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


The Action Plan deals with the duty imposed on every federal institution, including the Department of Justice, to take positive measures for the implementation of the federal government commitments under subsection 41(1). It identifies positive measures which go beyond the mere respect of Part IV of the OLA (Communications with and Services to the Public).

Positive process and results measures

The Department will act proactively and will identify positive measures in a number of its program activities, included under its first strategic result in the Program Activity Architecture (PAA). Some positive measures will be “process” measures, i.e. research or consultation activities. They must lead to the identification of positive “results” measures in the Department’s program activities.

6.1. Entrenchment: Justice in official languages

The Department of Justice will continue its work in promoting awareness of justice in official languages within the Department and with numerous stakeholders. The positive measures in this strategic objective relate to various elements of the Department’s organizational culture, which values justice in official languages: formal and informal communications, proactive commitment and sustained efforts of the Executive Committee and senior management, integration of value statements in public events, etc. As an example, the Department will include a section 41 component in the celebrations of the annual Linguistic Duality Day.

6.2. Integration: Increasing knowledge

A series of initiatives is proposed to develop knowledge about justice in official languages. The complexity of the tools varies, as does the time required to implement them. To increase knowledge about justice in official languages, the Action Plan proposes a range of positive measures. They include:

The Department of Justice will identify stakeholders in Canadian society and within the Anglophone and Francophone minority communities in Canada that are affected by the issue under study and help them build their capacity to initiate reflective thinking. The Department and stakeholders will thereby develop a better understanding of the specific dynamics of Canada's Anglophone and Francophone minority communities in relation to various specific justice issues.

6.2.1. Case studies

Case studies will explore issues relevant to justice in official languages and their impact in areas where the Department has little or no knowledge. Policy and program directorates can thus better define their commitments in justice in official languages.

6.2.2. Integrated approaches: Information gathering and differentiated analysis

Officials responsible for programs and policies order or perform a great number of analytical projects. A “justice in official languages lens” or a differentiated analysis approach to “official languages minorities” could be integrated into the mandates, including, for example, oversampling of official languages minorities in research and surveys, the analysis of the impact of the Department’s instruments of choice on official languages minorities and the exploration of new issues.

It should be noted that an “official languages lens” is included in the Common Policy Considerations Reference Chart for the preparation of documents requiring Cabinet or Treasury Board approval.

6.2.3. Environmental scans by area of activity

The Department will order a series of environmental scans based on the specific consultation topic involved. The objective will always be to identify issues specific to Canada’s Anglophone and Francophone minority communities or to justice in official languages in one of the Department’s chosen areas of activity.

The environmental scans will be in line with Department and government priorities such as criminal justice for young offenders or politics and programs for victims of crime.

6.3. Convergence: Mobilizing the justice in official languages stakeholders

Federal, provincial, territorial and community stakeholders will be consulted and mobilized through various formal and informal processes. The Department has modified the committees and sub-committees established as a part of the 2005-2010 Action Plan and, is implementing mechanisms to mobilize significant partnerships.

6.3.1. Collaborative spaces

Using existing collaborative spaces for consultations with the community will help specifically target content experts within the community, experts in the Department, as well as other public stakeholders in horizontal initiatives. This involves going to where the main parties interested in a given issue are located (for example, by identifying networks and natural areas of collaboration).

6.3.2. Advisory Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

A single advisory committee on access to justice in both official languages is being created. The Committee will consist of the members of the former Advisory Sub-Committee on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages (universities, jurilinguistic centres, associations of French-speaking jurists, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada, the Quebec Community Groups Network) as well as first-line community organizations and other parties involved in justice issues, based on the Department’s organizational logic.

6.3.3. Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages

This group is co-chaired by the Department of Justice and a province and, it benefits from the participation of every province and territory. Its mandate is focused on issues related to the implementation of the language provisions in the Criminal Code. Furthermore, the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee is an existing collaborative space with the provinces which can be used by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group.

6.3.4. Specialized interdepartmental network (Justice and Security Network)

The Network of Stakeholders Working in the Field of Justice and Security (Justice and Security Network) is an example of a partnership between several federal institutions about specific issues. The Justice in Official Languages Team will participate in new networks that could be created in other areas of activity of the Department of Justice, where applicable.

6.4. Positive measures by program sub-activity

Over the next five years, the Department, with the Justice in Official Languages Team’s support, will implement positive measures specific to a number of its areas of activity. Positive measures will be integrated into program activities and organized around the three strategic objectives.

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

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

6.5. Positive measures for certain horizontal departmental functions

The Action Plan is based on the PAA. Although certain department’s horizontal functions such as research and statistics and intergovernmental relations are not a direct part of PAA, these teams are called upon by the commitments of the Action Plan. The Justice in Official Languages Team will work with the sectors and divisions to develop specific positive measures.

Examples of positive measures