilingual services where required. The manager responsible for the contract or agreement is also responsible for identifying the relevant OL requirements and ensuring quality control.


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

The Guideline on Service to the Public addresses all the obligations related to the subject, including active offer, signage, use of the media, national and international events and Web sites. The Guideline is available to all personnel through the Department’s national intranet site. Inquiries from managers provide the Human Resources Branch with an opportunity to inform them of their obligations. The HR Branch plans to review the Guideline over the coming months, along with other policy instruments, with a view to updating them and making them more user-friendly.

Managers are informed of upcoming OCOL audits and are reminded of their official languages responsibilities. HR also provides advice when corrective measures are required. Over the past year, the HR Branch completed its annual review and update of Burolis in order to ensure its accuracy.




Language of work — Part V (25%)

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

The Department uses the CPSA’s Policy on the Language of Work. This policy is complemented by sections of the OL Management Framework dealing with language of work.

The Department adopted a policy on learning in 2007 that reiterates entitlement to second-language training. The current departmental directive on access to language training for career development purposes is under review. 

Environment Canada has widened access to internal translation, brokering and editing services.

A series of reference tools developed to assist managers in conducting bilingual meetings was published during the summer of 2007. These include a “Bilingual Meetings Reminder,” a “Checklist for Chairs,” a “Checklist for all Participants.” a document titled “Suggested wording for the Chair” and another titled “Conducting a Meeting in both Official Languages,” which is to be used by horizontal teams.

All of these tools are available on the Intranet site and are therefore easily available to all managers and employees.

In total, 87% of senior management and 93% 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%)

The Deputy Minister and the OL Champion, through various communications, informed EC employees about OL issues, including language of work. For example, on July 18, 2007, the Deputy Minister and Associate Deputy Minister wrote to members of the Leadership Management Council and National Team Leads in order to seek their cooperation in helping the Department achieve better results in meeting its obligations under the Act. In particular, they informed the members of actions being taken in response to the OCOL report card, such as promoting the use of the tools on the conduct of bilingual meetings within their respective programs, and by doing so, set an example. In addition, members were asked to encourage their employees to prepare any briefing notes addressed to senior management in the official language of their choice. 

Also, on August 1, 2007, the Official Languages Champion wrote to senior managers reminding them of the importance of promoting linguistic duality and encouraging them to assist the Department in this area as part of their leadership role. She also encouraged anyone interested to join the new Departmental Champions Network. 

Executive Management Committee meetings take place in both OL.

The Department sees complaints as a driving force for change and seizes opportunities to take action in situations where the language of work issue is neglected.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL showed that overall, 65% 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 regime. In Quebec, 85% of Anglophone respondents "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime.




Equitable participation — Part VI (10%)

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

Overall, the workforce is 29.6% Francophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

In Quebec, the workforce is 10.6% Anglophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).




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

The OL Management Framework, which will be reviewed, sets out the Department’s commitment to enhancing the vitality of OLMCs and to promoting linguistic duality within the Department’s planning process.

The OL Champions network, set up in 2007, is developing an action plan supporting the development of regional OLMCs and promoting linguistic duality.

In 2007, a pilot project was launched by the Atlantic region based on an initiative brought forward by the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (FANE), which is developing a new theme around the environment and sustainable development. The main focus at this time is education and engagement/outreach. As part of this pilot project, the Department has identified a contact person to liaise with the OLMCs, and is considering other initiatives, including collaboration with Canadian Heritage. Meetings were held with representatives of various OLMCs in Nova Scotia regarding establishing initial contact, exploring the needs of the groups and brainstorming on possibilities for collaboration. Following a meeting with Canadian Heritage to explore funding and collaboration options for OLMC environmental groups, an EC Atlantic representative was invited to sit on the Nova Scotia Federal Council Official Languages Sub-Committee (NSFEDC OL). A network was also established within EC Atlantic to look into initiatives the Department could undertake to better respond to the needs of OLMCs and promote linguistic duality. It is expected that as a result of this pilot project, other regions will benefit from lessons learned.

Issues concerning enhancement of the vitality of OLMCs and the promotion of linguistic duality, including the approval of the new Guiding Principles on the Roles and Responsibilities for Environment Canada were discussed in September 2007 and subsequently approved by the Executive Management Committee.

Treasury Board submissions are reviewed by the Human Resources Branch with regards to the Department’s OL obligations.

The Department has reviewed its programs and activities that have an impact on official languages minorities, and as a result, is developing an integral OL action plan.


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

Positive measures were taken by Environment Canada’s Atlantic Region to support the development of OLMCs. As part of its pilot project, a program officer was assigned to liaise with the FANE and the Centre de ressources de la Baie Ste-Marie (CRBSM) in Meteghan, N.S. In addition, an Education and Engagement Program Officer provided advice to the group, educational resources and tools, and an EcoAction Program Officer provided additional support to the group in preparing its EcoAction funding proposals.

In addition, bilingual EC Atlantic representatives attended the Nova Scotia Science Teachers’ Conference held in Halifax in late October as part of its Education and Engagement/Outreach initiatives designed to actively offer advice and teaching resources in French.


(b) Promotion of linguistic duality 12.5%)

Positive measures put in place in the Atlantic region include distribution of two OLMC newspapers to EC Atlantic staffthroughout the region to raise awareness of linguistic minority issues.

Staff is informed about the Jeux de l’Acadie to be held June 27 to July 1, and is encouraged to get involved by volunteering at the event. Other initiatives are also being considered by the OL Network in support of the games.

Representatives of EC Atlantic also planned to do a site visit to the Centre de ressources de la Baie Ste-Marie, one of their OLMC partners, but winter storms interfered with the plans. A visit is likely to take place in the new year