Review on Official Languages 2012-2013

Common questions – Treasury Board Secretariat and Canadian Heritage

1. Governance of the Official Languages

Indicator 1 – Effectiveness of measures in place to ensure strong leadership in the area of official languages throughout the institution.

Measurement Criterion Measure
a) The institution has a distinct action plan or has intergrated precise and complete objectives in another planning instrument in order to ensure respect of its obligations with regard to Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA.

X Yes (copy annexe)

No (Explain)

Clarifications

Parts IV, V and VI :

The existing Official Languages action plan for 2011 – 2014 identifies 5 objectives with outputs and timeframes. It is nearing the end of its term and will be reviewed and updated over the course of the current fiscal year A bi-annual follow-up report to an internal audit, conducted in 2012, also serves to ensure that responses to recommendations resulting from the audit are carried out as planned.

Part VII:

In June 2011, the Executive Committee of the Department of Justice Canada adopted the 2011-2016 Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act.

Measurement Criterion Measure
b) Obligations arising from Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA, are on the Senior Management Committee’s agenda.

X Regularly

Sometimes

Almost never

N/A (Explain)

Clarifications

Parts IV, V, VI, VII:

The Department Steering Committee on Official Languages provides a framework for the mobilization of senior managers and allows them to debate official languages issues of interest to the Department. The Committee periodically reports to the Executive Committee using the Champion and Co-Champion as intermediaries

Measurement Criterion Measure
c) The champion (and/or co-champion), the person or persons responsible for Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA meet to discuss the topic of official languages.

Regularly

X Sometimes

Almost never

N/A (Explain)

Clarifications

Parts IV, V, VI, VII:

The Department Steering Committee on Official Languages is mandated to provide leadership in the implementation of the Department’s Official Languages Program and of its official languages policy and guidelines, by coordinating departmental activities and responsibilities as they relate to official languages. The Committee meets at least three times a year. It is comprised of the Champion and Co-Champion of Official Languages and of those responsible for the Official Languages Act, including Parts IV, V, VI and VII of the Act.

Parts IV, V and VI:

When required, the champion consults with the Regional Directors of HR and HR Professionals whose responsibilities include Parts IV, V and VI In particular, the Senior OL Advisor has strengthened and maintains a direct link with the OL Champion and also with the Co-Champion who chairs the OL Sectoral Champions Network.

Measurement Criterion Measure
d) The performance agreements of executives and managers include clear performance objectives related to Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA.

X Yes

No

N/A (Explain)

Clarifications

Parts IV, V and VI:

In the 2012-2013 performance agreement for executives and managers, under Excellence in Human Resources Management, one of the expected results was:

  • Concrete actions taken to demonstrate leadership in ensuring compliance with Acts, policies and directives relating to  bilingualism as well  as developing and encouraging initiatives to make the Department a model across government which reflects Public Service values.

Part VII:

In 2011 the Department adopted a departmental policy statement that helps the Executive Committee and staff understand the direction established by the Department for the implementation of Section 41. In concrete terms, this means that when implementing organizational strategies, programs and policies, the Department of Justice ensures that the information at the disposal of the Executive Committee and staff allows them to consider the needs and issues of English-speaking and French-speaking minority communities in Canada on the one hand, and Canada’s objectives of promoting the recognition and use of French and English on the other.

Measurement Criterion Measure
e) An official languages committee, network or working group made up of representatives from different sectors/regions of your institution holds meetings to deal horizontally with questions related to Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA.

X Regularly

Sometimes

Almost never

There is no such committee

N/A (Explain)

Clarifications

Parts IV, V, VI, VII:

The Network of Sectoral and Regional Official Languages Champions of the Department of Justice includes representatives from each portfolio, sector and division in the NCR and from the regions. The objective of the Network and its members is to support the Departmental Champion and Co-Champion in fulfilling their mandate to provide leadership within their portfolio, sector, division or region by creating a bilingual culture founded on the spirit and letter of the Official Languages Act.

2. Monitoring of Official Languages

Indicator 1 – Effectiveness of measures in place to regularly monitor the implementation of the OLA.

Measurement Criterion Measure
a) Measures are regularly taken to ensure that employees are well aware of the federal government’s obligations related to Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA.

X Yes

No  

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

Parts IV, V and VI:

The Official Languages Law Section of the Department of Justice provides, as required or on an ad-hoc basis, presentations on the implementation of sections IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act A Corporate OL Intranet website is available for all employees and offers a section on OL best practices, tools, templates and information concerning the official languages program, policies, directives and other aspects of the program New employees in the NCR are offered orientation sessions, which include an OL component that highlights and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the various units involved in the implementation of the OLA Updates to OL site on HR and You ensures that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined Collaboration with other units ensures that their websites provide a link to the OL site contained within HR and You (i.e. cross referencing with the sites from the Office of La Francophonie, Justice in OL and Legal Dualism and the OL Law Section) and that the sites reflect the roles as outlined in the new OL Framework.

In 2012, all managers were required to deliver a presentation regarding the Department’s Internal OL Policy Suite. In addition, a number of HR Professionals, as well as the Champion, participated in the OL Forum in March 2013, which included training on the TBS OL policy suite. Employees also participated in the Linguistic Duality Day celebrations in September 2012 where general information on OL was provided.

Part VII:

The team from the Department’s Center of Expertise – Access to Justice in Official Languages offers presentations, upon request and in a punctual manner, on the application of the implementation of Section 41 in the various regions and program and policy sectors.

In addition, the Department of Justice publishes an electronic newsletter on the activities and initiatives originating both from Justice Canada and from its partners working to improve justice services in both official languages. Published three times a year and distributed to more than 660 subscribers, the newsletter features various access to justice issues and highlights the inspiring practices that are pushing this issue forward in every province and territory.

Measurement Criterion Measure
b) Mechanisms are in place to regularly monitor the implementation of parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA and to inform the deputy head of the results.

X Yes

No 

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

Parts IV, V and VI:

At present there are mechanisms in place to monitor the implementation of Parts IV, V and VI In the current fiscal year, during the review, update and revision of the 2011-2014 OL Action Plan, monitoring mechanisms will be looked with a view to improving the monitoring function.

Part VII:

The Centre of Expertise – Access to Justice in Official Languages has set up an ongoing data collection system generated by the SharePoint Intranet tool. It is maintained by the Center of Expertise’s team and by the members of the Departmental Network of Coordinators for the Implementation of Section 41. The data collected is used to generate various reports, including the Annual Review on the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act.

The Department of Justice modified its Program Activity Alignment in 2012. Section 41 has now been integrated into the Department’s organizational structure, which facilitates better reporting on its implementation and allows it to be better reflected in the Department’s annual performance reviews.

Measurement Criterion Measure
c) Activities are carried out to regularly measure the availability and quality of the services offered in both official languages (Part IV).

X Yes

No

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

As stated in 2b) above, there is monitoring activity that looks at the relevant Parts of the OLA Improved mechanisms will be developed, evaluated, and implemented in the forthcoming OL Action Plan.

Measurement Criterion Measure
d) Activities are carried out to periodically measure whether employees (in regions designated as bilingual for language-of-work purposes) can use their language of choice in the workplace (Part V).

X Yes

No

N/A (Explain)

Clarifications

Monitoring is mainly based on the annual PSES results received for the Department. Results are analysed and a PSES Action Plan is developed and shared with management and employees.

Measurement Criterion Measure
e) Mechanisms are in place to ensure that the institution remains systematically informed of official language minority communities’priorities (Part VII).

X Yes 

No 

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

The Office of Francophonie organizes a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages each year. The Committee is comprised of associations of French-speaking jurists; the four jurilinguistic centres; national organizations representing language communities, including the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA) and the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN); and some federal government representatives

In addition, the members of the Departmental Network of Coordinators for the Implementation of Section 41 and the members of the Justice in Official Languages team continue to build lasting ties with communities by attending their annual general meetings and other meetings. The Department bolsters its commitment in the regions by recognizing the dynamic presence of official language minority communities, especially through active participation in community events by the members of the Departmental Network of Coordinators for the Implementation of Section 41, and through the support it provides to these activities in the regions.

Measurement Criterion Measure
f) Mechanisms are in place to determine and documents the impact of the institution’s decisions on the implementation of Parts IV, V, VI and VII (section 41) of the OLA (such as adopting or reviewing a policy, creating and abolishing a program, or establishing or eliminating a service point).

X Yes 

No 

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

Part IV, V, VI, VII:

The Department of Justice is equipped with the Common Strategic Considerations Reference Table. One of these common strategic considerations is “Official Languages”

The Common Strategic Considerations Reference Table is a tool to help Department officials examine a variety of key factors that can impact policies and programs.

This tool helps Department policy officials develop policies and programs by facilitating their consideration of  common factors  for the preparation of Memorandums to Cabinet and Treasury Board submissions.

Parts IV, V, VI :

In 2012 the Department’s OL Policy was reviewed and aligned with the new TBSOL Policy Suite. The revised policy and directives were updated, posted on the OL Intranet Web Site and communicated to all employees by means of an article in the internal electronic bulletin entitled JustInfo In advance of this, the Department’s governance structure, e.g. Executive Committee, informs the senior cadre of such modifications and the impact such changes will have.

Part VII:

In 2011, the Department adopted a Departmental Policy Statement on the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act. The statement concentrates on three steps:

  1. Identify the policies and programs that have an impact on English and French minority communities at the initial elaboration stage or upon their renewal;
  2. Consider the needs of these communities with a view to integrating them in these policies and programs;
  3. Document the process followed to consider and integrate the needs.
Measurement Criterion Measure
g) Audit or evaluation activities are undertaken, either by the internal audit unit or by other units, to evaluate to what extent official languages obligations are implemented.

X Yes 

No 

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

Parts IV, V and VI :

An internal OL Audit was conducted in 2011 The overall objective of the audit was to provide assurance that the management framework in place to govern the activities of the official languages group in the Corporate Staffing, Official Languages and Recognition Unit is effective and that the Department is complying with the requirements of the Official Languages Act. Only three recommendations were identified. As of March 31, 2013, two of the three recommendations were fully implemented.

Part VII:

In order to assess the progress made under the 2011-2016 Departmental Action Plan for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act, the Department will undertake a mid-term review in 2013-2014 and a summative evaluation in 2015-2016.

Measurement Criterion Measure
h) When the institution’s monitoring activities or mechanisms show shortcomings or deficiencies steps are taken and documented to improve/rectify the situation with due diligence.

X Yes 

No 

N/A (Explain) 

Clarifications

Parts IV, V and VI :

A final report was produced based on the OL Internal Audit report findings. Three recommendations were identified and a management response and action plan with timelines were established and implemented in order to address the issues at hand. Follow-up reports are submitted to senior management and Internal Audit The report narrates the progress made on each individual recommendation and a rating that denotes for example, substantial implementation or full implementation must be shown Reports are submitted at regular intervals until all recommendations have been fully implemented. As of March 31, 2013, two of the three recommendations were fully implemented.

Part VII:

In 2012, the Department of Justice conducted an evaluation of the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Initiative. The Department meets the recommendations issued in the evaluation report by offering concrete actions and commitments.

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