ARCHIVED - Health Canada 2005-2006

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2005-2006 Fact Sheet

Factors and criteria

Summary of substantiating data



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

Health Canada's accountability framework for official languages (OL) is in the process of being approved and should be endorsed by senior management before the end of the fiscal year 2005-2006. The framework covers the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders at various levels of the Department with regard to obligations and commitments pursuant to Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (The Act).

The organizational structures at Health Canada play an important role in OL governance of this Department. There are sixteen OL coordinators at Health Canada, eight at National Headquarters and the remaining eight in the Department's eight regions. The coordinators contribute to the development of the annual Official Languages Action Plan for their regions/sectors. They are supported by two units at National Headquarters, namely the Official Languages Community Development Bureau (OLCDB) with regard to Part VII of the Act and the Diversity and Official Languages Program (DOLP), for Parts IV, V and VI.

The Department prepares an action plan for the implementation of section 41 and a status report, which it submits to Canadian Heritage. On June 9, 2005, in direct response to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) 2004-2005 Performance Report Card, the Health Canada departmental Executive Committee approved a series of measures in the form of an action plan to improve the Department's performance with respect to OL. Among other things, the plan provides for Health Canada to conduct telephone and in-person audits at its regional offices and provide information sessions to managers and staff about their obligations regarding service to the public in 2005-2006.

Accountability measures consist of regular follow-ups with official languages coordinators. Annual reports provide information on the achievements of the various branches, regions and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency that are published on the Intranet site of each branch. Promotion of diversity, equity and official languages are among the list of performance indicators against which managers' performance is evaluated.

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

The 2005-2006 Report on Plans and Priorities, as well as the Departmental Performance Report for 2004-2005 (DPR) both make several references to the initiative regarding health care services in official language minority communities.

The visibility of the Official Languages Program (OLP) is becoming increasingly evident. For example, since early 2005, the Diversity and Official Languages Programs Division (DOLP) has been giving presentations to various management committees and a variety of target clients to provide them with an overview of the official languages policies and directives that came into force in April 2004 and July 2005. These presentations were also designed to determine the impact of these policies on the Department and to provide an overview of the situation within each branch with respect to linguistic capacity, language requirements of positions, requirements to comply with official languages policies, data entry, etc. A total of 30 presentations have been given by DOLP on a variety of subjects related to official languages since January 2005.

It was decided in June 2005 that OL would be integrated into the internal audit process. The Department plans to carry out an official audit of services to the public in 2006-2007.

The OL champion, who is at the Assistant Deputy Minister level, sits on the Management Committee, along with the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Part VII. The Management Committee meets to formally discuss official languages matters about three times a year.

There is good co-ordination of the various parts of the Act. The Executive Director and the Director responsible for OL meet the two Assistant Deputy Ministers on a regular basis to discuss OL issues, thus ensuring that all the parts of the Act are well integrated. Meetings such as teleconferences held every two months between all the regional and national OL coordinators to discuss matters related to Parts IV to VII of the Act allow for a good coordination of OL activities within the department.

c) Complaints (5%)

Complaints relating to OL are sent to the Deputy Minister, with a copy to the person in charge of OL. The person responsible for handling complaints remains in constant contact with the manager in question, who must resolve the complaint and follow up on the corrective measures put in place.

Complaints are recorded in a database for purposes of analysis; this information is used for preparing reports on service to the public and language of work. Information on recurring complaints is brought to the attention of the official languages coordinators and to all staff. This information is included in Health Canada News and discussed at the annual OL coordinators' retreat. The network of OL coordinators shares best practices.

OCOL has identified that there still exists a systemic problem with access to health services in French; the problem is related to the transfer of responsibilities in the Yukon.

Service to the public - Part IV

a) Bilingual services advertised to the public and sufficient bilingual staff (4%)

All Health Canada offices offering services in both OL are listed in BUROLIS and in the Blue Pages of telephone directories. However, during the course of our observations of service in-person and on the telephone performed in the fall of 2005, OCOL representatives noted that BUROLIS was not up-to-date, particularly in the case of office, no. 12822, 12823 and 88009.

83% of incumbents of bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position. (Source: Position and Classification Information System (PCIS), March 31, 2005)

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

According to the observations of in-person service made by OCOL in the fall of 2005, active visual offer was present in 70% of cases; active offer by staff was made in 20% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 40% of cases.

According to the observations of service on the telephone made by OCOL in the fall of 2005, active offer of service by staff or by an automated system was made in 92% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 92% of cases.

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

Health Canada added a linguistic clause to its Contribution Agreements. This clause, which is specific to Health Canada, specifies that the contractor is required to define clearly the project's clientele in consultation with the Department, and 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. Various tools are available on the Human Resources Intranet site. Services delivered by third parties are one of the topics covered in the brochure on service to the public. Contracts with consultants contain a clause for the provision of services in both OL where required. However, it is the contract authority and not the OL branch that ensures the follow-up as to whether services are provided in both OL.

d) Bilingual services quality monitoring (4%)

Following the coming into force of Public Service Human Resources Management Agency's (PSHRMAC) Policy on the Use of Official Languages for Communications and Services to the Public in July 2005, Health Canada gave approximately 30 presentations to Department staff on service in both OL. In addition, two other courses given regularly at Health Canada address this component, one of which is entitled Results-based Management for managers and the other, the orientation course, is offered to all new employees.

The Department distributes a brochure on service to the public and the information is also available on the Intranet site. Regular reminders are issued by OL coordinators and this topic is sometimes included in various communiqués sent out by headquarters.

In the fall/winter of 2005, Health Canada carried out an in-house audit on the delivery of service to the public on the telephone and in-person in the language of the linguistic minority in its regional offices. A follow-up will be done of those offices where problems have been identified. Health Canada intends to have OL audited by the Department's auditors in 2006-2007, which will include service to the public in both OL.

Language of work - Part V

a) Adequate bilingual supervision and language of work policy (12.5%)

83% of EX incumbents and 82% of supervisors in bilingual positions in bilingual regions meet the language requirements of their position. (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2005)

Health Canada does not have its own language of work policy. The Department uses the PSHRMAC policy. However, the Department has developed a brochure entitled, Language of Work - English/French It's your Right! It's a question of Respect! that it distributes to all of its employees. The brochure identifies the rights and obligations with regard to compliance to language of work in the following areas: supervision, work instruments, personal services, central services and meetings. The document describes the role of supervisors, managers and senior management in creating a work environment where employees are encouraged to use the OL of their choice.

Apart from support measures, such as translation and language training, there is a wide range of educational material available to promote second language learning at each of the eight Health Canada Learning Centres. Health Canada also received funding from the Innovation Fund for a project that was submitted to the PSHRMAC in 2005. This project uses distance training to allow participants to maintain their acquired language skills.

There are also other tools that are available to support the language of work policy: the Department's Intranet posts information on this matter, a protocol on holding bilingual meetings, as well as posters on how to carry out such meetings. In 2003, Health Canada began a major review of the linguistic profile of all positions in the Department. This review is now coming to an end. It specifically looked at the linguistic designation of EX-minus-one and EX-minus-two supervisory positions in regions designated bilingual. The findings of this study will be released soon to the Associate Deputy Minister, and an action plan with timeframes will be established regarding language training for employees who require it.

b) Establishment of an environment conducive to both official languages (12.5%)

The OL rights and responsibilities are explained to new employees during the orientation course and are included in the curriculum for the Managing for Results course.

The DOLP issues messages about OL, including language of work to its staff, through its monthly publication Health Canada News. Information sessions are also offered to employees to remind them of their rights to use the OL of their choice and to managers to remind them of their obligations to create a work environment that is conducive to the use of both OL. Furthermore, the brochure, Language of Work English/French It's your Right! It's a question of Respect! acts as a reminder to employees and to managers on the matter.

Management Committee meetings are conducted in both official languages.

At the end of the 2004-2005 year, the Department carried out a study on applying the Protocol for Holding Bilingual Meetings. The study identified 15 best practices to increase the use of French at Management Committee meetings. In 2005-2006, the study was presented to the Departmental Executive Committee, and then senior management and managers were informed of it.

In the spring of 2005, 1,033 employees (27% of a target group consisting of 3,815 staff members of Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada) participated in an internal survey on client satisfaction with information technology services. Following this survey, the Department's Diversity and Official Languages Programs Branch will be monitoring the unit responsible for information technology services to ensure that a number of corrective measures are taken with respect to the availability of software in French, and to certain information technology services in French.

In 2005, the OL Directorate received a formal commitment from the Health Canada Internal Audit Unit that it would include a departmental-wide survey on language of work as one of the audit projects to be implemented after the 2005-2006 year.

Health Canada uses a questionnaire aimed at employees leaving the Department as a control tool on the quality of its OL services, in particular as they relate to language of work.

Equitable participation - Part VI

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

Francophones account for 23.7% of Health Canada's workforce as a whole. (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2005)

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

Anglophones account for 4.1% of Health Canada's workforce in Quebec. (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2005)

Development of official language minority communities and promotion of linguistic duality - Part VII

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

Health Canada's OL champion is responsible for ensuring that the institution's policies, programs and strategic planning take into account the development of official language minority communities. As well, the Department develops an action plan for the implementation of section 41 of the Act and a status report that it submits to Canadian Heritage.

In addition, the Department has put in place a structure, the Official Language Community Development Bureau, which allows the institution to be more aware of, and receptive to, the needs of these communities and provides for consultation of these communities on new priorities, initiatives, policies and programs. As well, a network of coordinators responsible for the implementation of Part VII of the Act, at headquarters and in the regions, has been set up. These coordinators raise awareness by taking part in Executive Committee meetings in their respective regions as well as Federal Council meetings.

As well, there is a Consultative Committee for French-Speaking Minority Communities and a Consultative Committee for English-Speaking Minority Communities in Quebec.

The policy entitled Policy to Support Official Language Minority Communities, which came into force on April 1, 2004, was designed to better tailor Health Canada programs to the needs of official language minority communities.

A contribution program to improve access to health services for official language minority communities and the Primary Health Care Transition Fund have been set up.

The Department has adopted a communication policy that is in keeping with that of the federal government. The marketing manager, in conjunction with the placement agency, ensures that ads are placed in both OL and that the information media reach the official language minority communities. To this end, the Department has worked with the placement agency to draw up a list of national and community newspapers that service the Canadian population in each OL across the country. As well, the Department ensures that radio and television ads are in both OL and that all advertising in bus shelters and on billboards is bilingual.

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

The champion attends meetings and ensures that strategic planning, and the development of policies and programs take linguistic duality into account. In addition, the Department submits an action plan for the implementation of section 41 of the Act to the Department of Canadian Heritage.

A number of initiatives and tools have been introduced to promote the two OL to employees. Examples include the following: the questionnaire game on La Francophonie; various activities to celebrate La Journée de la francophonie within the Department; communiqués from the OL champion to all employees and messages from the Deputy Minister; "French Wednesdays" implemented by staff working on Government On-Line at the Information, Analysis and Connectivity Branch; and a banner for Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie.

Measures put in place to promote linguistic duality outside the Department include having the Corporate Services Branch Human Resources hand out documentation on the values relating to diversity and linguistic duality at Health Canada at job fairs and as part of public recruitment activities.