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ARCHIVED - RPP 2006-2007
Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

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Commissioner's Message

Dyane AdamI am pleased to present to Parliament the Report on Plans and Priorities for 2006-2007 for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL). This report presents an overview of our strategic priorities and objectives, our approach, our expected results and our spending estimates for the fiscal year 2006-2007.

As Commissioner of Official Languages and officer of Parliament, it is my duty to take all necessary measures to ensure both recognition of the equal status of our two official languages and compliance with the spirit and the letter of the Official Languages Act. It is also my duty to work at ensuring compliance with legislative intent regarding administration of the affairs of federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act, including activities concerned with the advancement of English and French in Canadian society.

I am beginning the last year of my mandate with the firm conviction that the Government of Canada will be fully engaged in taking measures to enhance the vitality of Anglophone and Francophone communities and to support their development as well as promoting the recognition and full use of English and French throughout Canadian society. These measures will ensure that the obligations under the Act are fully met and will give linguistic duality its place as one of the most important fundamental values in Canadian society. The Act to Amend the Official Languages Act (promotion of English and French), effective November 2005, has clarified any ambiguity with respect to the enforceability of Part VII of the Act. These changes to the Act are a historic step in our pursuit of equality for English and French in Canadian society. The development of official language communities and the promotion of linguistic duality have long been the weak link in the Official Languages Act. From here on, all federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act will have to take positive measures in order to meet those objectives.

Midway through the fiscal year, I will be submitting to my successor the work plan, which I intend to follow with my staff. This plan will consist of, among other initiatives, the close monitoring of the Government of Canada's efforts in implementing its Action Plan for Official Languages.

I will also be reminding the Government of Canada of the importance of initiating a serious assessment of the results achieved by the official languages policy and to bring up to date its practices to meet the requirements of services to the public and to better respond to the changing needs of our society. 

To encourage action by government, I intend to continue my reflection on issues that are at the heart of linguistic duality in Canada, such as: the legal framework for official languages; mechanisms for governance between the Government of Canada and communities; different factors and indicators relating to the vitality and development of official language communities; and the links between linguistic duality and diversity in the Canadian context.

During 2006-2007, OCOL will continue the implementation of its strategic plan to ensure that: federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act respect the equality of English and French; the vitality of official language minority communities in Canada is enhanced in sectors affecting the communities' development; the equality of English and French is recognized and fostered as a value in an increasingly diverse Canadian society; OCOL is an exemplary workplace and maintains an efficient and effective management.

I cordially invite you to read this report where you will find my commitments and those of my staff, along with our determination to protect and promote our two official languages, English and French, across Canada.

                                                                                                            Dyane Adam

Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) for the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports.

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the TBS guidance;
  • It is based on the organization's approved accountability structure as reflected in its MRRS;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information;
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved planned spending numbers from the Treasury Board Secretariat in the RPP.

Toby Fyfe
Assistant Commissioner
Corporate Services Branch

Summary Information

Reason for Existence – As an officer of Parliament and agent of change, the Commissioner has a mandate to promote the Official Languages Act and oversee its full implementation, protect the language rights of Canadians and promote linguistic duality and bilingualism in Canada.

The Commissioner works at ensuring that the three key objectives of the Act are achieved and takes all necessary measures in that regard. More specifically, the objectives of the Act are to ensure:

  • The equality of English and French in Parliament, within the Government of Canada, the federal administration and institutions subject to the Act;
  • The development and vitality of official language minority communities in Canada; and
  • The equal status of English and French in Canadian society.

These three objectives are reflected in the first three of our four strategic priorities.

In pursuing these three objectives and the corresponding priorities, the Commissioner plays the following six roles:

  1. Ombudsman role– The Commissioner receives and reviews complaints and, if required, investigates and makes necessary recommendations. In this role, she also conducts investigations on her own initiative, as she deems advisable.
  2. Auditing role –The Commissioner plays a proactive role by conducting audits to measure compliance of federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act and proposes recommendations relating to the existing management framework within organizations.
  3. Liaison role – With support from the regional offices and liaison officers, the Commissioner works with federal institutions and other organizations, various levels of government and official language minority communities throughout the country. Through that interchange, she gains a better understanding of the needs and concerns of linguistic communities, makes relevant recommendations and intervenes judiciously in major official language issues.
  4. Monitoring role –The Commissioner acts preventively by intervening at the stage where laws, regulations and policies are developed so as to ensure that language rights remain a primary concern of leaders.
  5. Promotion and education role– The Commissioner heightens Canadians' awareness of the benefits of linguistic duality, works together with community organizations, takes appropriate action to have organizations subject to the Act give official languages and linguistic communities the attention they deserve, and contributes toward the development and enhancement of the vitality of official language minority communities. This role consists of conducting research, studies and public awareness activities. She delivers speeches and participates in conferences and workshops to inform all Canadians of the status and importance of the official languages.
  6. Court intervention role– The Commissioner aids in advancing Canadians' language rights by seeking leave to intervene, when appropriate, in adjudicative proceedings relating to the status or use of English or French and to ensure that linguistic rights are respected.

The chart below illustrates the interaction between the Commissioner's six roles as an agent of change with her four main groups of stakeholders: Parliamentarians, federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act, official language minority communities and the Canadian public.

Commissioner's roles as an agent of change

Commissioner's roles as an agent of change

OCOL supports the Commissioner in her duties as an officer of Parliament. More specifically, OCOL:

  • Works at ensuring that federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act administer their affairs according to the spirit and the letter of the Act by reviewing their priorities in matters of official languages, measuring their results and working with them to achieve those results;
  • Receives and investigates complaints;
  • Conducts audits, evaluations, studies, research and analysis to gain a better understanding of changes in the status and use of English and French in Canada;
  • Responds to requests for information and other communications from the public;
  • Monitors the advancement of English and French within the federal administration and Canadian society;
  • Contributes to the development and vitality of official language minority communities.

OCOL uses the financial and human resources at its disposal (as reflected below) to achieve its mandate:

Financial Resources ($ thousands)

2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
19,129 19,180 19,180

Human Resources (Full-time equivalents [FTEs])

2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009
164 164 164


Operating environment

The overall planning framework for OCOL reflects the Commissioner's independence from the government. As an officer of Parliament, the Commissioner can exercise her ombudsman and auditing roles to urge the compliance of organizations subject to the Act. The Commissioner increasingly acts as an agent of change, attempting to influence other federal organizations, as well as other levels of government, to take actions that respect and advance the requirements of the Act.

The purpose of the Act – equal status for the two official languages and equality of rights and privileges regarding their use within federal institutions, as well as the recognition and vitality of  linguistic duality in Canada – can be achieved only through actions undertaken and carried through by federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act. This is why OCOL is constantly seeking effective, innovative methods to encourage decision makers to achieve these results on behalf of Canadians.

OCOL works closely with these organizations so that they gain a better understanding of the importance of linguistic duality. By encouraging federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act to serve Canadians in the official language of their choice, OCOL assists in changing the government's organizational culture and improving the quality of service.

Internal and external factors

OCOL's primary resources as an agent of change are its staff (at headquarters and in the regions), its four main groups of stakeholders (parliamentarians, federal institutions and other organizations subject to the Act, official language minority communities and the Canadian public), and the relationships established in its day-to-day activities. Resources are devoted to ensuring that OCOL staff members are appropriately tooled to carry out the organization's mandate while serving the Canadian public.

OCOL relies on the actions of its many stakeholders. In this respect, OCOL's approach must be flexible, without losing its focus, in order to take into account, and act upon, shifts in the political, social and economic environment.

Like other federal institutions, OCOL espouses modern management principles and practices and continues to take measures to become a learning organization. More specifically, OCOL's plans and priorities for 2006–2007 incorporate the main elements of the Treasury Board Secretariat Management Accountability Framework:

  • Thinking about citizens first;
  • Applying a rigorous policy analysis;
  • Considering key risks;
  • Having the right work force;
  • Ensuring that public resources are managed with probity; and
  • Assigning clear accountabilities, with due regard to capability.

Parliamentary Committees - Follow-up

Delivery of health care services

Further to a recommendation by the Standing Committee of Official Languages of the House of Commons, OCOL will finalize, during the second quarter, a horizontal audit of the delivery of health care services to Canadians in both official languages by some federal institutions. The first phase of this audit will cover the following departments: Health Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Correctional Service Canada, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. The Department of National Defence (Canadian Forces) will be audited during the second phase of the audit.