ARCHIVED - National Film Board 2004-2005

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2004-2005 Fact Sheet

Factors and criteria

Summary of substantiating data



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

The NFB does not appear to have a responsibility framework for the obligations and expectations specified in Parts IV to VI of the Official Languages Act (OLA), nor a formal action plan for the implementation of OL for Parts IV, V and VI. However, it has a 2002–2006 strategic plan and a 2002–2005 action plan for the implementation of sections 41 and 42 of the OLA that was discussed and adopted at the NFB's executive committee. While no specific organizational point or individual is explicitly designated as responsible for the OL elements of planned initiatives in these documents, the plans, developed in close co-operation with the Chair and the board of trustees, were distributed to all NFB managers and made public. Thus an element of accountability can be read into their existence, as well as in other documents such as the Annual Review of Official Languages that is submitted to Treasury Board Secretariat-and now the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency.

In any case, from what the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) has been able to see, OL truly do appear to be a core value for the NFB. Promoting linguistic duality within and outside the organization is part of its stated official mission, "fundamental values" and objectives, and both employees and Management appear fully committed to this. The very strong presence of the official language minority groups in the NFB's workforce (both Francophones across Canada, and Anglophones in Quebec) contributes to ensuring that the organization feels accountable on the OL front.

Nonetheless, given the NFB workforce's current OL group make-up, the agency needs to be watchful that all Part V and Part VI obligations are met. Thus the NFB might still benefit from having both a formal responsibility framework and an actual OL action plan, especially for Parts V and VI.

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b) Visibility of official languages in the organization

Official languages are mentioned several times in the 2002–2003 Performance Report, in the 2003–2004 Performance Report and in the 2002–2003 Report on Plans and Priorities. The 2002–2006 strategic plan mentions the English and French Programs: "A special effort will be made to nurture filmmaking in minority language regions."

There was an internal audit report on the status of OL at the NFB in August 2002. In addition, spot checks (e.g. voice mail messages intended for the public) are occasionally conducted to determine whether the objectives are being met.

The Champion is a member of the NFB management committee. She reports to the NFB Commissioner. OL issues are discussed in the management committee and when planning occurs for projects that have an official language minority group as a target audience, for instance, French language productions outside Quebec.

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c) Complaints

For all intents and purposes, there are no complaints relating to OL. OCOL only has two complaints on record and both were refused. There are no systemic OL problems at the NFB, to the knowledge of OCOL.

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Service to the public - Part IV

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

Bilingual services are advertised to the public in the Blue Pages and on the NFB Web site. In addition, a 1-800 line is provided from Montréal to serve members of the public in their preferred official language, particularly when they are purchasing films. The Web site is bilingual and the layout is identical in both languages. The NFB has an on-line film library that offers films in English, French or both languages.

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b) Findings on active offer and service delivery

According to observations on in-person service made by the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the fall of 2004, active visual offer was present in 50.0% of cases; active offer by staff was made in 0% of cases; while service in the language of the minority was adequate in 100% of cases.

The 2003 Treasury Board Secretariat audit of telephone services found that 100% of employees answering calls and 85.7% of voice mail made an active offer. Service was adequate 100% of the time.

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

Fifty-one libraries across Canada have partnership agreements for film lending with the NFB. The libraries should display the NFB 1-800 number so callers can ask questions in their preferred language, as library staff is obviously not required to be bilingual. However, since the libraries give free service to the NFB, the NFB has little leverage over them to guarantee that the NFB 1-800 number is always displayed.

The NFB only has one contract with an external contractor, a service agreement in Montréal, which includes provisions for services in both languages.

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d) Bilingual services quality monitoring

Management conducts a satisfaction survey of clients every three years, including questions on the use of the client's preferred official language. In this regard, the satisfaction rate in the last survey was between 91.0% and 96.0%, depending on the criteria (choice of language—English or French; language spoken; quality/clarity of language used).

Also, the OL internal audit conducted in August 2002 included a client satisfaction survey. It showed that 95.0% of clients were satisfied with the service in their preferred official language.

There would appear to be a need to periodically issue reminders to staff about active offer on answering machine messages and in person.

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Language of work - Part V

a) Adequate bilingual supervision and language of work policy

According to the 2003–2004 Review of Official Languages, 49 out of 49 supervisors are bilingual (100%) and all managers speak both languages fluently.

OCOL was informed that the NFB has a language of work policy (their own) and that it is explicitly written down. Every aspect of the language of work policy is generally respected (bilingual meetings, work tools, central services, etc).

HR has a record of the employees' preferred OL and the employee's choice is respected. As noted in section (b) immediately below, there is a full-time internal OL revision service now in place to ensure equal quality and availability of internal documents. As well, the NFB has made an on-line linguistic tool called ExpressPlus available to all NFB employees and freelancers. This tool provides help to both English-speakers and French-speakers who are writing, revising, proofreading, translating or approving NFB materials such as memos, work orders, intranet articles, news releases, reports or any other document in either OL.

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b) Use of each language in the workplace

Management does not seem to regularly encourage employees to use the official language of the local OL minority. Nor does it regularly remind managers of their language of work obligations. Similarly, there does not seem to be much in the way of structured and frequent monitoring of the policy by management. On the other hand, Management Committee meetings are held in both languages, setting a good example for the organization.

The NFB's August 2002 internal audit of employees confirmed that the workplace is conducive to the use of both languages (high degree of satisfaction). However, the internal audit report did recommend better supervision of internal document production in both OL. On this point, in Autumn 2004, the NFB confirmed to OCOL that there were now revisers in place to ensure better supervision of the production of texts in both languages.

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Equitable participation - Part VI

a) Percentage of Francophone participation throughout Canada

According to the 2003–2004 Review of Official Languages, 64.3% of employees in Canada are Francophones. The National Film Board's head office is located in Montréal.

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b) Percentage of Anglophone participation in Quebec

According to the 2003–2004 Review of Official Languages, 23.2% of employees in Quebec are Anglophones. The National Film Board's head office is located in Montréal.

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Development of minority language 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

The NFB is one of the 29 agencies identified as being required to develop a strategic plan for implementing its obligations under section 41 of the OLA. The agency takes its responsibilities seriously.

The NFB consults widely with minority language stakeholder groups such as the Centre des arts médiatiques in Vancouver, the Collège universitaire de Saint-Boniface in Winnipeg, and others, and integrates the results explicitly into its planning. For example, each of the people responsible for the Studio Acadie and the Studio de l'Ontario et l'Ouest accompanies the Director General of French Programming to the NFB's management committee, where they share the results of their ongoing contacts with the minority OL communities. As well, the NFB has direct contacts with representatives of the OL communities through Heritage Canada's two interdepartmental action groups under the PICLO program.

Staff, and especially the person in charge of advertising, are extremely knowledgeable of the TBS communications policy and strongly support it. However, the Champion could not confirm that the advertising procedures were written down somewhere and accessible to staff. Therefore, if current personnel were ever to leave, there might be a problem in the long run.

Employees seem to be knowledgeable of the needs of official language minority communities, although no noteworthy examples of the organization informing staff of the needs of the community were offered to OCOL representatives.

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

This is a real strength of the NFB. The promotion of linguistic duality appears to be intrinsic to their whole raison d'être.

The various planning and policy and program development processes explicitly aim to foster pride in the country's two languages and to bring the two language groups closer together. The NFB's CineRoute project offers 250 on-line films in English and French to 2,000 subscribers. In Toronto, the NFB now has Ciné-Jeudi where the public can come and watch movies in French every Thursday. Every year, the NFB is a major partner in the Winnipeg Semaine de la Francophonie. It has a special partnership with the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau-Ottawa to promote the two OL. The Montréal CinéRobothèque is very popular among Anglophones in Quebec (20% of the clientele according to an NFB representative). Thanks to the CinéRobothèque "robot", approximately 100,000 visitors a year have access to the NFB's 7,200 films.

As well, outside Quebec, the NFB is developing links with international festivals likely to be interested in French-Canadian production. Its Francophone employees in the Toronto office organize many workshops (in French) at French schools in the Toronto region. The NFB has productive partnerships with TFO and the annual FICFA festival in Moncton.

In 2004 their ExpressPlus electronic tool received an honourable mention from the Office québecois de la langue française during the French at Work gala awards as a noteworthy contribution to the promotion of high quality French, in the category "Quality of Language in Business and Administration". The only weakness is that OCOL has no information on the nature and extent of internal initiatives, beyond the ExpressPlus tool.

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