ARCHIVED - Public Health Agency of Canada 2007-2008

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 Report Card 2007–2008
Public Health Agency of 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 September 2004, the creation of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was announced. Until then, the organization had been a branch of Health Canada. When the creation of the Agency was announced, PHAC and Health Canada reached an agreement regarding corporate services, under which the majority of the Agency’s human resources services, including official languages (OL), would continue to be provided by Health Canada’s corporate human resources services. As this agreement ended in September 2007, PHAC has gradually started taking control of the management of its own human resources activities.

For this reason, PHAC is currently developing its OL accountability framework. It has developed an action plan for Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act) that should be submitted to the Agency Management Committee (AMC) in 2008. The draft action plan proposes objectives, measures, time frames, responsibilities and performance indicators.

In February 2007, management established a senior human resources management committee responsible for the monitoring and accountability processes related to the management of the Agency’s OL program. This committee is chaired by the Chief Public Health Officer and includes the deputy chief public health officers, the Assistant Deputy Minister to whom the Human Resources Directorate and other senior managers report. The Committee acts as an agency-wide monitoring and decision-making coordination centre for OL issues. The Agency has also appointed an OL champion and co-champion.

Moreover, PHAC has established a network of OL coordinators to support the implementation of Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act. The 12 coordinators will meet approximately every two months in order to discuss and work on the development and follow up of the annual OL action plan for their respective region/directorate. They will also report their observations to the senior management of their region/directorate. They are supported by the staff in the Human Resources Directorate at head office.

OL objectives have been integrated into senior managers’ at-risk compensation. Based on their performance agreement, senior managers are responsible for taking these objectives into account in their work.


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

PHAC is an institution required to report to Canadian Heritage on its activities under Part VII of the Act. The Agency produced a status report in 2006–2007 in this regard, which it submitted to Canadian Heritage. OL are mentioned in the 2007–2008 Report on Plans and Priorities. The Agency’s five-year Strategic Plan (2007–2012) also mentions OL.

Towards the end of November 2007, PHAC conducted a preliminary study to determine the scope of a human resources management audit that it intends to carry out. The purpose of this audit is to determine and document the extent to which human resources policies, systems, practices and processes, including those related to OL, contribute to fulfilling the Agency’s objectives and priorities.

OL are regularly on the agenda of the Human Resources Committee. This decision-making committee is made up of the Deputy Head, the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, assistant deputy ministers and the Director General, Human Resources. The OL Champion is an assistant deputy minister and a member of the AMC.

The person responsible for monitoring the implementation of Part VII of the Act and the person responsible for Parts IV, V and VI report to the same director. This practice tends to promote good coordination between the various parts of the Act. The Champion, Co-Champion (Director General, Human Resources), and the Director, Planning, Recruitment and Accountability, consult with one another and participate in an ongoing dialogue. The latter is responsible for diversity and OL programs, and reports to the Director General, Human Resources. This practice has ensured good coordination of the Act within the institution.


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

As very few complaints have been filed against PHAC with the Office of the Commissioner since the Agency was created, it does not have a formal mechanism in place to deal with them. The manager responsible for OL shares complaints with the manager responsible for the sector that is the subject of the complaint, the managers’ obligations in this regard, the information required to deal with the complaint and the corrective measures that should be implemented if the complaint is ruled to be founded. The manager in question is involved in resolving the problem at the root of the complaint.

PHAC intends to document the complaint management process, post it on its intranet site and then include it as a formal process in its OL action plan. To date, the Agency’s management team has not always been informed of the nature of the complaints filed against the institution, although this information is provided to the Champion and Co-Champion.




Service to the public—Part IV (25%)

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

All PHAC offices offering services in both OL are now advertised in Burolis.

In total, 91% 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 service in person made by the Office of the Commissioner between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active visual offer was present in 86% of cases, an active offer by staff was made in 29% of cases, and service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 57% of cases.

According to observations of service on the telephone made by the Office of the Commissioner between mid-June and mid-July 2007, an active offer 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 62% of cases.


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

According to the Report on Plans and Priorities, nearly one-third of the Agency’s budgets are allocated to grant and contribution programs. Recent contribution agreements signed by the Agency include a language clause developed by Health Canada in 2004. This clause states that the recipient of a contribution must clearly define the project’s clientele and, in consultation with the institution, take appropriate measures to comply with the Act. PHAC does not appear to specifically monitor compliance with these contractual provisions or the quality of the services offered in both OL under these agreements.


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

The Agency is currently developing its own policy on service delivery to the public in both OL, and this is a priority for 2008–2009.

Health Canada, which was responsible for communicating with the employees of both organizations regarding their obligations under Parts IV, V and VI of the Act under the terms of an agreement with PHAC that expired in September, sent a variety of messages (e-mails, newsletters, articles in internal communications publications, etc.) to the Agency’s employees throughout the year, in order to explain to them how to offer and provide bilingual services, and to remind them of their duty to do so.
New employees in all regions and directorates participate in an orientation session on the Act.

To date, bilingual service delivery to the public in bilingual offices has not been monitored (e.g., audits, surveys and reports on successes and shortcomings) in terms of the quality of the service provided in both OL. Since the Office of the Commissioner and the Canada Public Service Agency conducted their own observations or audits of service to the public in 2007, PHAC did not deem it necessary to conduct its own monitoring.




Language of work—Part V (25%)

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

Although the Agency does not yet have its own language of work policy, it intends to create one in 2008–2009. Under an agreement in principle with Health Canada, the Agency was applying the Department’s policy framework until quite recently. The Agency presently pays for some central services from Health Canada. As far as training is concerned, PHAC used to receive some services from Health Canada, but is now developing its own strategy in this area. Under the agreement in principle, Health Canada used to be responsible for training and informing the Agency’s employees in regard to their language of work rights, but this responsibility has now been delegated to the Agency. In 2007, the Agency developed policies on staffing, exclusion orders and OL, which should be approved in 2008.

PHAC has started training human resources managers for certification purposes. This training includes OL requirements.

The OL awareness campaign described in the proposed action plan was launched in January 2008, and posters promoting the use of both OL during meetings were put up in meeting rooms and other strategic locations.

In total, 77% of executives holding bilingual positions are bilingual, while 88% of supervisors in bilingual regions meet the requirements of their respective positions (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

Health Canada sends out many communiqués, newsletters and reminders on employees’ right to work in their official language of choice in offices designated bilingual for the purposes of language of work, and on the managers’ duty to create a workplace that is conducive to the exercising of this right. All these messages are sent to PHAC employees at the same time.

The proposed action plan contains a language training strategy. In December 2007, PHAC launched a language training pilot project under which two part-time teachers provide language training on an individual basis or in small groups at the workplace. The results of this pilot project will affect the implementation of the proposed language training strategy.

AMC meetings are conducted primarily in English.

To date, there has been no monitoring of the application of the language of work policy (e.g., audits, surveys, reports), other than the 2005 Public Service Employee Survey.

The survey conducted by Statistics Canada on behalf of the Office of the Commissioner showed that, overall, 61% of Francophone respondents in the National Capital Region, New Brunswick and the bilingual regions of Ontario "strongly agreed" or "mostly agreed" with the language of work regime. Due to the small number of Anglophone respondents in the bilingual regions of Quebec, the survey results for this group were not included.




Equitable participationPart VI (10%)

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

Overall, the workforce is 22.2% Francophone (Source: PCIS, March 31, 2007).


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

The Office of the Commissioner did not evaluate PHAC on this criterion given the small number of Agency employees in Quebec.




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


As an institution that is required to report to Canadian Heritage, PHAC has an action plan for the implementation of section 41 of the Act for its regional and head office operations. However, aside from the preparation and approval process for its section 41 action plan, the Agency does not have any other permanent mechanisms in place (e.g., submissions to Treasury Board, memoranda to Cabinet and federal-provincial agreements) to ensure that strategic planning and policy and program development  take into account the requirements of section 41 of the Act. In 2007, the Agency developed these mechanisms and intends to implement them before the end of the 2007–2008 fiscal year.

The Planning, Recruitment and Accountability Division (PRAD) gave presentations to the AMC in 2007 on how to prepare the status report and the draft OL action plan.
The Agency is currently developing a performance measurement framework for its activities relating to Part VII.

The Agency has taken steps to hire a national coordinator for the implementation of Part VII. The duties related to this function have been carried out by the Director of the PRAD in the meantime. This coordinator will be supported by the OL coordinators’ network. The Agency also participates in a national liaison mechanism with official language minority communities (OLMCs): two national advisory committees advise the Minister of Health and his portfolio agencies on matters related to Part VII of the Act. Provincial and OLMC representatives are committee members, and an OLMC representative chairs each committee—one spokesperson for Quebec’s Anglophone community is on the Anglophone committee, and one representative of Francophone communities outside Quebec is on the Francophone committee. Some of the federal members on each of these committees are from PHAC. Each advisory committee meets formally twice a year. They serve as a two-way liaison and feedback mechanism and allow for follow-up on consultations held by both committees.

PHAC participates in the meetings of national coordinators responsible for the implementation of section 41 of the Act. In October 2007, the Director of the PRAD made a presentation on PHAC’s approach towards OL and its initiatives in this area.

In the regions, employees who have a role in OLMC development have long been aware of the needs of these communities, as Health Canada was a designated institution and, since 2003, has also been a key institution in the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages. Until very recently, Agency employees were part of Health Canada and, as a result, were immersed in the same work culture.

The senior manager responsible for the implementation of Part VII ensures liaison with OLMCs and other stakeholders.

Employees who work on strategic planning, development and the implementation of policies and programs are made aware of the needs of OLMCs and of the requirement to promote linguistic duality through newsletters produced by the senior manager and sent out on a monthly basis. PHAC has also established a strategic outcome and specific performance indicators related to OLMCs in terms of health promotion, one of the program’s activities that is taken into account in the program activity architecture and the corresponding performance management framework.

The Agency has not yet begun reviewing its policies and programs to determine which have an impact on OLMC development and the promotion of linguistic duality.


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


PHAC has taken several positive measures to support the development of OLMCs throughout the year, which are in addition to the measures already in place. In April 2007, the Agency signed a partnership agreement under the Interdepartmental Partnership with the Official-Language Communities (IPLOC) with Société Réseau Santé in order to provide financial support to the Grandir ensemble project in the Calgary area. Again under the IPOLC, with Société Réseau Santé and the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta, Wood Buffalo region, the Agency supports a project to obtain information on the determinants of health of Francophones living in Fort McMurray. The purpose of this project is to improve understanding among social workers in the various parts of the provincial government about the issues faced by Francophone minority communities and to develop partnerships with organizations serving the Anglophone and Francophone residents of this city.

In the Atlantic region, Agency employees ensured that OLMC-specific issues were included in the terms of reference of research projects and in research reports conducted by or for the Agency, thereby ensuring that these issues are adequately addressed in the final research report. Moreover, PHAC ensures that representatives from OLMCs that receive program funding are invited to networking meetings and project management workshops. As a result, OLMCs are better informed of the possibilities available to them and best practices in project management that help them better manage the projects for which they have received Agency funding. They are then also more likely to receive additional funding in the future. Projects that received support from the Agency this year include an intergenerational exchange on the impact of type 2 diabetes on quality of life, which was organized by the Association acadienne et francophone des aînées et ainés du Nouveau-Brunswick, and an inventory of available services and programs to prevent and manage diabetes on Prince Edward Island, which was spearheaded by the Société éducative de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard.

In Quebec, PHAC created a promotional kit outlining its services and programs. This kit is available in both OL and has been distributed to all appropriate OLMCs. As a result, OLMCs are better informed of how they can take advantage of PHAC programs and services. Furthermore, Anglophone community organizations working in this sector, as well as the Community Health and Social Services Network, which represents OLMCs in Quebec, are now systematically invited to take part in regional consultations in Quebec. This allows the organizations to share their needs and concerns with PHAC employees.

All regions are in constant contact with OLMCs, and several regional management committees (such as the one in the Atlantic region) use these numerous relationships to complete their regular review of regional programs, services, policies and other initiatives. In Ontario, as in many other regions, PHAC consults with OLMCs when developing new priorities, policies and initiatives, as well as new programs.

PHAC has not had to revise its action plan to ensure its compliance with the Act, since the plan already includes positive measures.


(b) Promotion of linguistic duality (12.5%)


As an institution that is required to report to Canadian Heritage, PHAC has an action plan for the implementation of section 41 of the Act for its operations in the regions and at head office. However, it must be noted that this plan focuses more on OLMC development and the availability of equivalent public health services in both OL than on the promotion of the equal use and status of English and French as such. 

A number of positive measures in support of linguistic duality are mentioned in the 2007–2010 action plan submitted to Canadian Heritage. These measures include raising employees’ awareness of OLMC issues through activities held for the Journée de la francophonie and developing presentations and training tools on the implications of implementing section 41.

New employees in all regions and directorates attend an orientation session on the Act and are informed of the Agency’s obligations under section 41.

The sites of some unilingual regional offices are available in both OL.