ARCHIVED - Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority 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%)

The Ottawa International Airport Authority does not have an Official Languages (OL) action plan. There are only 44 employees (out of the 120 who work for the Authority) who directly serve the public. The Authority includes senior management positions among those that have interaction with the public. The other employees work behind the scenes in jobs such as plumbers, cleaning staff, firefighters, etc. Other people who are in direct contact with the public include partners (such as the Ottawa Police and the Commissionaires Corps), volunteers, or the employees of airport tenants (e.g. restaurants or airline companies).

The OL Coordinator's view is that employees of this small employer generally understand that the ability to offer service in the client's chosen OL is part and parcel of quality customer service - which is the primary objective of the Authority.

Employee accountability is achieved through the regular management structures, while lessees are accountable based on an OL requirement contained in their leases with the Authority. From an accountability point of view, the Authority has levied liquidated damages claims against retailers and concessionaires that were subject to OL complaints. This framework and the associated mechanisms seem to have been an effective means of encouraging compliance since the number of complaints has declined.

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

OL are not present in any strategic plan or vision document. The Authority does not produce either a Report on Plans and Priorities or a Performance Report but, rather, a corporate Annual Report. OL will be mentioned in their 2005 Annual Report currently being prepared.

Internal audits have not yet become a regular phenomenon, but when they are done they tend to focus on financial aspects, rather than on a functional theme such as OL. However, the OL champion states that a careful eye is kept on all communications, both internal and external to ensure bilingual compliance. The Director of Communications is both champion and OL coordinator. She attends the weekly Executive Committee meetings. The Coordinator raises OL questions and the Executive Committee addresses them as required. Because of her central role in the management of OL, the OL Coordinator is in a good position to ensure problems with OL implementation are drawn to the Executive Committee's attention.

The Authority is not subject to Part VII of the Official Languages Act (the Act) so this is not a consideration when looking at coordination with other parts of the Act.

c) Complaints (5%)

When a language complaint is received, managers are the ones who resolve the problem and put in place solutions, under advice and monitoring from the OL Coordinator. The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) has observed an improvement in recent years in how the Authority deals with complaints under its direct control.

Numerous complaint investigation files were closed this summer with very good cooperation from the Authority Champion. Extensive time was spent with OCOL representatives in 2005 in an effort to clear up outstanding OL complaints. Changes were made as a result of these discussions. The number of complaints has decreased in 2005.

The OL champion notes that there is a higher level of understanding concerning the need to serve clients in both OL, and that retailers and concessionaires were slightly more successful in hiring bilingual personnel. The Authority has levied liquidated damages claims against retailers and concessionaires that received complaints as a means of encouraging compliance. The claims were paid and the complaints have dropped as a result. She also indicates that there is more compliance when it comes to bilingual signage and that the need for the Authority's monitoring role has diminished. She feels they are definitely making good progress in this area. OCOL has not identified any systemic problem.

Service to the public - Part IV

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

77% of incumbents of bilingual positions serving the public meet the language requirements of their position. (Source: Airport Authority Human Resources Management System, October 2005)

The Ottawa airport and its services are listed in both languages in the Ottawa-Gatineau White Pages and in BUROLIS.

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 100% of cases, active offer by staff was made in 0% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 100% 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 100% of cases, while service in the language of the linguistic minority was adequate in 100% of cases.

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

The Authority has set out requirements for the services delivered by third parties. The standard linguistic clauses specify that an active offer is to be made, that signage is to be posted in both OL, and that bilingual staff be present on the leased premises at all times. For concessionaires, it goes on to specify recourse action that may be taken by the Authority in the case of failure to comply with the provisions of the contract.

Review of tenant signage is done through spot-inspections and regular visits. The Authority now has an in-house translator, who handles the translation of many tenant-generated documents and signage on a regular basis.

Agreements have been developed regarding the Authority requirements, including OL, for organizations that display temporary promotional signage in the terminal (for tourism events, festivals, etc.), local artists who display their artwork in the terminal and charities participating in the charitable box program. All signage must be bilingual otherwise it is removed immediately.

Frequent checks are done to ensure compliance, and on several occasions this year, the Authority proactively contacted OCOL to ensure that proper protocol was followed for the installation of new permanent signage in the terminal. The United States (U.S.) Customs and Border Protection is a prime example of such collaboration. While they are a U.S. based organization and therefore not subject to the Act, the Authority worked with OCOL to have their logo displayed with the proper French wording underneath. Everyone is pleased with the result.

d) Bilingual services quality monitoring (4%)

Monitoring the quality of bilingual services is a part of managers' responsibilities. There is a comment-card response system in place. Announcements and other interactions in French are monitored. Reminders to airlines and others regarding the French announcement obligation happen as necessary; however, the OL champion notes that compliance has increased significantly.

Reminders and periodic e-mail blasts are sent out to Authority employees and to contractors. Regular reminders are also done at monthly concessionaires and merchants meetings. Instant reminders are done if announcements are made in only one OL.

The OL champion notes that these have dropped significantly.

Public address system announcements were developed to cover a variety of potential events in the terminal. They were produced in both OL, and are quickly available to all emergency staff and security personnel in order to ensure the highest quality of announcements.

Language of work - Part V

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

The Authority confirmed in an e-mail dated November 1, 2005 that 23 of 24 management positions (96%) are staffed with bilingual incumbents.

The Authority has a document entitled, "Bilingualism Policy" that addresses some language of work issues, including performance evaluation, internal services provided to employees, and reimbursement of language training costs to employees. The policy, which was approved in 1997, states that "Services provided to Authority employees shall be available in both official languages. This will also apply to regularly- and widely-used documentation produced for employees."

It is expected that managers, on their own, will regularly remind employees of their language of work rights.

Unilingual volunteer Infoguides are paired with someone bilingual to ensure the availability of service in both OL. The Authority's in-house translator, with the help of several French-speaking volunteers, provides French-language training for Infoguide volunteers who do not speak French. The training will be completed during this calendar year. This will allow unilingual English-speaking volunteers to have basic communication skills with clients, in the event that they are left alone at the kiosk counter to cover breaks, etc. The Authority distributed written scripts to employees to help them with some wording in the other official language, and reminding them of their obligation to serve the public in the OL of its choice.

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

The OL champion notes that French is used extensively in the workplace and there is a high degree of respect for OL. Regular employee information sessions are conducted in both languages.

The Authority does a general survey of its employees from time to time. The surveys are intended to verify employee perceptions and level of satisfaction. In 2005, a smaller survey was conducted regarding specific human resources issues that needed to be addressed. Because of the nature of the survey, the OL component was not included, but will be in the next. During follow-up sessions regarding employee issues and concerns, OL were never identified as a problem.

A complaints-based approach is used for language of work: the OL Coordinator did not feel that measures were necessary to actively encourage employees to use their first OL, given the strong presence of both language groups in the workforce.

Both languages are used at Executive Committee meetings.

Equitable participation - Part VI

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

Francophones account for 39% of the Authority workforce as a whole. (Source: Airport Authority Human Resources Management System, October 2005)

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

There are no employees in Québec.


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%)

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


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

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