ARCHIVED - Health Canada 2006-2007

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Performance Report 2006-2007
Health Canada

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data


Management (15%)

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

In May 2006, Health Canada developed a departmental official languages (OL) accountability framework. The framework sets out the respective OL responsibilities of the Deputy Minister, the Official Languages Champion, managers, the Diversity and Official Languages Program (DOLP), the Official Language Community Development Bureau (OLCDB), official languages coordinators, human resources advisors and employees. The framework was communicated to members of the Departmental Executive Committee and to all employees.

In the fall of 2006, a departmental action plan for official languages was prepared by the DOLP. The Action Plan is spread out over three years, from 2006 to 2009, and sets out the various activities that the Department plans to carry out in regards to Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (the Act). The purpose of the Action Plan is to consolidate into one document the actions undertaken by the Executive Committee at several points in  2005 and 2006, and a few other actions related to monitoring by central agencies. As a department that reports to Canadian Heritage, Health Canada also developed an action plan pursuant to section 41 of the Act.

The organizational structures at Health Canada play an important role in OL governance and accountability. There are 15 OL coordinators working at Health Canada: 8 at national headquarters and 7 others in each of the Department's 7 regions. They form a tight-knit and active national network. Coordinators participate in the development of the annual OL Action Plan for their region/sector. They are supported by two units at national headquarters, namely the OLCDB for Part VII of the Act, and the DOLP Unit, for Parts IV, V and VI. All coordinators and national headquarters staff working in the OL sector hold conference calls every two months and meet once a year for a three-day national retreat.

Accountability measures consist of follow-ups with managers and OL coordinators. The information collected is shared with the OL Champion, who is very involved in this issue. To clarify and reinforce the role of official languages coordinators in the regions, branches and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, Health Canada developed a document setting out the responsibilities of OL coordinators. It describes their mandate in terms of Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act, and in relation to each related policy, directive and regulation. After being submitted to the OL coordinators, human resources (HR) directors and the Executive Committee for consultation, the document was approved in January 2006.

As another accountability mechanism, the DOLP has posted the Departmental Review on Official Languages on the intranet OL page, and it has undertakento post, in full, the reviews of the regions, the branches and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency. This procedure strongly encourages these organizations to be proactive in OL issues, since they are subject to scrutiny by everyone. All reviews are also covered each year in a communiqué to all employees, thereby consolidating the promotion of the OL Program within each departmental organization. Furthermore, promoting diversity, equality and OL is on the list of indicators used to evaluate managers' performance.


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

OL are part of Health Canada's strategic plan. Moreover, official languages figure prominently in the Human Resources Planning Framework and the Human Resources Action Plan, two HR tools which are now common instruments for managers and which assign several planning performance indicators to official languages.

The 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities and the 2005-2006 Departmental Performance Report both make several references to the health services initiative in official language minority communities (OLMCs), as foreseen in the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Official Languages.

It was decided in June 2005 that OL would be included in the internal audit process. However, the Department is still in talks with the Official Languages Branch of the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada (PSHRMAC), which has a mandate in this area, to avoid duplication of effort.

The OL Champion, who is an assistant deputy minister, sits on the Executive Committee with the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, who is responsible for Part VII. This committee formally discusses OL approximately three times per year.

There is good coordination of the various parts of the Act.The Executive Director of the OLCDB meets regularly with the two assistant deputy ministers responsible for OL (i.e., the OL Champion and his colleague, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy, to whom the OLCDB ultimately reports). The director responsible for the DOLP meets regularly with the OL Champion, who is her assistant deputy minister. As a result of these exchanges, the Champion ensures the proper coordination of all parts of the Act.OL activities within the Department are well coordinated through conference calls held every two months between all the regional and national OL coordinators, as well as annual retreats to discuss issues related to Parts IV to VII of the Act.

To increase the visibility of the OL Program, Health Canada implemented a new recognition award in April 2006 called the Deputy Minister's Award for Excellence in Official Languages. Handed out annually during Public Service Week, this award is a symbol of recognition for a manager or employee who has demonstrated leadership in promoting OL or whose actions have shown that the quality of service to the public and to employees depends on respect for OL. Moreover, a national department-wide survey showed that the majority of OL coordinators receive significant support from their senior managers with regard to promoting linguistic duality in their respective organizations.


c) Complaints (5%)

OL complaints are forwarded to the Deputy Minister, with a copy to the person in charge of OL within the DOLP. A representative of the DOLP maintains ongoing communications with the manager concerned, who must resolve the complaint, identify corrective measures and follow up on their implementation.

Complaints are recorded in a database for the purpose of analysis; this information is used for preparing reports on service to the public and language of work. The Executive Committee is not informed of the nature of all OL complaints filed against the institution nor the measures taken to resolve them. However, information on recurring complaints is brought to the attention of OL coordinators and all staff, including managers. The information is included in the Broadcast News and discussed at the annual OL coordinators' retreat. The network of OL coordinators shares best practices.




Service to the Public - Part IV (25%)

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

All Health Canada offices offering services in both OL are listed in Burolis and in the blue pages of telephone directories.

In total, 86% of employees in bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position. (Source: Position and Classification Information System [PCIS], March 31, 2006.)


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

According to observations of in-person service made by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) between mid-June and mid-July 2006, an active visual offer was present in 61% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 17% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 84% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July 2006, an active offer by staff or by an automated system was made in 75% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 88% of cases.


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

Health Canada has added a language clause to its contribution agreements. This clause, specific to Health Canada, states that the recipient of the contribution is required to clearly define the project's clientele and, in consultation with the Department, to take the steps required to comply with the Act.

Staff members involved in the purchasing and services process are informed of their OL obligations during mandatory training. Third-party delivery of services is one of the topics covered in the brochure on service to the public. Contracts with consultants include a clause providing for services in both OL where required. Parties signing these contracts must ensure that services are being provided in both OL.


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

In the fall of 2006, Health Canada developed a departmental policy on service to the public. It was sent for consultation to key stakeholders in the area of service to the public and will soon be submitted to senior management for approval. The policy will also make all personnel aware of the institution's commitment to respecting the equality of both OL.

There are several tools informing employees who provide service to the public about how to deliver bilingual services. For example, in September 2006, Health Canada updated its service to the public brochure to revamp the presentation and incorporate new information on its policy regarding service to the public and two related directives that took effect in 2005. All employees were informed about the new brochure, and it was specifically marketed to OL coordinators.

The orientation course regularly offered to new Health Canada employees contains a component on bilingual service to the public. OL coordinators also issue regular reminders to managers in their sector/region regarding the need to provide adequate bilingual service in designated bilingual offices, and this topic is sometimes covered in communiqués from headquarters.

The DOLP Unit is preparing to conduct an in-house audit in 2007 regarding service on the telephone and in person in the language of the linguistic minority in all of Health Canada's designated bilingual regional offices.




Language of Work - Part V (25%)

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

In the fall of 2006, the Department developed its own policy on language of work, which will be submitted for approval during a presentation to the Executive Committee in March 2007. This policy is accompanied by a document entitled Support Document for the Health Canada Policy on Language of Work, which is intended to facilitate interpretation and understanding of the various components of the policy. Furthermore, the Department has produced a language of work brochure entitled Language of Work, English/French - It's Your Right - It's a Matter of Respect, which is widely distributed internally. The brochure outlines rights and obligations with regard to the language of work in the following areas: supervision, work tools, personnel services, central services and meetings. The document describes the role of supervisors, managers and senior management in creating a workplace where employees are encouraged to use the OL of their choice.

Various measures are in place to promote the application of the Policy on Language of Work, including two part-time language-training programs offered by Health Canada. Under one program, as part of an agreement with Statistics Canada for shared language-training services, 581 Health Canada employees received part-time language training between April 2006 and March 2007. Under the other program, 444 employees registered for French as a second language courses, and 41 employees registered in English as a second language courses. There is also a wide range of educational materials to encourage second language learning in each of the 8 Health Canada learning centres.

Health Canada is active in the regions with regard to learning retention. Vendredis en français and English Fridaysare common practices in the regions and at some branches. Employees who participate in this activity wear a button indicating that they wish to practice their second language. In Alberta, the Translation Bureau was asked to give an information session on Termium to familiarize staff with the various components of the database that can help them retain their second language skills.

In fact, throughout 2006, a wide range of OL tools and information (brochures, guides, communiqués, policy instruments, and internal and external reports) was made available to the Department's employees on the new consolidated official languages Intranet page. The site's feedback system allows employees to contact an official languages officer directly to obtain opinions and advice, express a viewpoint or provide comments.

As of March 31, 2006, PCIS indicated that 88% of senior management and 82% of management who must communicate in both languages with their staff in designated bilingual regions are in fact bilingual.


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

In designated bilingual regions for language of work purposes, use of the official language of the linguistic minority in the workplace is actively encouraged. OL rights and responsibilities are explained to new employees during the orientation course.

Moreover, for several years now, the DOLP Unit has been issuing monthly communiqués on official languages, including language of work, in Broadcast News. These messages remind employees and managers of their rights and responsibilities with regard to creating a workplace conducive to the use of both OL. All OL communiqués are also permanently posted on the official languages page of the HR intranet site.

Information sessions are also given to employees to remind them of their rights regarding the use of the OL of their choice, and to managers to remind them of their obligation to create a workplace conducive to the use of both OL.

Management committee meetings are held in both OL.

Health Canada uses a questionnaire intended for employees leaving the Department as a quality control tool for its OL services, particularly with regard to language of work. Furthermore, in the fall of 2006, Health Canada began analyzing official languages data by branch and by region based on the results of the 2005 Public Service Employee Survey. The DOLP Unit conducted a follow-up by giving a presentation on OL to the management committee of each branch where the results were less satisfactory, and asked the managers concerned to take appropriate corrective measures to improve the situation, if necessary. These measures help monitor the application of the Policy on Language of Work.

In April 2006, the Associate Deputy Minister approved the departmental strategy for raising the linguistic profile to CBC for feeder groups. This strategy affects EX minus 1 and minus 2 supervisory positions in designated bilingual regions. The strategy will be implemented over three to five years, depending on whether it is a scientific organization (five years) or not, and will take into account the operational requirements and costs of related language training. In all likelihood, raising the bilingual capacity of supervisory staff will directly contribute to creating workplaces that are more conducive to the use of both official languages.

The Public Service Employee Survey determined that 68% 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, 51% of Anglophone respondents shared the same view.




Equitable Participation  - Part VI (10%)

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

Overall, the workforce is 24.1% Francophone. (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2006.)


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

In Quebec, the workforce is 3.9% Anglophone. (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2006.)




Development of Official Language Minority Communities and Promotion of Linguistic Duality - Part  VII (25%)

a) Strategic planning and the development of policies and programs take into account the development of official language minority communities (12.5%)

Health Canada is a department identified to receive funding under the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Official Languages. As a result, Health Canada staff who develop policies and deliver programs are now well aware of the obligations related to OLMC development and the need to take them into account in departmental actions. Health Canada prepares an action plan on the implementation of section 41 of the Act and a status report, which it submits to Canadian Heritage in accordance with the Official Languages Accountability Framework adopted by the Government of Canada in 1994. The Champion actively promotes OL issues among executive committee colleagues and in the Department. With his colleague, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy (to whom the OLCDB reports), he ensures that strategic planning, and policy and program development take into account the development of OLMCs.

Another permanent mechanism that ensures departmental staff take into account the obligations of Part VII is the departmental Policy Supporting Official Language Minority Communities, which became effective April 1, 2004. This policy commits the Department to “take concrete measures to make branch and regional staff more aware of the needs of official language minority communities and to government undertakings pursuant to Part VII of the Official Languages Act.”

In January 2006, representatives from the Department of Justice and Canadian Heritage spoke with OL coordinators about the amendments to the Act. The OL Champion attended this meeting. In March 2006, a communiqué was sent to all employees summarizing the amendments to the Actand highlighting the associated responsibilities. The Champion then raised the issue with the Executive Committee.

Within the Department, the Official Language Community Development Bureau is specifically responsible for the implementation of Part VII. Moreover, the Minister of Health has a ministerial advisory committee for Francophone minority communities, and from an advisory committee for the Anglophone community in Quebec. The OL Champion is the co-chair of both committees, which meet formally twice a year. A representative of the OLMCs is the other co-chair. These committees serve as a two-way feedback mechanism for following up on consultations held by the committee members.

Employees involved in OLMC development are already aware of these communities' needs due to the nature of their work. As the Department is an institution that must report every year to the Department of Canadian Heritage on its activities related to Part VII, and as it plays a major role in the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Official Languages, the changes resulting from the November 2005 amendments to the Act did not require an actual change in procedures at Health Canada. However, in the regions, the members of the network of coordinators responsible for the implementation of Part VII of the Act continue to raise awareness by participating in management committee meetings in their regions and in the Federal Councils; by inviting employees to information sessions on the implementation of Part VII; by publishing articles on best practices in monthly newsletters, etc.

At headquarters, the OLCDB and its network of coordinators in the branches continually ensure that the institution is aware of and responsive to the needs of the communities, and that communities are consulted on new programs, priorities, initiatives or policies.

The Department did not have to review its policies and programs to determine which ones might have an impact on OLMCs, as this had already been done in the past. Furthermore, the Department has had a policy in this regard since April 2004, as well as a permanent mechanism, namely its grants and contributions database which identifies the programs that have an impact on OLMCs and OL in general.

A number of positive measures were taken in 2006-2007 as part of the planned spending under the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Official Languages, such as the grant program to improve access to health services for official language minority communities and the OLMC envelope of the Primary Health Care Transition Fund.

As already noted, Health Canada formally consults OLMCs nationwide twice a year. In the regions, Health Canada maintains ongoing relationships and seeks constant, ongoing feedback from stakeholders such as the Réseau santé en français, and revises its action plan to reflect this regular contact.

Health Canada publishes its status report each year in accordance with Canadian Heritage requirements. The format proposed by Canadian Heritage changed this year, and the next report will contain output and outcome indicators. Some tools to measure performance, such as surveys, have already been developed in certain regions, while others will be developed within the next year by regional coordinators and the OLCDB.


b) Strategic planning and the development of policies and programs take into account the promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)

The Champion participates in all important meetings and ensures that strategic planning and policy and program development take the promotion of linguistic duality into account. The Department submits an action plan on the implementation of section 41 of the Actto Canadian Heritage. However, it should be noted that the primary orientation of this plan is OLMC development and the availability of equivalent health services in both languages, not the active promotion of the use and equal status of English and French as such—which is a better reflection of Health Canada's primary mandate. Similarly, the departmental Policy to Support Official Language Minority Communities focuses almost exclusively on OLMC development, although it does mention the obligation to advance the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian society.

After the presentation by the Department of Justice and Canadian Heritage, the Executive Committee was informed of the obligation to promote linguistic duality, but ensuing discussions dealt mostly with OLMC development. However, there are several initiatives and tools to promote both OL among employees (see below).

The OLCDB is responsible for the implementation of Part VII and for the development and implementation of all departmental policies that have an impact on OLMCs. Its staff is already aware of the requirement to promote linguistic duality.  However, elsewhere in the Department, policy development staff that could play a role in promoting linguistic duality in departmental programs have not formally been notified of the obligation to take positive measures to this effect.

Health Canada has not begun reviewing its policies and programs to identify those that may have an impact on the promotion and use of English and French.

The institution has taken several positive measures to advance the equality of status and use of English and French internally and in Canadian society. They include a quiz on various aspects of La Francophonie; activities implemented to celebrate La Journée de la francophoniein the Department; communiqués from the OL Champion to all employees and the message from the Deputy Minister; Mercredis en français for employees working on the Government On-line initiative at the Information Analysis and Connectivity Branch; and a promotional banner for Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.

The measures put in place to promote linguistic duality outside the Department include having the Corporate Services Branch, Human Resources, distribute documentation on the values relating to diversity and linguistic duality at Health Canada at job fairs and as part of public recruitment activities. In the Manitoba and Saskatchewan Region, the Conseil jeunesse provincialpresented the ABCs of French History in Manitoba to Health Canada employees during the week of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. Also during Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, employees from Edmonton were invited to various ceremonies and events, such as the Franco-Albertan flag-raising ceremony at City Hall, and the French Canadian lunch, where 100 employees sampled traditional French Canadian cuisine and saw the flags of the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta and the Fédération franco-ténoise of the Northwest Territories.

The format proposed by Canadian Heritage for the Status Report has changed this year, and the next report (2006-2007) will contain output and outcome indicators. Some tools to measure performance, such as surveys, have already been developed in certain regions, while others will be developed within the next year by regional coordinators and the OLCDB.