ARCHIVED - Halifax International Airport Authority 2007-2008

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Report Card 2007–2008
Halifax International Airport Authority

Factors and Criteria

Summary of Substantiating Data

Rating

Management (15%)

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

The Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) has implemented, in the later part of 2007, an accountability framework that describes the official languages (OL) roles and responsibilities of the principal stakeholders. Coordinating the work of all the stakeholders falls under the mandate of the Legal Department, which is responsible for the Authority’s compliance on various applicable pieces of legislation, including the Official Languages Act (the Act). Although the framework is currently operational, it has not yet received final approval of the Executive Management Team (EMT).

The HIAA implemented, in the later part of 2007, an Action Plan for Parts IV and VI of the Act that has not yet received final approval of the EMT. The plan does not set out objectives, expected outcomes, planned activities and timelines; however, the HIAA is committed to developing a more comprehensive action plan.

Some of the accountability mechanisms against which the Authority measures its compliance in relation to its obligations under the Act generally consist of meetings held at the department level, and as required at the management level, to deal with any issues related to official languages. If an OL issue cannot be resolved at this level, it will be tabled at a meeting of the EMT, of which the President & CEO is a member.

Additionally, the EMT meets with the Board of Directors at least seven times a year. As part of these meetings, the EMT prepares and circulates the President’s Report, which has included, since September 2007, a recurring item on OL. This report assists in raising awareness of OL obligations among members of the Board of Directors.

C

(b) Visibility of OL in the organization (5%)

In past years OL objectives have not been taken into account in the HIAA’s strategic plans. However, the Authority intends to include, in future strategic planning documents, a component to address OL objectives.

The Authority has a business plan and individual departmental plans; however, they do not mention OL. There are no formal audit activities for OL. Internal audit activities focus mainly on the safety, security and financial aspects of the Airport.

The General Counsel assumes the overall responsibilities of the HIAA on official languages. The General Counsel sits on the EMT and discusses OL matters and concerns as required.

If an OL matter cannot be dealt with at the departmental level, then the matter will be dealt with by the EMT. For example, both the OCOL Audit and the Report Card have been discussed by the EMT, and the President and CEO is aware of outstanding issues. EMT occasionally discusses issues related to Airport signage, including bilingual aspects.

There is a coordination mechanism in place among the principal stakeholders responsible for ensuring the implementation of Parts IV and VI of the Act, to which the HIAA is subject. A working group consisting of the General Counsel and the General Counsel’s paralegal assistant, the VP of Marketing and Business Development, the VP of Corporate Communications and the Customer Relations Manager meet as the need arises. The group does not issue a report; however, OL issues discussed at this group’s meetings have been brought before the EMT (for example, the financial resources required for the HIAA to properly fulfill its obligations under the Act).

C

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

The Authority has a mechanism in place to handle and resolve complaints filed with OCOL. When an official complaint is received from OCOL, the HIAA’s Legal Department reviews the complaint and forwards a copy to the appropriate manager or contracted service provider to fix the problem and identify corrective action. Periodic follow-up with the appropriate manager or contracted service provider occurs until the matter is resolved. This process usually stays within the affected department, but the EMT is informed of a complaint if it cannot be resolved at the departmental level.

In the case of unofficial complaints received from members of the travelling public, they are generally intercepted by Security (Commissionaires) or by Volunteer Hosts who report directly to the Customer Relations Manager.

The EMT was briefed earlier this year of the complaints resolution process and has agreed to it.

B

Subtotal:

C

Service to the Public — Part IV (25%)

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

The Authority and its services are listed in English only in the white pages of the Halifax Regional Municipality telephone directory and in both OL in Burolis.

The Authority’s only staff member who provides direct service to the public can only do so in English. Although some of the volunteer hosts are bilingual, the Authority makes an effort to ensure there is at least one bilingual volunteer host on duty at any given time. In order to meet its obligations on service to the travelling public, the Authority has a contract  with the Nova Scotia Tourism Information Centre to provide verbal translations for the Authority and its contracted service providers. Employees contact the Information Centre for this type of service, when required. Toll-free telephone translation services are also available for the Authority and its contracted service providers.

D

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

According to observations of in-person service made by OCOL between mid-June and mid-July and at the end of December 2007, an active visual offer was present in 69% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 4% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 19% 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 100% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 100% of cases.

D

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

In addition to the accountability framework, HIAA documents for contracted services explain the requirements for providing services in both official languages, contractors’ responsibilities and potential consequences for failing to meet those obligations.

The Authority has OL obligations included in applicable contractual documents however the wording of these contractual obligations changed in the summer of 2007. Previous OL clauses specified that all verbal, printed and written information including signs, public announcements, notices and other information related to the lessee’s operations must be in both OL. They also indicated there should be sufficient staff on duty during every operation shift to provide bilingual services and that the lessee must demonstrate to members of the travelling public that these services are available in the OL of their choice. The new OL clause stipulates that “The Lessee is a federal institution for the limited purposes contemplated in the Official Languages Act, and this Agreement is a contract for services to the travelling public as contemplated in the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations. As such, the Lessee shall ensure that all services provided under this Agreement are made available to the travelling public in both English and French.”

Although the Authority has recovered liquidated damages in the past from its contracted service providers, it no longer applies the fine as a result of non-compliance with the Act. Rather, annual reminders are sent to contracted service providers about their OL obligations. In the case of specific incidents involving OL, the  HIAA manager who oversees a particular contract will meet the contracted service provider’s manager to remind him/her of the requirement to comply with the signed contract agreement and of existing support services (i.e. volunteer hosts, the Nova Scotia Tourism Information Centre or the toll-free telephone translation line).

There are no structured or documented mechanisms in place to monitor the quality of the services provided in both OL by third parties. However, the HIAA relies mainly on informal control mechanisms such as the contract agreement with  service providers, feedback received from members of the travelling public, periodic reminders and spot checks conducted by the employees reporting to the Customer Relations Manager.

C

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

The Authority does not have a policy or guidelines on service to the travelling public. It does, however, take into account its obligations as they are outlined in the Act. For example, it makes the contracted service providers aware of their OL obligations with regard to service to the travelling public by sending them annual reminders that reiterate the requirement to make an active offer of service and announcements in both OL. The HIAA also uses the Nova Scotia Department of Tourism Information Centre to help provide  services in both OL, and as needed, toll-free language translation services.

The HIAA recently implemented a new process to ensure that service is available in both OL by the security department during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday. Outside of these hours, security officers have access to the toll-free language translation service, and bilingual services are provided up to 9 p.m. by the Nova Scotia Tourism Information Centre.

There are no structured or documented mechanisms in place regarding the quality of services provided in both OL. Currently, the HIAA uses a variety of informal processes such as the contract agreement with service providers, feedback received from members of the travelling public and periodic spot checks conducted by the employees reporting to the Customer Relations Manager, to verify the availability and quality of services to the public in the official language of the linguistic minority.

C

Subtotal: 

D

Language of Work — Part V (25%)

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

The Halifax International Airport Authority does not have any obligations with regard to Part V of the Act as its only office is in Nova Scotia, a region not designated bilingual for language of work purposes.

N/A

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

  

   N/A

Subtotal: 

N/A

Equitable Participation Part VI (10%)

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

The institution is currently unable to provide us with the required information but has committed to gather this data for next year.

 

D

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

There are no employees in Quebec. All personnel are located in Nova Scotia.

N/A

Subtotal: 

D

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

The Halifax International Airport Authority is not subject to Part VII of the Act therefore has no legal obligations in this regard.

 

N/A

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

     

N/A

(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)

  

N/A

Subtotal:

N/A

OVERALL RATING

D