ARCHIVED - Health Canada 2007-2008

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  Report Card 2007–2008
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 2007, Health Canada continued promoting the departmental official languages (OL) accountability framework that it adopted in May 2006 by posting it on the site of the managers’ network and by distributing it to OL coordinators and employees and managers who requested it. The framework sets out the respective OL responsibilities of the Official Languages Champion (who is also the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Parts IV, V and VI), managers, the Diversity and Official Languages Program (DOLP), the Official Language Community Development Bureau (OLCDB), official languages coordinators, human resources advisors and employees. It was forwarded in September 2007 to the working  sub-committee of the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions whose objective was to develop a specific framework for OL champions in order to specify their roles and responsibilities in this respect.

In May 2007, a departmental OL action plan was developed. This action plan contains a comparative table of the Departments results on the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 performance report cards. The OL Champion presented this plan to his colleagues on the Departmental Executive Committee. Afterwards, the Plan was submitted to all key persons responsible for OL, including the Human Resources (HR) directors and the OL coordinators. As a department that reports to Canadian Heritage, Health Canada also developed an action plan for the implementation of section 41 of the Official Languages Act (the Act).

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 in 2006 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. This document was approved by the OL coordinators, the HR directors and the Executive Committee.

As another accountability mechanism, the DOLP has posted the Departmental Review on Official Languages on the intranet OL page, and it has undertaken to 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 have several performance indicators which relate to official languages.

The 2007–2008 Report on Plans and Priorities and the 2006–2007 Departmental Performance Report both make several references to the access to health services initiative for official language minority communities (OLMCs), as set out in the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages.

Also, Health Canada carried out an internal audit on service to the public provided in person and on the telephone at its offices that are required to serve the public in both official languages. The audit report, which included recommendations specific to each region as well as the National Capital Region (NCR), was submitted and distributed in May 2007. The report was the subject of a brief to the OL Champion and a follow-up with managers and employees affected by this audit or by the corrective measures involved.

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

The organizational structures of 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 well-coordinated 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 in headquarters, namely the DOLP for Parts IV, V and VI, and the OLCDB for Part VII of the Act. All coordinators and national headquarters staff working in the OL sector hold conference calls every two months and meet once a year for a two- to a two-and-a-half day national retreat.

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 quarter 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.

In 2007, Health Canada presented the second Deputy Minister’s Award for Excellence in Official Languages. Launched in 2006 to increase visibility of the OL Program, this award is handed out during the Public Service Week.

It 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. 


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

In September 2007, DOLP adopted a new complaint management tool called Health Canada’s Official Languages Complaints Policy.

This document defines the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved when an OL-related complaint is filed, and describes the complaint resolution process. It is a positive feedback mechanism to increase the Department’s capacity to better serve the public and its employees. This tool was the subject of a communiqué to all employees in Health Canada’s Broadcast News. The guidelines were also posted on the Health Canada’s OL site.

Furthermore, Health Canada has undertaken to produce a report for senior management every six months on the status of complaints. In this respect, in August 2007, the ADM sent an email to all his colleagues on the Departmental Executive Committee to inform them of the status of complaints and also encouraged them to support their employees’ efforts to effectively serve the public and employees in the official language of their choice.




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.

The Department continues to participate in the Canada Public Service Agency (CPSA) pilot project and to work on simplifying the Burolis directory, putting it online and facilitating access for the public and various users. To date, apart from some rerouting and some data to be confirmed for one branch, Health Canada’s 2007–2008 data in Burolis will be up-to-date.

In total, 89% 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 (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 2007, an active visual offer was present in 80% of cases; an active offer by staff was made in 31% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 57% 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 83% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 87% 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 March 2007, the Operations Sector Departmental Executive Committee adopted the Health Canada Policy on Service to the Public. This departmental policy was developed to help employees and managers understand and respect their obligations in serving the public. Before this policy was adopted, it was subject to consultation with the OL coordinators, HR directors and key stakeholders in service to the public.

There are several Health Canada tools informing employees who provide service to the public about how to deliver bilingual services, including its service to the public brochure. Also, 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.

During the OL coordinators’ retreat, the DOLP gave a presentation focusing mainly on how to ensure an active offer of services to the public in response to the recommendations made further to the audits carried out by the central agencies. These audits identified shortcomings in terms of in-person active offer at several of the offices reviewed.

The OL Champion also sent an email to his colleagues on the Departmental Executive Committee asking them to support the action needed to correct the situation in their respective organizations. To this end, he provided them with a departmental action plan listing the steps to take for the results of each of the criteria in the last Performance Report. Health Canada will be carrying out a follow-up on internal audit recommendations, in addition to the recommendations from the recent audit by OCOL concerning service to the public.




Language of work—Part V (25%)

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

In March 2007, the Department adopted its own policy on language of work, after it was approved by the Executive Committee. 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. The policy and its support document are now frequently used to support advisory and consultative services for managers and employees since these new instruments contain several definitions of the more complex terms and provide clear answers to the most frequently asked questions. In light of the information contained in the departmental policy on language of work and its support document, a table was designed to help employees become familiar with their OL rights and obligations regardless of whether or not they are in a bilingual position or in a bilingually designated region. This table was shared with all OL coordinators and was the subject of a communiqué to all employees.

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. An agreement was signed with Statistics Canada for shared language-training services. 

Health Canada offers a language training program related to employment equity. This program was set up for EX-1 to EX- 4 employees who are members of one of the four groups designated under the Employment Equity Act, including the visible minority group. Visible minorities therefore have access to English and French second language part-time courses in the National Capital Region, in Toronto, Montreal and the regions. In 2006–2007, nearly 1,200 students participated in the program.

Throughout the year, the DOLP continued giving presentations on OL to various audiences, such as the HR networks of the different branches, to members of the HRSB’s management committee in the NCR or certain clients of the HR community. During these presentations, a detailed document entitled Guide on Official Languages in HR Activitieswas distributed to all participants.

A wide range of OL tools and information (brochures, guides, communiqués, policy instruments, etc.) was made available to the Department's employees through various means, including the Health Canada managers’ network site, HC Broadcast News or the new OL 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. 
 In total, 94% of senior management in bilingual positions are bilingual and 86% of supervisors in bilingual regions meet the requirements of their respective position (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

In regions designated bilingual 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. In 2007, the DOLP Unit adopted a new approach by developing the subject of communiqués according to the nature of complaints received. 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. These sessions are also offered at the request of various sectors of the Department.

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.

Health Canada continues to implement the departmental strategy for raising the linguistic profile to CBC for feeder groups.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of OCOL showed that 58% 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. Given the limited number of Anglophone respondents in bilingual regions in Quebec, the results of the survey for this population have been omitted.




Equitable participationPart VI (10%)

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

Overall, the workforce is 23.6% Francophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

In Quebec, the workforce is 3.5% Anglophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).

The Quebec Regional Executive Committee approved an action plan in late summer 2007 to increase representation of English-speaking Canadians at Health Canada in Quebec.




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


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 personnel 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 and the promotion of linguistic duality.

Within the Department, the Official Language Community Development Bureau (OLCDB) is specifically responsible for the implementation of Part VII. The OLCDB, which is under the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for policy, is in charge of the development and implementation of all departmental policies having repercussions on OLMCs. Moreover, Health Canada has a departmental advisory committee (to advise the Minister) for Francophone minority communities, and 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.

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. The Executive Director of OLCDB is also informed about memoranda to Cabinet that are being prepared in the Department, and can therefore determine which programs and policies will have an impact on OLMCs and linguistic duality. OLCDB and the DOLP also analyze all submissions to Treasury Board that are being prepared in the Department based on Parts IV to VII of the Act. This exercise equally ensures that Health Canada employees and managers who prepare these documents are aware of OL issues.

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 Act to Canadian Heritage.

Health Canada publishes its status report each year in accordance with Canadian Heritage requirements, and it now contains output and outcome indicators.

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


Apart from the Action Plan, another permanent mechanism that ensures departmental personnel 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.”

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 a major 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 bulletins, 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. Furthermore, in 2007, the departmental advisory committee representing Francophone minority communities and the one representing the Anglophone community in Quebec both submitted to the Minister their second report on improving access to health services in the official language of the minority. The Quebec Region carried out a survey on OLMCs satisfaction with their knowledge of Canada’s services.

During the year, the Department carried out a formative evaluation of the Contribution Program to Improve Access to Health Services for Official Languages Minority Communities, which includes components on support for networking and support for the training and retention of health professionals. The evaluation results will serve to support OLCDB in renewing its action plan.

There were many positive measures taken in 2007–2008 under the Contribution Program to Improve Access to Health Services for Official Languages Minority Communities. For example, from November 22 to 24, 2007, the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS) held the 2nd Forum national de recherche sur la santé des communautés francophones en situation minoritaire [national minority Francophone community health forum] under the theme “society, language and health: barriers to access to health services for minority Francophone communities”; in 2006–2007, under McGill University’s training component, some 1,993 Francophone health professionals received second language training; and the Société Santé en français held the 3rd Rendez-vous Santé en français [health services in French conference], which attracted over 350 people from across Canada. 

As already noted, Health Canada formally consults OLMCs twice a year. In the regions, Health Canada maintains ongoing relationships and consultations with stakeholders, such as the 17 member networks of the Société Santé en français, and revises its action plan to reflect this regular contact.


b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)


After the presentation by the Department of Justice and Canadian Heritage in 2007, the Departmental Executive Committee was informed of the obligation to promote linguistic duality.

OLCDB staff is already aware of the requirement to promote linguistic duality.

The institution has taken several positive measures to advance the equality of status and use of English and French internally and in Canadian society. Internal examples include: a quiz for all employees across Canada on various aspects of La Francophonie; a seminar on the role of French in science during the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie in Ottawa; activities to celebrate the Journée de la Francophonie in the Department, including shows, French Fridays and Let’s Chat in French Thursdays for Ontario Region employees; and the Quebec Region’s quiz on Part VII that was administered to employees in 20072008.

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. The OLCDB and the DOLP provide information in both official languages during the Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, in which the public is invited to participate. The OLCDB encourages contribution recipients to publish their documentation in both official languages.