ARCHIVED - Transport Canada 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

Transport Canada (TC) has had a document entitled Official Languages Management Accountability Framework on its intranet since April 2004. However, the document more closely resembles a vision document and does not identify the roles and responsibilities of all the parties concerned. An additional document that will do that is being developed and should be in place before too long. However, for the period covered by this Report Card, it was not yet in place.

Each year, members of Transport Canada's Executive Committee (TMX) approve departmental official languages (OL) priorities as part of the Department's strategy to improve compliance with the Official Languages Program (OLP). Following approval of the objectives, each responsibility centre manager in TC is then required to self-assess his or her organization's performance by completing a detailed self-assessment guide. The guide is a common assessment tool developed by TC. A copy of the responsibility centre's results to date and of proposed corrective actions is sent to the respective regional director general (RDG) or assistant deputy minister (ADM). The roll-up of the corrective measures that must be undertaken for the next year, with measurable activities and deadlines, remains in the RDG's or ADM's office, and is monitored there, rather than centrally from the national OL office in HR. The sum of these roll-ups of all corrective actions is what constitutes the Department's OL action plan each year.

For its part, the national OL office submits the Department's consolidated results achieved to the Department's Deputy Minister for approval in the form of the Annual Review of OL. The Annual Review of OL is then distributed to all members of TC's Executive Committee and a message is sent to all employees inviting them to consult the document on the Intranet.

In 2004, OL priorities were discussed three times by the TMX. As well, in 2004, TC's Champion spoke personally and individually with members of the TMX and secured commitments on OL from each of them.

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b) Visibility of official languages in the organization

The 2003 document Straight Ahead, which set out Transport Canada's vision and strategy for a sustainable transportation system, did not address TC's obligations to promote Canada's linguistic duality. The Department has informed OCOL that Straight Ahead will not be updated or replaced with a different document for the foreseeable future; however, ever since the document came out in February 2003, TC has begun to give OL a significantly higher profile within the Department. The
2003–2004 Departmental Performance Report discussed the Department's OL program and the 2004–2005 Report on Plans and Priorities mentioned the Department's commitment to serve the public in both OL.

The Official Languages Program (OLP) is not included in every audit. However, in November 2004, TC's OL policy centre did do a detailed in-house follow-up to the 2003 TBS telephone audit and this was shared with the TMX.

Official languages are discussed regularly by the TMX. The OL champion sits on the Executive Committee; functional OL authorities attend presentations.

Historically, in TC, there has been a lack of co-ordination between the policy and program development function on the one hand, and the central OL function on the other, such that Part IV, V, VI and VII considerations have not been well integrated into new corporate initiatives or changes to programming. In 2004, the Champion began to spearhead a push to change this state of affairs, but the effort has not yet been completed. For now, TMX plays the role of the body that provides co-ordination between those departmental functions. There is an ongoing dialogue between the champion and functional OL authorities on all OL matters.

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c) Complaints

Complaints received from OCOL are reviewed and forwarded to the responsible director general with a copy to the appropriate ADM. The manager concerned, in consultation with the advisor in the regional human resources office and the national OL officer, determines the measures that will be taken to rectify the situation and ensure that it does not recur. The OL officer does regular follow-up until the corrective measures are applied.

Overall in TC—and this has been the case for the last two years—organizational learning around OL is now definitely occurring. Mandatory information sessions on OL were held in 2004–2005 in several sectors of the Department where OL have been most problematic. These sessions were intended to increase organisational awareness and learning regarding staff's OL responsibilities and how to avoid OL complaints.

Still, for years there has been a serious systemic OL problem with TC concerning its failure to guarantee that security information / safety instructions are available in both languages in all cases on board commercial flights.

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Service to the public - Part IV

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

TC provides a wide range of services, some of it to a limited clientele whose language preference is known. The telephone numbers of all offices are listed in the Blue Pages of telephone directories. Bilingual offices are also listed in the Burolis directory.

As of March 31, 2004, the Public Service Human Resource Management Agency of Canada's (PSHRMAC) Position and Classification Information System (PCIS) indicated that 84.4% of incumbents of bilingual positions serving the public met the linguistic requirements of their position.

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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 to the public was present in 76.9% of cases; active offer by staff was made in 46.2% of cases, while service in the language of the minority was adequate in 76.9% of cases.

The 2003 telephone service audit conducted by the Treasury Board Secretariat shows that active offer was made by staff 45.7% of the time and on answering machines 70.0% of the time, while service was adequate in both official languages 74.3% 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

OCOL was informed that managers are aware of their linguistic obligations set out in the Treasury Board policy on contracts. The Department told OCOL that contracting specialists provide the advice needed to ensure successful implementation of the policy. Each manager is responsible for ensuring compliance. Neither the Department's audit function nor the OL Directorate monitor implementation of the policy. OCOL did not have information on whether contracting specialists are well informed of the linguistic aspects of the TBS policy and whether they systematically follow up on this with managers. The Department does not have any active measures in place to help contractors better understand the extent of their obligations and to better carry them out (e.g., an information brochure, or examples of best practices that they share with the contractor).

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d) Bilingual services quality monitoring

Employees are reminded at least once a year of their responsibility to greet the public and provide service of equal quality in both official languages. Similarly, TC produces communiqués to employees about the importance of providing equal quality services in both OL that are published in departmental newsletters. Policies, guidelines, guides and other supports are available to employees. New employees are given an overview of the OLP as part of their orientation. In addition, the basic TC management course includes a component on official languages for managers.

TC has put in place a mechanism to help employees understand the Department's linguistic obligations and employees' roles in helping the Department meet them: namely, the OL progress report developed by each region or TC group/sector. As noted on page 1, section (a) of this fact sheet, that report (which also doubles as Transport Canada's OL action plan) details the corrective measures committed to by the region to maintain progress on the OL front and to rectify any weaknesses.

Transport Canada is organized into five regions. In four of these five regions, TC has organized formal training for regional employees about OL in recent years. In the National Capital Region and the Quebec and Prairies and the North regions, separate OL training sessions for management and for all employees took place last year. In the Pacific Region, training was given in 2002 as part of a TBS pilot project there.

TC carried out an in-house audit of telephone service to the public for their 106 points of bilingual service in November 2004. The results were shared with the TMX.

While different measures are in place, the results of OCOL's in-person service observations and of the 2003 TBS telephone audit raise the question of whether more, or more effective, service quality control mechanisms—especially at the local level—are required.

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Language of work - Part V

a) Adequate bilingual supervision and language of work policy

According to data obtained from PSHRMAC's Position and Classification Information System (PCIS), as of March 31, 2004, 80.9% of EXs met the OL requirements of their position, while 76.3% of supervisors met the current linguistic profile of their position.

The language of work policy is essentially that of PSHRMAC, complemented by guidelines that address specific departmental initiatives or conditions. Policies, guidelines, reports and work instruments are posted on the intranet site. Other tools and measures such as training workshops and tools to ensure effective meetings in both official languages are also made available. However, in TC's case, language of work complaints remain the largest category of OL complaints received by OCOL. This raises questions about the efficacy and sufficiency of the support measures currently in place as supports to the language of work policy in the Department.

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b) Use of each language in the workplace

Mandatory information sessions on OL were held in 2004–2005 in several sectors of the Department where OL have been most problematic. These sessions were intended to increase organizational awareness and learning regarding OL. The sessions were initially offered to the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Safety and Security Group and then expanded to other organizations, as requested by management. These measures follow on a number of other significant actions taken by TC's senior management to bring the Department more fully into line with the Government's new strategic thrust on the OL front.

Notices/reminders are published five or six times a year in Inside TC, TC Express and the What's New page of the intranet site to provide employees with information about their roles, rights and responsibilities regarding OL. New employees are given an overview of the OL Program. Similarly, the basic TC management course includes a component on official languages for managers; in other management courses when the subject of the Department's mandate on policies is raised, it is pointed out that OL is a departmental priority.

The Deputy Minister actively encourages members of the TMX to use both official languages at Executive Committee meetings, and both are used. Other measures include: posters and promotional tools in all meeting rooms; a pilot project within the Civil Aviation Group to increase the use of both official languages and to improve bilingual communications between the group's head office functions in Ottawa and its regional operations in Quebec.

The results of the 2002 Public Service-wide Employee Survey showed that 71.6% of Francophone respondents of the bilingual regions of Ontario, the NCR and New Brunswick and 69.8% of Anglophone respondents from bilingual regions of Quebec "Strongly agree" or "Mostly agree" with the language of work regime.

The groups and regions were consulted on the findings of the survey, and the results of those discussions were communicated to senior management.

Should there be any written communications that might be sent out improperly to employees in unilingual format only, the Champion has now put in place a control measure for such situations. Should this occur, ADMs are now aware that she will raise the matter personally with them as the person responsible for their sector.

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Equitable participation - Part VI

a) Percentage of Francophone participation throughout Canada

27.2% of TC employees in Canada are Francophone.

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b) Percentage of Anglophone participation in Quebec

6.8% of employees in Quebec are Anglophone.

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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

TC is aware that it must further develop a mechanism to consider the potential impact on minority communities when developing Memoranda to Cabinet and TBS submissions. Traditionally this appears not to have happened. Once it is in place, the new OL responsibility framework currently being developed will likely positively support such a development.

TC claims that they are well aware of the Communications Policy. They say that they ensure equivalent OL media are part of any media plan submitted to PWGSC for approval.

Sensitization of employees to the needs of OL minority communities only seems to occur through the practice (which is becoming more common) of ensuring that staffing competitions take into account the minority communities in their area of selection. (The Department does this to boost their bilingual recruitment.) Thus, sensitization of employees to specific needs of the minority community occurs through the Department's promotional activities of the two official languages. (For more on this, see the next section, i.e., Section (b)).

In short, TC doesn't yet do consultations with OL groups; they don't have examples of Section 41 social or economic initiatives, and they are not one of the 29 institutions reporting annually to Canadian Heritage (so they don't have an internal Section 41 plan).

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

According to Transport Canada, the impact on the promotion of linguistic duality is considered in the development of Treasury Board submissions and Memoranda to Cabinet. However, the Department has acknowledged OL were really not considered in 2003 in the development of the Department's vision document for the next decade (Straight Ahead).

Within TC, promotion of the equal status of both languages really only occurs through the secondary effect of promoting greater equality for French as an official language of work within the Department, and through the Department's promotional activities of the two official languages internally. For example, twice a year, during the Semaine de la Francophonie and during Public Service Week, the Department organizes crossword games with prizes.

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