2011-2016 Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act

Executive Summary

The 2011-2016 Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (OLA) confirms the Department of Justice’s commitment to act within its areas of responsibility to comply with the obligations set out in section 41.

The previous 2005-2010 Action Plan was focused on community logic. With the 2011-2016 Action Plan, the Department's action in the implementation of section 41 is based on the organizational culture of the Department of Justice.

Two significant points should be noted:

  1. Since 2005, section 41 under Part VII of the OLA provides that every federal institution, including the Department of Justice, has the duty to ensure that positive measures are taken for the implementation of the following commitments: fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society, enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities, and supporting and assisting their development.
  2. Part VII is enforceable since 2005 meaning that the obligations stated in this part of the Law can be the subject of court remedies.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THE ACTION PLAN

The Action Plan is in line with the Department of Justice’s first strategic outcome:

"A fair, relevant and accessible Canadian justice system"

The expected outcomes of the Action Plan are the following:

Direct outcome:
The Department of Justice is more familiar with the specific issues facing Canada’s Anglophone and Francophone minorities in its areas of activity.
Intermediate outcome:
The Department of Justice develops significant partnerships to act on these issues facing Canada’s Anglophone and Francophone minorities.
Final outcome:
The Department of Justice carries out its mandate more effectively with respect to Canada’s Anglophone and Francophone minorities by taking into account their needs into its policies and programs.

The exercise of the powers, duties and functions of the Attorney General of Canada as set out in section 5 of the Department of Justice Act is not covered by the Action Plan.

DEPARTMENTAL POLICY STATEMENT

The implementation of section 41 is not optional as it arises from a legislative provision contained in a quasi constitutional law. The adoption of a departmental policy lies within this context.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

The Action Plan has three strategic objectives:

POSITIVE MEASURES IN THE DEPARTMENT’S AREAS OF ACTIVITY

The Action Plan deals with the development of positive measures in a number of program activities found under the first strategic outcome of the (PAA).

Some positive measures are “process” measures, that is:

  • awareness and/or information initiatives;
  • research tools and approaches such as case studies, environmental scans, integrated approaches to information gathering and differentiated analysis;
  • consultation tools and approaches such as the use of collaborative spaces and the creation of round tables or working groups;
  • partnerships that build relationships between Anglophone and Francophone stakeholders with respect to justice issues.

These positive “process” measures must lead to the implementation of positive “results” measures in the Department's program activities. In other words:

  • projects that integrate the “section 41” aspects into the questions studied and the initiatives proposed;
  • adapted or targeted measures in a number of contribution agreements;
  • modified performance indicators in the performance management frameworks of the Department's programs at the time of their renewal;
  • taking into consideration knowledge in the field of justice in official languages for the development and implementation of policies and programs.

COORDINATION

Coordination of the implementation of the Action Plan is handled by the Justice in Official Languages Team and the Departmental Network of Coordinators for the Implementation of Section 41.

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