Status of Annual Report Recommendations from 2006-2016

 

The Commissioner of Official Languages makes recommendations in his annual reports and tracks their implementation by means of regular follow-ups. The Commissioner judges the implementation status of his recommendations using data collected from various sources, including self-assessments provided by federal institutions. The following table details the results of the most recent follow-up, which was carried out in 2016 and spans all of Commissioner Fraser’s annual report recommendations, from 2006–2007 to 2015–2016.

Recommendations Departmental Self-evaluation Follow-up and Implementation Status in the Opinion of the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages
Follow-up Status Implementation Status Details

2006–2007 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister for Official Languages, in cooperation with the communities, provinces and territories, create an initiative, over the coming year, that will succeed the Action Plan for Official Languages and consolidate what has been gained. During the design process, the federal government must carefully consider expanding the scope of the Action Plan to include, in particular, arts and culture, youth initiatives and new measures for promoting linguistic duality.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation implemented

The Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008–2013: Acting for the Future replaced the Action Plan for Official Languages. The Roadmap contains the points mentioned in this recommendation.

2006–2007 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister for Official Languages review the Official Languages Accountability and Coordination Framework, not only in light of the changes made to official language governance, but also to better reflect the obligations and responsibilities of federal institutions following the legislative amendments of November 2005.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

During his appearance before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages on March 15, 2012, the Commissioner of Official Languages reiterated the importance of including an accountability framework in the upcoming Roadmap.

A horizontal management and results-based accountability framework has been published by Canadian Heritage. However, this framework does not establish clear accountability relationships, and it targets only key federal institutions that are associated with the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008–2013: Acting for the Future.

2006–2007 Recommendation 3

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister for Official Languages ensure Canadian Heritage review its accountability mechanisms for the implementation of sections 41 and 42 of the Official Languages Act in order to place more emphasis on results.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation implemented

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (Office of the Commissioner) had a number of discussions with Canadian Heritage regarding its three-level approach in order to see how and to what extent official language minority communities had been taken into consideration.

The results of the Horizontal Audit of Accountability for Official Languages Transfer Payments to the Provinces (Part VII of the Official Languages Act): Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Health Canada and Canadian Heritage were published in fall 2013. These results show that the onus for monitoring the use of transfer payments for official languages programs rests primarily with the deputy heads of the federal institutions that make the transfer payments and with those of the provincial and territorial governments that receive them. More specifically, Canadian Heritage uses several best practices when making transfer payments to promote second-language instruction and minority-language education. The Commissioner recommended that the institution have staff conduct field visits to validate the information provided by the provinces and territories. He also recommended that Canadian Heritage “use its next internal audit on the modernization of grants and contributions to integrate all accountability activities related to transfer payments to the provinces and territories, and governed by official languages support programs, into its audit objectives.

Canadian Heritage implemented a new three-level approach to categorizing federal institutions based on their potential impact on official language minority communities. The approach based on designated federal institutions was abandoned.

Since 2010–2011, all federal institutions have had to report to Canadian Heritage on their Part VII results. They must do so every three years, at the same time as they are required to report to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) on the other parts of the Official Languages Act. Canadian Heritage will follow up annually at the request of official language minority communities.

2006–2007 Recommendation 4

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister for Official Languages ensure Canadian Heritage take a more transparent approach in the implementation of section 41 of the Act when determining the institutions that have the most significant impact on communities and on the promotion of linguistic duality.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation implemented

The Office of the Commissioner had a number of discussions with Canadian Heritage regarding its three-level approach in order to see how and to what extent official language minority communities had been taken into consideration.

Since Canadian Heritage recognizes that all federal institutions have obligations with respect to implementing Part VII, it took into account the amendments made to the Act in 2005 and the interpretation provided by the Office of the Commissioner. By determining the potential of federal institutions, Canadian Heritage can take a targeted approach to follow-up and oversight.

2006–2007 Recommendation 5

The Commissioner recommends that deputy heads in federal institutions ensure that front-line employees and all agents who respond to client enquiries actively offer services in both official languages at first contact in order to enhance the use of the public's official language of choice.

According to the responses received in spring 2015, 96% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • Mandatory training on active offer in offices designated as bilingual
  • Implementation of internal policies on active offer
  • Active offer checklist
  • Self-evaluation checklist for managers

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

A similar recommendation is expressed in Volume II of the 2009–2010 annual report.

Implementation status is detailed in the annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the institutions’ report cards and the audits conducted by the Office of the Commissioner. In-person active offer continues to be a compliance issue for federal institutions.

Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that the recommendation made in 2006–2007 has been fully or partially implemented, the number of complaints filed under Part IV of the Act relating to active offer, along with the observations noted in the report cards and in several audits, indicates that in-person active offer is still the weak point for most federal institutions. In his 2015–2016 annual report, the Commissioner notes that institutions still have considerable difficulty with the in-person active offer.

In summer 2016, the Office of the Commissioner released a study on the active offer, the weak link when it comes to service to the public, year after year.

2007–2008 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner recommends that the Prime Minister:

1. create an ad hoc committee of ministers, chaired by the Minister for Official Languages, to oversee the full implementation of the new action plan and language requirements within all federal institutions;

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation not implemented

1. The Office of the Commissioner notes that not only has the government not set up a special committee of ministers on official languages, it created a Committee of Assistant Deputy Ministers on Official Languages, which replaced the Committee of Deputy Ministers on Official Languages.

2. ensure Cabinet, supported by the Official Languages Secretariat, reviews official languages matters at least once a year;

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation not implemented

2. Cabinet has not submitted any annual reviews.

3. ensure the Official Languages Secretariat is given the authority it needs to fulfill a horizontal coordination role in order to implement the Official Languages Act in its entirety.

3. Follow-up complete

3. Recommendation not implemented

3. The Official Languages Secretariat, which is responsible for horizontal coordination of the Official Languages Act, was at one time part of one of the central agencies. It was transferred to Canadian Heritage in 2006. Since 2013, it has been fully integrated into Canadian Heritage’s Official Languages Support Programs Branch. It is difficult to say whether it has the necessary authority to play a horizontal coordination role with respect to implementing the Act, since its functions interlock with those of a department having a specific mandate.

2007–2008 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner recommends that the Clerk of the Privy Council ensure deputy ministers’ annual performance reviews include efforts to implement the Official Languages Act in its entirety, especially Part VII.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

The Clerk of the Privy Council asks the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages to participate in the annual evaluation of deputy ministers. Their performance with respect to official languages is therefore evaluated to a certain extent.

The Clerk of the Privy Council uses the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) to evaluate deputy ministers, even though the MAF makes little mention of official languages and contains no evaluation criteria for Part VII of the Act.

The MAF evaluation criteria change each year, which means that official languages are not always evaluated in the same way, based on the same criteria, for all federal institutions.

2007–2008 Recommendation 3

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister for Official Languages give the Official Languages Secretariat the mandate of reviewing the official languages accountability and reporting requirements to simplify the process and, above all, strengthen the focus on results.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

Canadian Heritage and TBS have created a combined accountability exercise that allows certain federal institutions to report to both of them through a single self-assessment.

TBS informed the Departmental Advisory Committee on Official Languages in October 2011 that this initiative stemmed directly from the recommendation of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

2007–2008 Recommendation 4

The Commissioner recommends that the Clerk of the Privy Council ensure linguistic duality is fully integrated into public service renewal initiatives, especially in recruitment, training and development, so that linguistic duality is considered a value in the federal administration.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

The 18th Annual Report of the Clerk of the Privy Council calls on deputy heads to report on public service renewal by February 1, 2012, including a component on official languages.

The 19th Annual Report of the Clerk of the Privy Council states, “And deputy heads have also reported on their organizations’ progress against the renewal objectives set out in my Eighteenth Annual Report. I am pleased to note that departments and agencies are actively creating the conditions for our institution’s future success. Processes are being streamlined, resource-sharing is reducing costs, and employee engagement efforts have increased.” Examples of initiatives are available on the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Web site. However, official languages are not mentioned in connection with this initiative.

Nonetheless, the 19th Annual Report of the Clerk of the Privy Council goes on to say, “We must not let up our efforts to nurture workplaces that support the use of both official languages, even as we tackle reductions … This will result in productive and fulfilling work environments, improve our ability to attract and retain great employees, and enable us to better serve Canadians in both official languages.

The 20th Annual Report of the Clerk of the Privy Council in 2013 recognizes linguistic duality as “central to the values of the Public Service.” The Clerk states that “By serving Canadians in both English and French, by creating a work environment that encourages employees in bilingual regions to work in the official language of their choice, and by promoting linguistic duality in Canadian society, our federal institutions give concrete expression to Canada’s commitment to bilingualism.” In the report, the launch of ourlanguages.gc.ca on the go! in September 2012 is cited as an example of official languages promotion.

2007–2008 Recommendation 5

The Commissioner recommends that the Prime Minister ensure the government fully respects its linguistic obligations and the vitality of official language communities during any large-scale reform, such as program reviews, transfers of responsibilities, or decisions to change the nature of, privatize or move a federal institution.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Privy Council Office for the Prime Minister’s Office:

Large-scale reform and other major government policy initiatives are determined through the Cabinet decision-making process. Generally, proposals for such initiatives are formally presented by ministers for consideration by Cabinet and its committees in the form of ministerial recommendations (MRs) contained in memoranda to Cabinet (MCs). In fulfilment of its mandate to support Cabinet, as well as in support of the Prime Minister as the head of Cabinet, the Privy Council Office (PCO) has issued detailed guidance and templates for the development of MRs and MCs (this material is publicly available via the PCO Web site). Pursuant to this guidance, every MC is required to state whether the MRs contained therein raise considerations with respect to the Government’s obligations under the Official Languages Act, and if so, to provide further information. Similarly, guidelines for the preparation of submissions to the Treasury Board ensure that the official languages implications of proposals being considered in that forum receive due consideration from ministers. Thus, official languages considerations are directly integrated into the Cabinet decision-making process.

In addition, the most recent report on official languages (2013–2014) tabled in Parliament by the President of the Treasury Board describes a number of recent initiatives undertaken by the Government to ensure that Government of Canada institutions continue to advance linguistic duality and communicate and serve Canadians effectively in the official language of their choice. These include the continuing implementation of the new official languages policy suite that came into effect in November 2012, as well as the review of the language obligations of 10,240 federal offices across the country subject to the Official Languages (Communications with and Services to the Public) Regulations to ensure that Canadians have access to services in their official language of choice where required.translation

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

The Office of the Commissioner recognizes that it is appropriate for PCO and TBS to give federal institutions guides containing information on official languages obligations. However, because they did not share all relevant information with the Office of the Commissioner (citing the confidentiality of Queen’s Privy Council for Canada documents), the Office of the Commissioner cannot assess how PCO and TBS are ensuring that institutions have conducted all of the impact analyses required prior to major reforms. This prevents the Office of the Commissioner from confirming that this recommendation has been implemented.

Despite this, the Office of the Commissioner’s findings during the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 report card exercises and during the audit of TBS in the context of the 2011–2012 Strategic and Operating Review (Part VII of the Official Languages Act) indicate that improvements are needed at this level, at the very least for TBS.

2007–2008 Recommendation 6

The Commissioner recommends that the Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada demonstrate, by December 31, 2008, that the Secretariat (the lead federal institution for expenditure review) has taken the necessary steps to ensure expenditure and similar reviews within the federal government are designed and conducted in full compliance with the commitments, duties and roles prescribed in Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

The following text was provided by TBS in spring 2015:

Treasury Board Secretariat undertook analysis and provided advice to ministers during Strategic Operating Review and the deficit reduction action plan on the potential impact of the reductions, including those related to official languages as part of its challenge function as a central agency and secretariat to a Cabinet committee.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

The Commissioner of Official Languages contacted TBS personally to share his concerns about the impact the expenditure review might have on official languages.

The audit conducted by the Office of the Commissioner to determine how TBS, a central agency, had fulfilled its obligations under Part VII of the Act in the context of the Strategic and Operating Review and the Deficit Reduction Action Plan was made public in January2016.

During the 2011–2012 Strategic and Operating Review, TBS provided no specific guidance to federal institutions on their obligation to analyze and mitigate potential negative impacts on official language minority communities. Its guidance referred to official languages only in a general manner—official languages are provided as an example of legal risks or legal impact and appear as a selection under “nature of the impact” in the Excel template that accompanied the guidance document. However, no specific guidance is provided on the systemic analysis of Part VII.

Looking at its 2015–2016 report card, TBS has made progress in terms of taking its Part VII obligations into account in its processes, but it still needs to make major improvements.

Because they did not share all relevant information with the Office of the Commissioner (citing the confidentiality of Queen’s Privy Council for Canada documents), the Office of the Commissioner cannot assess how the PCO and TBS are ensuring that institutions have conducted all of the impact analyses required prior to major reforms. This prevents the Office of the Commissioner from confirming that this recommendation has been implemented.

2007–2008 Recommendation 7

The Commissioner recommends that deputy heads of all federal institutions take concrete steps, by December 31, 2008, to create a work environment that is more conducive to the use of both English and French by employees in designated regions.

According to the responses received in spring 2015, 87% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • Daily executive meetings held in French once a week to set an example for managers
  • Internal survey to assess employee satisfaction with the use of both official languages in their work environment, followed up with the development of an action plan
  • Other measures such as posters, French Fridays, lunch-and-learns and language pairing programs

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

Implementation status is detailed in the annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the institutions’ report cards and the audits conducted by the Office of the Commissioner.

The 2009–2010 annual report mentions a follow-up on this recommendation, in particular the responses obtained from the 117 federal institutions.

Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that this recommendation has been fully or partially implemented, the Commissioner’s 2015–2016 annual report notes some nuances. Since 2006, the measures taken by federal institutions have become increasingly focused. Most institutions have developed instruments and tools for bilingual meetings, internal communications, supervisors’ obligations and employee rights. However, the way in which federal institutions assess these measures is still a challenge for them. Assessing the effectiveness of the measures they have implemented will help institutions ensure that they are focusing their efforts in the right places.

The results of the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey showed a difference in the level of satisfaction of employees whose preferred language is English compared with those whose preferred language is French in terms of their ability to use the official language of their choice.

The Office of the Commissioner has also created tools to help managers foster work environments that are conducive to the use of both official languages and to the holding of bilingual meetings. These tools are available to all federal public service managers.

2008–2009 Recommendation 1

In order to stay the course on linguistic duality, the Commissioner recommends that the Prime Minister of Canada ensure the government, through its budget decisions and its economic stimulus investments, turns its commitment to linguistic duality and the development of official language minority communities into action.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Privy Council Office for the Prime Minister’s Office:

As described in the response to 2007–2008 Recommendation 5, official languages considerations are directly integrated into the Cabinet decision-making process, and the Government continues to take a number of measures to ensure that Government of Canada institutions continue to advance linguistic duality and communicate and serve Canadians effectively in the official language of their choice. In addition, the most recent annual report on Official Languages (2012-13) tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Canadian Heritage details over $340 million in expenditures in 2012-13 on official languages support programs. That report also describes the Government’s renewed commitment to official languages in education, immigration and communities under the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018. With respect to infrastructure investments, the report describes how, as part of developing the Building Canada Plan 2014-24, Infrastructure Canada encouraged provincial and territorial governments to include Official Languages Minority Communities in their deliberations to identify infrastructure needs and priorities, leading to a better understanding of the way in which community spaces, transportation and broadband telecommunications can contribute to the development of these communities. Consequently, Infrastructure Canada added these new fields to the eligible categories under the Gas Tax Fund, which is part of the new Plan.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

The government’s Strategic and Operating Review is not fundamentally at odds with this recommendation. However, for federal institutions, staying the course on linguistic duality is easier said than done in an environment of fiscal constraint.

In 2010, the Office of the Commissioner produced report cards for institutions that were paying out large sums of money to Canadians.

In 2011, the Office of the Commissioner audited Industry Canada with respect to Part VII of the Official Languages Act.

Moreover, the information provided by Infrastructure Canada was positive. However, in the latest report cards published in the 2015–2016 annual report, the Office of the Commissioner noted that, although some progress had been made with respect to Part VII, there were also some shortcomings in the way the institution assessed the measures it took with respect to linguistic duality.

2008–2009 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner recommends that the President of the Treasury Board:

1. fully assume his responsibilities under Part VIII of the Official Languages Act towards all federal institutions, including separate employers;

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation partially implemented

1. There are still some shortcomings with regard to airport authorities.

2. report to Parliament on the implementation of the Treasury Board’s official languages programs.

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation partially implemented

TBS had fallen behind in submitting its annual reports to Parliament, but it seems to have caught up. 

In addition, in a final investigation report released in September 2014, the Commissioner recommended that TBS take the necessary steps to enable the President of the Treasury Board to report to Parliament on an annual basis on the implementation status of the Official Languages Program for every federal institution. The investigation revealed that the accountability practices in effect between 2008–2009 and 2010–2011, during which time TBS was asking institutions to report once every three years, did not allow for an accurate yearly portrait for every federal institution and did not comply with Part VIII of the Act. The Office of the Commissioner will follow up on this recommendation in 2016–2017.

2008–2009 Recommendation 3

With regard to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the Commissioner recommends:

1. that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the President of the Treasury Board exercise greater and coordinated leadership among federal institutions so that the responsibilities for linguistic obligations are clarified, all necessary human and financial resources are made available, and clear accountability mechanisms for bilingual service delivery are established;

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation implemented

The Final Report on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games contains an update on the issue.

1. Federal institutions reported to the Commissioner on all actions taken. Implementation status is detailed in the Office of the Commissioner’s Final Report on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

2. that deputy heads of each federal institution involved in the Games clearly identify measures that their institutions are taking to ensure full compliance with all official languages obligations, and that they provide the Commissioner and parliamentary committees with regular progress updates.

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation implemented

2. See comment above.

2008–2009 Recommendation 4

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Transport table, as quickly as possible, a new bill to protect and uphold the language rights of the travelling public and Air Canada employees, regardless of the nature of the changes to the structure and organization of the air transport industry.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

This recommendation has been made three times by two different commissioners, but no bill has yet been passed. The Commissioner reiterates this recommendation at his meetings with Transport Canada.

Although the government has tabled bills on this subject, none have proceeded beyond the second reading:

  • Bill C-29October 2006
  • Bill C-36October 2007
  • Bill C-17December 2011

The Commissioner tabled a Special Report to Parliament in June 2016 concerning Air Canada’s recurring compliance issues with the Official Languages Act.

2008–2009 Recommendation 5

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages:

1. implement, as soon as possible, the commitments announced in the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future to support second official language learning;

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation implemented

1. The first part of this recommendation focused on launching all the components of the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future. Programs were initiated and funding was provided for all components.

2. develop, by March 31, 2010, appropriate coordination mechanisms, bringing together all partners involved in English or French second-language learning in Canada;

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation implemented

2. In May 2010, Canadian Heritage organized three days of dialogue concerning the Francophone and Acadian communities, the Quebec Anglophone communities, and linguistic duality respectively. It was during the day on linguistic duality that speakers stressed issues relating to learning a second language.

3. report, by the end of fiscal year 2010–2011, on these measures and the results that they helped achieve.

3. Follow-up complete

3. Recommendation partially implemented

3. Canadian Heritage did not report on the measures taken and the results achieved by the end of fiscal year 2010–2011. However, in 2012, following consultations with stakeholders, Canadian Heritage released a mid-term report on the implementation of the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future.

2008–2009 Recommendation 6

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages continue to fully implement, as quickly as possible, the commitments to official language minority communities in the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation implemented

In 2012, following consultations with stakeholders, Canadian Heritage released a mid-term report on the implementation of the Roadmap for Canada’s Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future.

The Commissioner was interviewed regarding his assessment of how the Roadmap was implemented, as part of the evaluation of the 2008–2013 plan.

2009–2010 Recommendation 1 Vol. I

The Commissioner recommends that, with regard to the implementation of the Protocol for Agreements for Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction for 2009–2010 to 2012–2013, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages actively encourage all provinces and territories to consult all concerned associations and groups so that the bilateral accords can be more effectively designed and applied, and their impact appropriately assessed.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage:

The Department of Canadian Heritage actively encourages provincial/territorial governments to consult the associations targeted by their programs in education.

In accordance with the Protocol, each provincial/territorial government agrees to draft a multi-year action plan as part of its bilateral agreement that must be concluded with the Government of Canada. Section 9.3 of the Protocol deals with the commitment of provinces and territories to consult with interested associations and groups as they develop their action plans. At the insistence of some provinces and territories, the wording of this commitment is qualified with a ‘when deemed necessary’ phrase. The consultation process is to be described in the preamble to the action plan.

To assist in the development of action plans, Canadian Heritage provides a ‘reference tool for provincial/territorial coordinators’ to help explain the expectations as agreed to in the Protocol. This reference tool includes the following section related to consultations:

Canadian Heritage strongly encourages the province or territory to conduct consultations when developing its action plan and, to this end, suggests that the action plan be developed or shared with the key minority-language education and second-language learning stakeholders (school boards, postsecondary institutions and certain associations).

Follow-up in progress

Implementation status has yet to be confirmed.

Although the self-assessment provided by Canadian Heritage suggests that this recommendation was implemented, the Office of the Commissioner received two complaints in January 2015 against Canadian Heritage relating to the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Agreement for Minority-Language Education and Second Language Instruction, 2013–2014 to 2017–2018. Central to these complaints is the question of consultation with organizations and associations that would be affected by the agreement. The preliminary investigation report was sent to the parties in summer 2016. The parties then have 60 days in which to submit their comments.

2009–2010 Recommendation 2 Vol. I

The Commissioner recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages report, by March 31, 2011, on the actions that he has taken to speed up the signing and implementation of collaboration agreements and other agreements between the federal government and official language minority communities. The Minister is asked to indicate in his report how he has ensured that community organizations receive one quarter of their funding by April 1 of each fiscal year.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation implemented

The Office of the Commissioner conducted an investigation.

Canadian Heritage changed and improved the process so that community organizations receive one quarter of their funding by April 1 of each fiscal year.

Since this recommendation was addressed, the institution has shared its action plan and reported on measures taken to rectify the situation.

When the Office of the Commissioner followed up with official language minority communities regarding the changes made by Canadian Heritage, the communities had noticed an improvement.

2009–2010 Recommendation 3 Vol. I

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Prime Minister take all required measures to ensure that new initiatives in alternative modes of service delivery (privatization; partnership or decentralization agreements) do not adversely affect the language rights of Canadians–in particular, members of official language minority communities.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Privy Council Office for the Prime Minister’s Office:

The measures taken to ensure that Government of Canada institutions continue to advance linguistic duality and communicate and serve Canadians effectively in the official language of their choice are reviewed and reported on annually by the President of the Treasury Board.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

Given the information provided, it was not possible to confirm whether or not this recommendation was implemented. The reporting mentioned is triennial and based on self-assessments. The key aspect is that federal institutions are required to give full consideration to official languages before making decisions regarding new initiatives for implementing an alternative service delivery method (e.g. privatization, partnership agreements, and decentralization agreements).

The Office of the Commissioner recognizes that it is appropriate for PCO and TBS to give federal institutions guides containing information on official languages obligations. However, citing the confidentiality of Queen’s Privy Council for Canada documents means that the Office of the Commissioner cannot assess how PCO and TBS are ensuring that institutions have conducted all of the impact analyses required prior to major reforms. This prevents the Office of the Commissioner from confirming that this recommendation has been implemented.

Despite this, the Office of the Commissioner’s findings during the 2014–2015 and 2015–2016 report card exercises and during the audit of TBS in the context of the 2011–2012 Strategic and Operating Review (Part VII of the Official Languages Act) indicate that improvements are needed at this level, at the very least for TBS.

2009–2010 Recommendation 4 Vol. I

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Clerk of the Privy Council make the use of English and French as languages of work in federal institutions a significant priority within the framework of any initiative related to Public Service renewal and improved services for Canadians.

1.

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation partially implemented

1. There is ongoing monitoring of the Public Service Employee Survey, which includes language-of-work data.

Follow-up is being done through the annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the institutions’ report cards and the audits conducted by the Office of the Commissioner.

In the context of the Public Service Renewal, the Clerk did not categorize official languages as an essential priority, but rather as one of the elements of this initiative.

More specifically, the Commissioner recommends that senior officials manage the human resources of their department or agency by applying the most promising practices advanced in Monique Collette's report.

2. According to the responses received in spring 2015, 83% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • Implementation of official languages action plans, taking into account certain elements in Monique Collette’s report
  • An analysis of the impact on official languages of organizational changes and proposed initiatives to reduce the deficit
  • An internal discussion network on official languages initiatives and best practices, composed of members from all sectors of the federal institution, including management and executives
2. Follow-up complete 2. Recommendation partially implemented

2. Implementation status is detailed in the annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the institutions’ report cards and the audits conducted by the Office of the Commissioner.

Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that this recommendation was fully or partially implemented, the Commissioner’s 2015–2016 annual report notes some nuances. Over the past 10 years, senior executives in most federal institutions have become more involved in official languages management. Federal institutions that have seen a general improvement in official languages management are those where official languages issues are discussed by senior management and where the champions and persons responsible for official languages have decision-making authority and lead by example.

In addition, most federal institutions have given serious thought to the language-of-work issues they face, including the availability of work tools and opportunities for employees to participate in meetings, obtain training, draft documents and be supervised in the official language of their choice.

Since 2006, the measures taken by federal institutions with respect to language of work have become increasingly focused. In addition to guidelines, most institutions have developed work plans and action plans that either include Part V of the Act or are specifically dedicated to it. They have also developed instruments and tools for bilingual meetings, internal communications, supervisors’ obligations and employee rights.

Nevertheless, although many of the practices mentioned in Monique Collette’s report as being promising for “creating and promoting an effectively bilingual Public Service throughout Canada” are in more widespread use within federal institutions than before, there is still work to be done. The way in which federal institutions assess the measures they put in place remains a challenge. Assessing the effectiveness of these measures will help institutions ensure that they are focusing their efforts in the right places.

The Commissioner also recommends that senior officials report to the Clerk of the Privy Council on the measures they have taken to provide their staff with more opportunities to work in the official language of their choice.

3.

3. Follow-up complete

3. Recommendation partially implemented

3. The Office of the Commissioner contacted the Clerk of the Privy Council to find out what measures federal institutions have taken.

The responses from deputy ministers, requested by the Clerk of the Privy Council (in a recommendation in his 18th annual report), were included in his annual report.

2009–2010 Recommendation 1 Vol. II

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Transport table a new bill as quickly as possible to protect and uphold the language rights of the travelling public and Air Canada employees, and make Jazz directly subject to the Official Languages Act.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

This recommendation has been made three times by two different commissioners, but no bill has yet been passed. The Commissioner reiterates this recommendation at his meetings with Transport Canada.

Although the government has tabled bills on this subject, none have proceeded beyond the second reading:

  • Bill C-29October 2006
  • Bill C-36October 2007
  • Bill C-17December 2011

The Commissioner tabled a Special Report to Parliament in June 2016 concerning Air Canada’s recurring compliance issues with the Official Languages Act.

2009–2010 Recommendation 2 Vol. II

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the deputy heads of federal institutions take all of the necessary measures to ensure that people who contact offices with bilingual service delivery obligations are informed, unequivocally, that they have the right to use English or French. Institutions should evaluate, in particular, whether new active-offer strategies allow them to better inform Canadians of their language-of-service rights.

According to the responses received in spring 2015, 91% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • Active offer checklist
  • Self-evaluation checklist for managers
  • Annual assessments of telephone services by the official languages unit in order to inform sector managers and implement required follow-up action

Nonetheless, only 63% of the federal institutions that responded to the survey said they had evaluated whether new active-offer strategies would allow them to better inform Canadians of their language-of-service rights.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

In 2013–2014, the Office of the Commissioner conducted an observation exercise targeting service to the public in nine institutions that had been evaluated in 2008–2009.

Implementation status is detailed in the annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the institutions’ report cards and the audits conducted by the Office of the Commissioner. In-person active offer continues to be a compliance issue for federal institutions.

Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that this recommendation has been fully or partially implemented, the number of complaints filed under Part IV of the Act relating to active offer, along with the observations noted in the report cards and in several audits, indicates that in-person active offer is still the weak point for most federal institutions. In his 2015–2016 annual report, the Commissioner notes that institutions still have considerable difficulty with the in-person active offer.

In summer 2016, the Office of the Commissioner released a study on the active offer, the weak link when it comes to service to the public, year after year.

2009–2010 Recommendation 3 Vol. II

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that deputy heads of federal institutions take specific and long-term measures to ensure that their employees are able to use the official language of their choice in written communications.

According to the responses received in spring 2015, 91% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • Internal policies on the use of both official languages
  • Three-year action plans that were developed and disseminated within the institutions and that provide for annual training for managers and employees on language of work, including the right to write in the official language of one’s choice
  • Recognition of employees or groups of employees that have demonstrated leadership or made a significant contribution to the promotion of both official languages and language of work in their teams and sectors

Internal editing and translation services that allow employees to write in the language of their choice

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

The Commissioner of Official Languages will continue to deliver similar messages in his annual reports.

Implementation status is detailed in the annual reports of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the institutions’ report cards, the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) and the audits conducted by the Office of the Commissioner.

There is ongoing monitoring of the PSES, which includes language-of-work data. The results of the 2014 PSES indicate that 93% of employees whose first official language is English feel comfortable writing in their official language of choice, compared with 68% whose first official language is French. The difference between the two groups has not improved since the results of the 2008 PSES.

Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that this recommendation has been fully or partially implemented, the Commissioner’s 2015–2016 annual report notes some nuances. Since 2006, the measures taken by federal institutions have become increasingly focused. Most institutions have developed instruments and tools for bilingual meetings, internal communications, supervisors’ obligations and employee rights. However, the way in which federal institutions assess these measures is still a challenge for them. Assessing the effectiveness of the measures they have implemented will help institutions ensure that they are focusing their efforts in the right places.

Many complaints were received against federal institutions relating to section 91 of the Act. These institutions invoked the TBS Directive on Official Languages for People Management to justify a BBB/BBB profile. The Commissioner sent a letter to the President of the Treasury Board at the beginning of May 2016 asking him to modify the Directive to require that management positions in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes be given a CBC/CBC linguistic profile, in order to meet the supervisory requirements of these positions. Discussions with TBS are ongoing.

The Canada Border Services Agency implemented a strategy to change the linguistic profiles of EX-minus-one positions in their organization to CBC. One day, all supervisors should be at the CBC level.

The Office of the Commissioner has also created tools to help managers foster work environments that are conducive to the use of both official languages and to the holding of bilingual meetings. These tools are available to managers throughout the public service.

2010–2011 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Prime Minister of Canada amend Part VIII of the Official Languages Act in order to assign the following responsibilities to the Treasury Board: establish policies to give effect to Part VII; recommend regulations to the Governor in Council to give effect to Part VII; issue directives to give effect to Part VII; and provide information to the public and to federal institutions relating to the policies and programs that give effect to Part VII.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

Part VIII of the Official Languages Act has not been amended.

2010–2011 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages clearly communicate their commitment to Part VII of the Official Languages Act, and confirm that it is important and a priority for all federal institutions to take positive measures to promote English and French and support the development of official language communities;

1.

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation not implemented

1. There was no specific political nod to Part VII in the Speech from the Throne or elsewhere to indicate its importance in the official languages universe.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Clerk of the Privy Council take measures to make senior management of federal institutions more accountable for the way in which their organizations implement Part VII of the Official Languages Act, and ensure that they report the results obtained in this area to the Canadian public;

2. Based on the response received in spring 2015, the Privy Council Office believes that, along with the legislative framework provided by the Official Languages Act, official languages champions fill this accountability role by providing a platform for discussing official languages and Part VII of the Act.

The government, through the Minister of Official Languages, did renew the Roadmap in March 2013. However, that horizontal measure does not in itself support federal institutions by providing them with advice or tools for action or accountability.

However, Canadian Heritage reiterated that the accountability framework for Part VII, which was initially included in the 2003–2008 Action Plan for Official Languages, applied to all federal institutions and was still in effect.

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation not implemented

2. The Office of the Commissioner recognizes the importance of both the Roadmap and the accountability framework. It also recognizes the essential role of official languages champions in implementing the Act, which deals with promoting linguistic duality and enhancing the vitality of official language minority communities. However, the response provided during the self-assessment exercise does not, in and of itself, address the Commissioner’s recommendation. It therefore does not enable the Office of the Commissioner to determine what methods the Clerk used to make senior management accountable regarding the importance of Part VII or how he ensured that senior management reported on the results achieved. Given the above, the Office of the Commissioner cannot consider the recommendation to have been implemented.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that senior management of federal institutions implement the Official Languages Act in its entirety, by including Part VII in their institutions’ decision-making processes.

3. According to the responses received in spring 2015, 78% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • Designation of individuals to be responsible for coordinating the implementation of Part VII of the Act in some federal institutions
  • Consultation with official language communities during organizational changes that may affect them
  • Implementation of regular consultation mechanisms in regional offices
  • Creation of a network of federal partner institutions, including members of official language communities, to facilitate discussion and promote specific programs
  • Integration of Part VII of the Act into senior management’s decision-making processes in order to ensure that this part of the Act is routinely considered when programs are being developed or reviewed
  • A new tool to ensure consideration of official languages in expenditure reviews
  • Annual communication with official language communities about programs, services and initiatives specific to the targeted communities

3. Follow-up complete

3. Recommendation partially implemented

3. Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that the recommendation has been fully or partially implemented, the Commissioner’s 2015–2016 annual report notes some nuances. By systematically integrating clear mechanisms into the decision-making process, institutions can identify and consider the impact that introducing, modifying or eliminating programs or policies will have on compliance with their obligations under the various parts of the Act. However, institutions have been having difficulty managing official languages programs since 2006. Among the possible reasons for this, the Commissioner noted that either there are no procedures for taking into account the potential effects of decisions on official languages, or the existing tools are too general or are used inconsistently. The 2015–2016 report card exercise showed that, although some institutions are succeeding in integrating Part VII into their decision-making processes, significant improvements are still needed in this area.

2010–2011 Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, by November 30, 2012, the President of the Treasury Board establish CBC/CBC as the minimum level of language skills required to supervise employees in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

TBS is not implementing this recommendation for two reasons:

  1. This kind of requirement is too heavy a burden for federal institutions in terms of human and financial resources, considering the language training needs that would be created.
  2. It would be inconsistent to treat all managers the same way when section 91 of the Official Languages Act states that linguistic profiles must be established objectively based on the requirements of the position.

However, even though TBS did not implement this recommendation, the official languages policy was revised to ensure that employees in bilingual regions can be supervised in the official language of their choice if their supervisor is in a bilingual position. This is a step in the right direction to make managers aware of their obligations.

The Commissioner sent a letter to the President of the Treasury Board in April 2016, asking him to modify the Directive on Official Languages for People Management to make CBC/CBC the minimum level of language proficiency required for managerial and supervisory positions in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes. Discussions are ongoing with TBS.

2010–2011 Recommendation 4

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, by March 31, 2013, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities make the necessary legislative changes to clarify the language obligations of airport authorities and thus confirm the right of the general public to communicate with them and receive services in either official language, pursuant to Part IV of the Official Languages Act.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

No legislative changes were made in order to clarify the language obligations of airport authorities.

2011–2012 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, in the run-up to Canada's 150th birthday, the Prime Minister take the necessary measures to double the number of young Canadians who participate each year in short- and long-term language exchanges at the high-school and post-secondary levels.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

The Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2008–2013 does not include new funding to address this recommendation. In fact, there has been a $15-million decrease in support for second-language instruction and a $5.55-million drop in funding for language exchanges (summer language bursaries, official languages monitors, and youth initiatives).

2011–2012 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages work together with provincial and territorial governments as well as post-secondary institutions to increase the number of programs in which students can take courses in their second official language.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage:

The Department of Canadian Heritage supports the objective of increasing access to postsecondary programs in the student’s second language.

The issue was discussed with the provincial/territorial departments of education as part of a consultation process undertaken by Canadian Heritage in preparation for the negotiations of the [Protocol for Agreements for Minority-language Education and Second-language Instruction 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 between the Government of Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada]. During the discussions the lack of suitable courses at accessible universities was noted as a key challenge at the postsecondary level. Indeed, provincial/territorial action plans confirm that a number of jurisdictions offer second-language university programs, but in only a few disciplines, primarily education, arts, social sciences, languages and literature. In light of this challenge, Canadian Heritage suggested that future action for provincial/territorial governments to consider would be to encourage majority-language postsecondary institutions to offer content-based intensive learning options at the postsecondary level.

Provincial/territorial governments propose measures in their action plans, according to their specific context. Under the outcome domain entitled ‘Access to postsecondary education’, provincial/territorial governments propose initiatives related to the:

  • Maintenance, development and/or enrichment of programs or provision of courses in the second language or supporting second-language learning at the postsecondary level.
  • Improved access for a wide range of student and adult clients to second-language postsecondary programs (e.g., technologies, language upgrading, partnerships between institutions, financial incentives and bursaries).

In addition to the funding provided under the action plans, complementary contributions are made available to the provinces/territories as ad hoc funding for initiatives associated with the priorities and orientations identified in the Protocol.”,

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

Discussions on the issue of increasing access to postsecondary programs in the student’s second official language have been initiated by provincial ministers. However, the Office of the Commissioner has seen no indication that this recommendation has been implemented and that the number of programs allowing students to take courses in their second official language has in fact increased.

2011–2012 Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Industry create a support mechanism to encourage Canadian businesses to develop their capacity to operate and provide services in both official languages.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Industry Canada:

In preparing for the Treasury Board submission for the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018, Industry Canada added support for the ‘bilingualization’ of businesses to the EDI’s general description. Industry Canada also funded a study entitled Canada, Bilingualism and Trade in cooperation with The Conference Board of Canada to demonstrate the added value of official languages in business.translation

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

Although Industry Canada has taken some first steps and has funded a study to demonstrate the added value of official languages in business, this recommendation has been only partially implemented because the goal of the recommendation was to create a support mechanism to encourage Canadian businesses to develop their ability to operate and to offer services in both official languages.

2012–2013 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the deputy heads of federal institutions establish a directive on language training within their institution by October 31, 2014, if they have not already done so.

1. According to the responses received in spring 2015, 80% of federal institutions have fully or partially implemented this recommendation.

Best practices included the following:

  • A centralized language training program that offers full- and part-time language training services
  • An on-line non-instructor-led personal language training program
  • Integration of language training into professional development strategies in order to meet future operational requirements and to help employees advance their careers

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation partially implemented

1. As stated in the Office of the Commissioner’s 2013 study on language training, Challenges: The New Environment for Language Training in the Federal Public Service, approximately half of the institutions consulted had a directive, and the majority of those (30) had introduced that directive within the past 10 years. Most of these institutions also had language training guidelines. The policy statements that were consulted or presented describe, in most cases, a sharing of responsibilities between three levels: senior management, which provides leadership; team managers, who see to learning retention for themselves and their staff; and employees, who make a personal commitment to learning and maintaining their second-language skills.

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the President of the Treasury Board verify that federal institutions have established a directive on language training, and that he report back to Parliament during the fiscal year 2014–2015.

2. Based on the text provided by TBS in spring 2015, TBS did not verify that federal institutions had established a directive on language training, nor did it report on this subject, stating that “a reporting requirement would unduly add to the monitoring and reporting burdens on federal institutions.

Nonetheless, “Treasury Board Secretariat continues to support deputy heads and to provide guidance on language training. The Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer (OCHRO) supported various activities and initiatives within the official languages community while providing ongoing horizontal advice through meetings and events, and through the Clearspace on-line platform.

As language training and maintenance is a topic of interest of persons responsible for official languages, the OCHRO is supporting a working group that is developing a list of indicators that could be used by institutions to assess the effectiveness of language training, as well as a toolkit to facilitate access to language training and to increase awareness of second language maintenance strategies and resources. As part of Blueprint 2020 initiatives, the OCHRO and the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) are working with the official languages community to identify innovative and efficient ways for all employees to learn and maintain their second language skills.

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation not implemented

2. Although the self-assessments conducted by federal institutions indicate that this recommendation has been fully or partially implemented, the Commissioner’s 2015–2016 annual report notes some nuances. Since 2006, the measures taken by federal institutions to meet their obligations have become increasingly focused, and most have developed directives, work plans or action plans that either include Part V of the Act or are specifically dedicated to it. Most federal institutions have given serious thought to the language-of-work issues they face, including the availability of work tools and opportunities for employees to participate in meetings, obtain training, draft documents and be supervised in the official language of their choice. Nonetheless, recent report cards show that only half of federal institutions are making ongoing efforts to address shortcomings relating to language of work.

2012–2013 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, as part of their respective responsibilities, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and the President of the Treasury Board:

  • develop a new horizontal management and accountability framework for the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities by October 31, 2014,

1.The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage:

A new Horizontal Coordination Framework for the Roadmap 2013-2018 was approved at the same time as the Roadmap and implementation started on April 1, 2013.

Given that partner institutions are responsible for the design, implementation and results achievement for their respective initiatives, the Horizontal Coordination Framework focuses on their accountability and presents Roadmap governance that supports optimized implementation, decision-making and reporting. The Framework also includes horizontal evaluation and risk management strategies as well as reporting commitments.

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation implemented

1. In discussions with Canadian Heritage, the Office of the Commissioner was informed that a new framework for the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018: Education, Immigration, Communities was being developed but would not be made public.

  • ensure rigorous accountability and coordination of the 2013–2018 Roadmap, and

2. The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage:

The Horizontal Coordination Framework for Roadmap 2013-2018 provides for strict accountability and the effective coordination of the federal organizations responsible for its implementation.”

Although the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages is responsible for the horizontal coordination of all Roadmap 2013-2018 initiatives, partner institutions are responsible for results achievement and the financial management of their respective initiatives. They must submit their Annual Reference Level Updates and financial statements to the Treasury Board Secretariat and abide by the procedures established by Treasury Board.

The Roadmap 2013-2018 partners must also provide Canadian Heritage, on an annual basis, with financial information regarding their initiatives, progress and results achieved. Canadian Heritage annually coordinates overall Roadmap 2013-2018 reporting to Parliament in the Report on Plans and Priorities, the Departmental Performance Report and now in its Annual Report on Official Languages.

Official languages governance and coordination functions performed by the Treasury Board Secretariat and Justice Canada apply to all federal institutions. The Roadmap 2013-2018 governance mechanisms ties into these two key institutions.

2. Follow-up complete

2. Recommendation implemented

2. Based on the information received, the Office of the Commissioner considers this recommendation to have been implemented.

  • continue to have an open dialogue with groups targeted by the investments in the 2013–2018 Roadmap and inform Canadians of the results.

3. The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage:

Canadian Heritage is committed to ensuring that the Committee of Assistant Deputy Ministers on Official Languages meets once a year with leaders from minority Francophone and Anglophone communities as well as leaders from Canadian organizations focused on promoting linguistic duality to discuss common official languages issues. The first of these consultations took place in May 2014 in Gatineau.

In addition, several federal institutions, including Canadian Heritage, organize their own sectoral consultations (e.g., health, immigration), while others have ongoing relationships with community-based organizations. These dialogues and consultations with communities are often communicated (highlights, minutes, reports).

Furthermore, starting in 2015, Canadian Heritage will annually compile and release concrete information on Roadmap 2013-2018 progress and results in its Annual Report on Official Languages.

3. Follow-up complete

3. Recommendation implemented

3. Based on the information received, the Office of the Commissioner considers this recommendation to have been implemented.

2012–2013 Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, by October 31, 2014, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, in cooperation with official language minority communities, provinces, territories and federal institutions, implement a follow-up initiative to the Strategic Plan to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities, and specify the roles and responsibilities of the various partners, ways of achieving the planned results, and the evaluation and data collection mechanisms.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation implemented

In discussions with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Office of the Commissioner was informed that the Department does not intend to renew the Strategic Plan to Foster Immigration to Francophone Minority Communities. Rather, it plans to focus its activities on the objectives in the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013–2018: Education, Immigration, Communities. The membership of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee has changed and now consists of representatives of the Department’s various branches. The Department has also created a new official languages secretariat.

Citizenship and Immigration’s initiative for official language communities in the 2013–2018 Roadmap is a follow-up program to the simplified Strategic Plan and that it includes a performance measurement strategy. The strategy sets out, in particular, roles and responsibilities, ways to achieve anticipated outcomes, monitoring mechanisms and an assessment framework. The Minister also stated that the new governance model, which includes a simplified version of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Francophone Minority Communities Steering Committee, sets out the partners’ roles and responsibilities, and that the Department will ensure that Francophone immigration is addressed by the Department’s federal-provincial-territorial round tables on immigration.

2012–2013 Recommendation 4

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, by October 31, 2014, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages establish clear objectives to raise the level of bilingualism among Canadians and reverse the decline in bilingualism among Anglophones by 2017.

The following text was provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage:

Canadian Heritage is committed to raising the level of bilingualism. In its most recent Report on Plans and Priorities (2015-2016) the Department listed increasing the percentage of bilingualism amongst Canadian youth (15-19 years old) to 20 per cent as one of its performance indicators.

Second language learning in Canada is primarily done through the school system. Which is why for over 40 years, the Department of Canadian Heritage has been collaborating with provincial/territorial governments and other stakeholders to raise the level of bilingualism among Canadians.

Through the Protocol for Agreements for Minority-Language Education and Second-Language Instruction 2009-2010 to 2012-2013 between the Government of Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada $86,188,065 was provided to provincial/territorial governments for their Action Plans for second language learning.

The Protocol clearly established priorities for complementary funding which includes additional contributions for initiatives that will support this area (i.e. the assessment of second-language proficiency skills).

In addition to the Protocol, Canadian Heritage provides support to a number of parent and teacher associations (e.g. Canadian Association of Second-language Teachers, Canadian Association of Immersion Teachers, Canadian Parents for French). These organizations, active in second-language learning, are another important mechanism by which the Government of Canada promotes and supports second-language learning in Canada.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation partially implemented

Despite the efforts and money invested to contribute to the overall objective of bilingualism in the Canadian population, this recommendation has been only partially implemented because, as of March 31, 2014, Canadian Heritage had not clarified its objectives with respect to enhancing the level of bilingualism among Anglophones by 2017

.

2012–2013 Recommendation 5

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, by September 1, 2014, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada implement a collaborative approach with his provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure that the bilingual capacity of Canada’s superior court judiciary is consistent and appropriate at all times.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

The Commissioner reiterates this recommendation in his 2015–2016 annual report.

2012–2013 Recommendation 6

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, starting in 2013–2014, the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages add questions to their assessments in order to determine the impact of budget cuts as a result of the 2011 Deficit Reduction Action Plan. These questions should reveal:

  • the changes to resources and governance structures of federal institutions’ official languages programs, at both the regional and national level; and
  • the impact of budget cuts on federal institutions’ ability to fulfill their official languages obligations under each part of the Official Languages Act.

According to the text provided by TBS in spring 2015, “questions on governance and the impact of strategic or operating reviews were added in the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 Official Languages Annual Reviews. The result of the evaluation is included in the Annual Report on Official Languages 2013–2014 tabled in March 2015.

According to the text provided in spring 2015 by the Department of Canadian Heritage, “permanent measures are already in place to take into account official languages and the scope of government actions on communities in all official decision making processes.

Follow-up complete

Recommendation not implemented

In January 2016, the Office of the Commissioner published an audit conducted to determine how well TBS was meeting its language obligations as a central agency under Part VII of the Act in the context of the 2011–2012 Strategic and Operating Review, also known as the Deficit Reduction Action Plan.

During the 2011–2012 Strategic and Operating Review, TBS provided no specific guidance to federal institutions on their obligation to analyze and mitigate potential negative impacts on official language minority communities. Its guidance referred to official languages only in a general manner: official languages are provided as an example of legal risks or legal impact and appear as a selection under “nature of the impact” in the Excel template that accompanied the guidance document. However, no specific guidance is provided on the systemic analysis of Part VII.

The Program Management and Part VII sections of TBS ’s 2015–2016 report card provide a more updated view of the situation. They describe the limits of TBS ’s support to institutions for Treasury Board submissions and the tools available for expenditure reviews and other similar reviews. In addition, at the time of data collection for the 2015–2016 report card, Canadian Heritage had not implemented all of the permanent measures in question, although the institution was headed in that direction.

However, because they did not share all relevant information with the Office of the Commissioner (citing the confidentiality of Queen’s Privy Council for Canada documents), the Office of the Commissioner cannot assess how TBS is ensuring that institutions have conducted all of the impact analyses required prior to major reforms. This prevents the Office of the Commissioner from confirming that this recommendation has been implemented.

2013–2014 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages:

  • provide leadership by encouraging federal institutions participating in Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017 to take linguistic duality into account when planning their activities; and

1. In March 2016, we received a response from Canadian Heritage regarding the follow-up to this recommendation.

The institution considers that it has fully implemented this recommendation, which calls on it to provide leadership and report on the measures taken by federal institutions to take into account linguistic duality during the 150th anniversary celebrations.

According to the information received, Canadian Heritage provided leadership by putting in place a series of committees, organizing activities and developing tools to encourage federal institutions to take linguistic duality into account in their preparations for celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

1. Follow-up complete

1. Recommendation implemented

1. Our assessment found Canadian Heritage’s leadership to be satisfactory.

  • submit two progress reports—the first by March 31, 2015, and the second by March 31, 2016—on the measures federal institutions are implementing to ensure linguistic duality throughout the festivities marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

2. According to Canadian Heritage, given the early stages of the initiatives for the 150th anniversary, the first progress report that was due on March 2015 was an oral briefing given to the Commissioner by Deputy Minister Graham Flack during one of their meetings.

Canadian Heritage also said that its response to the follow-up, dated March 2016, would serve as the second progress report.

2. Follow-up in progress

2. Recommendation not implemented

2. According to our assessment, the documents provided describe the requests made and monitoring done by Canadian Heritage, but not the results it would have received from federal institutions. For this reason, we judge that the recommendation has not been implemented.

The documents provided do not respond to the recommendation, because although they outline very commendable actions taken by Canadian Heritage to ensure that linguistic duality is highlighted during the 150th anniversary celebrations, the second progress report does not describe any of the measures taken by other federal institutions, which was the focus of the recommendation.

In addition, the fact that the first progress report was essentially a conversation between the Deputy Minister and the Commissioner makes it difficult to analyze the elements of this first progress report.

2013–2014 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the President of the Treasury Board—in his capacity as minister responsible for the Canada School of Public Service and being responsible for establishing policies and issuing directives to give effect to Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act—ensure that the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Canada School of Public Service review and enhance, by October 15, 2015, any training on responsibilities related to official languages for:

  • new managers with sub-delegated staffing authority,
  • human resources specialists who advise managers, and
  • public servants at the beginning of their career.

Follow-up in progress

No response from the government to date

Although consultations seem to be under way toward implementing this recommendation, in March 2016, a follow-up message on the subject was sent to TBS and no response has been received to date.

2014–2015 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration implement all of the following recommendations by December 31, 2015:

  1. Rely principally on Francophone organizations as providers of services and support to French-speaking newcomers in the context of any calls for proposals.
  2. Develop a strategy and pre-departure tools in French for prospective French-speaking immigrants wishing to settle in French-speaking communities outside Quebec.
  3. Implement a mechanism to ensure that French-speaking newcomers are systematically informed by government, before and after their arrival in Canada, about the presence of services, resources and Francophone organizations in their new region of settlement.
  4. Develop, in concert with his provincial and territorial counterparts, a substantive action plan that includes targets for Francophone immigration and a timetable for enhanced efforts aimed at better supporting one of the objectives of the Provincial Nominee Program, which is to stimulate the growth of official language communities.
  5. Develop long-term tools and incentives for Canadian employers to assist in the recruitment and selection of French-speaking and bilingual workers outside Quebec, thus allowing French-speaking communities to address past shortfalls and catch up in terms of their levels of immigration.
  6. Report on the actual or anticipated impact of the changes to Canada’s immigration system, including Express Entry, on immigration to French-speaking communities.
  7. Report on the measures he has taken to implement all of the above-mentioned recommendations.

Follow-up in progress

Implementation status has yet to be confirmed.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s response to the recommendations in the Report provides no information about the impact of the changes to the immigration system on French-speaking minority communities. Rather, it details a series of actions and/or modifications that could have a positive impact on French-speaking communities. However, this impact has not been demonstrated or supported by evidence. Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s response is encouraging, but the Office of the Commissioner would still like to see concrete measures from the Department.

2014–2015 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

  1. make the necessary modifications so that the funding process for priority research projects identified by the English-speaking communities of Quebec is flexible, transparent and responsive to their needs; and
  2. report, by May 31, 2016, on the measures taken in this regard.

Recommendation too recent for immediate follow-up; follow-up to come.

Follow-up on recommendations usually starts within two years of the annual report being tabled.

Implementation status has yet to be confirmed.

2014–2015 Recommendation 3

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration:

  1. clearly identify the measures he intends to take to enhance the vitality of the English-speaking communities of Quebec through immigration;
  2. engage with the Government of Quebec with respect to enhancing the vitality of these communities; and
  3. report on these measures by May 31, 2016.

Recommendation too recent for immediate follow-up; follow-up to come.

Follow-up on recommendations usually starts within two years of the annual report being tabled.

Implementation status has yet to be confirmed.

2015–2016 Recommendation 1

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends that, by October 31, 2016, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada commit to implementing the recommendations issued in the 2013 study Access to Justice in Both Official Languages: Improving the Bilingual Capacity of the Superior Court Judiciary.

Recommendation too recent for immediate follow-up; follow-up to come.

Follow-up on recommendations usually starts within two years of the annual report being tabled.

Implementation status has yet to be confirmed.

2015–2016 Recommendation 2

The Commissioner of Official Languages recommends:

  • that Parliament make Bill S-209 a priority so that the parliamentary committees examining it are able to conduct a diligent review; and
  • that, by March 31, 2017, the Treasury Board undertake an evaluation, in consultation with official language communities, of the effectiveness and efficiency of its policies and directives for implementing Part IV of the Official Languages Act.

Recommendation too recent for immediate follow-up; follow-up to come.

Follow-up on recommendations usually starts within two years of the annual report being tabled.

Implementation status has yet to be confirmed.

Summary

Implementation status of recommendations or parts of recommendations Number Percentage
Recommendation implemented 14 23.7%
Recommendation partially implemented 21 35.6%
Recommendation not implemented 17 28.8%
Recommendation to be implemented in the long term 0 0%
No response from the government to date 1 1.7%
Implementation status has yet to be confirmed; recommendation is too recent for immediate follow-up. 6 10.2%
Total 59 100%