Departmental Action Plan for Official Languages 2017-2022

7. Action Plan activities

The activities described in the subsections below are related to the mission, vision and services of the Department of Justice. They provide tangible, long-term benefits for Canadians. However, the Department reserves the right to modify activities to ensure sound stewardship and resource optimization.

7.1 Official Languages Program management – Leadership

The Official Languages Champion supports the Deputy Minister in achieving the Department’s official languages vision and provides leadership within the Department. The Champion’s role is to foster a bilingual culture based not only on rights and obligations but also on values that enrich the Department. The Champion chairs and supports the Departmental Network of Sectoral and Regional Official Languages Champions and chairs the Department’s Official Languages Steering Committee (see Appendix B).

Office of primary interest
HRB and OLAD, under the leadership of the Official Languages Champion.
Consideration
Senior management provides leadership on official languages within the Department of Justice.
Objective 1
Continue to provide leadership in the administration of official languages programs and sub-programs within the Department.
Table 7.1
Expected Outcomes Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
The Champion provides strong leadership and reports on the application of the OLA within the Department Provide senior management with status updates on implementation of the Departmental Action Plan for Official Languages. Champion Annually
Chair meetings of the Departmental Network of Sectoral and Regional Official Languages Champions. Champion 3 times a year
Chair meetings of the Departmental Official Languages Steering Committee. Champion 3 times a year
Attend the Conference of Official Languages Champions. (See the Osez ! Dare! website link in the References section.) Champion 3 times a year
Attend the meetings of the Council of the Network of Official Languages Champions. (See the Osez ! Dare! website link in the References section.)

Champion / OLAD (Director and General Counsel

3 times a year
Encourage all sectors to help implement the Action Plan, to take its requirements into account while developing sectoral business plans, and to support the offices of primary responsibility in preparing the departmental Annual Review on Official Languages. Champion / All sectors / Champions Network Annually
Update the departmental Official Languages Policy. DGRH / Champions Network 2018-2019

7.2 OLA – Part III: Administration of Justice

Office of Primary Interest
ADAG, NLS
Consideration
English and French are the official languages of the federal courts, and representatives of the Attorney General of Canada must respect the right of others to use either language in verbal and written pleadings and to use the official language chosen by the other parties.
Objective 2
Continue to ensure compliance with Part III of the OLA relating to the administration of justice.
Table 7.2
Expected Outcomes Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
Pleadings and proceedings of representatives of the Attorney General of Canada (AGC) in civil litigation in federal courts are in the official language chosen by the other partiesTable note i Assign litigation files to litigators able to speak, write and understand the official language chosen by the other parties in civil litigation in federal courts. ADAG / NLS Ongoing
Remind litigators once a year about their obligation to respect the official language chosen by other parties in pleadings and proceedings. ADAG / NLS Annually
Language rights under Part III of the OLA in the context of civil litigation in federal courts are known by the representatives of the AGC Send an annual reminder to representatives of the AGC with respect to language rights of litigants and witnesses before federal courts, including the right to interpretation services, the right to a judge who understands the official language of the parties without the assistance of an interpreter, and the availability of judgments in both official languages. ADAG / NLS Annually
The bilingual pre-printed portion of any form employed in proceedings before a federal court and required to be served by a federal institution on any other party is used; a translation of its contents is prepared if a request is made by another party Send an annual reminder to representatives of the AGC stating that the practice is to serve the judicial proceedings in the official language of choice of other parties (pre-printed form and content). When the official language of choice is unknown, representatives of the AGC will use a bilingual pre-printed form and translate the content of the proceeding if requested by the other party. ADAG / NLS Ongoing
The Official Languages Directorate develops and coordinates the AGC’s position in all language rights cases in close collaboration with representatives of the AGC and client departments legal services units Ensure that representatives of the AGC involve the OLAD in all litigation involving languages rights and on all questions pertaining to these rights.

ADAG / NLS

OLAD, Law Team

Ongoing
Table note i

See Section 7.7, “Part VII,” regarding proceedings before provincial and territorial courts.

Return to table note i referrer

7.3 OLA – Part IV: Communications with and services to the public

Office of primary interest
HRB
Consideration
Any member of the public in Canada has the right to communicate with the Department's offices (including the regional offices, departmental legal services units, offices located in the National Capital Region, and Headquarters) and receive services in the official language of their choice.
Objective 3
Continue to provide exemplary service to the public.
Table 7.3
Expected Outcomes Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
Members of the public receive services and communications in the official language of their choice Continue to display the Department’s website in English and French simultaneously and ensure that the content in both languages is of equal quality. Communications Ongoing
Ensure that employees working in reception at departmental offices offer service in both official languages (i.e. an active bilingual invitation such as “Bonjour/Hello”) when dealing directly with the public in person or on the telephone. Managers (NCR, regional offices and Headquarters) Ongoing
Continue to ensure that the Department’s communications with and services to the public are always available in both official languages of equal quality. Managers (NCR, regional offices and Headquarters) Ongoing
Promote the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages’ new guide, Active offer: A culture of respect, a culture of excellence, and any other tools available to help the Department meet its Part IV obligations. Champion’s Network 2017-2018 New activity
Promote the use of the following statement (as a best practice) in the signature blocks of employees in bilingual positions: “Please do not hesitate to reply in the official language of your choice. / N’hésitez pas à répondre dans la langue officielle de votre choix. HRB Annually
Promote the use of bilingual templates for email and voicemail. HRB Biannually
Ensure the accuracy of the list of offices providing services to the public. HRB Annually

7.4 OLA – Part V: Language of work

Office of primary interest
HRB
Consideration
Employees of federal institutions have the right to use either official language at work.
Objective 4
At offices in regions designated bilingual for language-of-work purposes (New Brunswick, NCR, Eastern Townships, Gaspésie, Outaouais, North East Ontario), continue to maintain a departmental culture that promotes the use of both official languages and a work environment where employees feel comfortable using the official language of their choice.
Objective 5
Continue to ensure that employees from other federal institutions can use the official language of their choice when receiving services from the Department of Justice.
Objective 6
Continue to offer second language training and skills retention opportunities to employees of the Department.
Table 7.4
Expected Outcomes Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
Leaders maintain a work environment conducive to the effective use of both official languages Implement mandatory language requirements of CBC for certain supervisory EX and EX minus 1 equivalent positions as per new requirements established in the Directive on the Language Requirements of Positions and the Staffing of Bilingual Positions so that employees in bilingual regions are adequately supervised in the official language of their choice (for immediate application to vacancies and application to positions when they become vacant). Managers / HRB 2017-2022
Ensure that managers and supervisors in bilingual positions working in bilingual regions supervise their employees in the official language of each employee’s choice. Managers Ongoing
Issue messages, via senior management, to remind managers about their obligation to maintain a bilingual work environment where employees feel free to use the official language of their choice (bilingual regions). Champion / Senior Management Biannually
Encourage employees to use the official language of their choice during meetings and when drafting documents (bilingual regions). Managers Ongoing
Organize and promote Linguistic Duality Day (September). HRB / OLAD / Champion/ Regions Annually
Continue to acknowledge excellence in the promotion of linguistic duality (OL Champions Award) during the annual celebration of Linguistic Duality Day. Champion Annually
The Department’s employees know their language-of-work rights and obligations and are incited to exercise them Offer presentations or information sessions to employees and managers regarding their language-of-work rights and obligations. HRB, in consultation with OLAD On request
Publish internal bulletins in JustInfo to inform employees and managers of their language-of-work rights and obligations. HRB Ongoing
Promote tools and best practices to encourage the use of both official languages in the workplace. Develop new tools as needed. HRB Ongoing
Promote the use of bilingual templates for email and voicemail. HRB Biannually
Update the official languages website on JUSnet. HRB / OLAD Ongoing
Analyze the results of the Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) and report on findings to senior management. HRB / Champions 2018-2019
Prepare and implement an action plan to correct deficiencies identified by the PSES. HRB / Champions 2018-2019
Develop and implement an internal survey on language of work and report on findings to senior management. HRB 2019-2020
Prepare and implement an action plan to correct deficiencies identified by the internal survey. HRB 2019-2020
Employees of federal institutions receive central services in the official language of their choice and the Department’s employees have the tools they need to fulfill their obligations Ensure that employees communicate with other departments located in bilingual regions in both official languages or in the official language chosen by the client or stakeholder and that legal opinions or advice are provided in the official language of the client’s choice. Managers Ongoing
Ensure that training and regularly and widely used work instruments are available to employees in both official languages (bilingual regions). Managers Ongoing
Ensure that employees in bilingual or “either/or” positions located in bilingual regions are supervised in the official language of their choice. Managers Ongoing
Second-language training and skills retention opportunities are offered to the Department’s employees Invest in the development and maintenance of employees’ second language skills.

Managers Ongoing
Give employees the option of including workshops from the NCR Non-Statutory Language Training Program in their Public Service Performance Management Agreements in addition to participating in other less formal, non-classroom training activities, as follows: HRB and Managers Quarterly
preliminary evaluations to confirm retention of a language level; HRB Ongoing
semi-annual meetings with participants in the language training and skills retention program (follow-up, encouragement, tools, feedback, overviews, etc.); and HRB Twice a year
online language training courses and tools offered by the Canada School of Public Service and the second-language tools offered by the Public Service Commission. HRB Ongoing
Maintain and promote the Linguistic Skills Development Kit to guide employees and their managers in searching new linguistic training and learning tools. HRB Ongoing
Offer employees informal language evaluations during and after language training to measure progress in their second language. HRB Ongoing
Ensure that efforts made by employees to maintain their second language after receiving formal training are considered in their performance agreements. Managers Ongoing
Conduct a review of the language training program to ensure that the current provision of non-statutory language training meets the needs of employees. This program review will also ensure that employees in regions have access to non-statutory language training, and will include recommendations for improvement to senior management. HRB 2017-2018
Explore new avenues for second-language training and retention. HRB 2017-2018
Update the Language Training Directive (following the review of the Program). HRB To be determined

7.5 OLA – Part VI: Participation of English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians

Office of primary interest
HRB
Consideration
English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians should have equal opportunities to obtain employment and advancement within the Department, and the composition of the work force shall reflect equal representation of both official language communities as in the general population.
Objective 7
Continue to provide English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians with equal opportunities for employment and advancement and work towards an equitable participation of both language groups within the Department.
Table 7.5
Expected Outcome Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
The Department provides equal opportunities for employment and advancement to English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians and the composition of its offices is representative of the English-speaking and French-speaking populations Ensure that the composition of the Department’s work force tends to reflect the presence of both the official language communities of Canada, taking into account the characteristics of its individual context, including its mandate, the public it serves, and the location of its facilities. HRB Annually
Take action to correct any deficiencies that are identified Managers/HRB As needed

7.6 OLA – Part XI – Section 91: Staffing and language requirements of positions

Office of primary interest
HRB
Consideration
The language requirements of positions to be staffed are established objectively based on the duties to be performed under Parts IV and V of the OLA.
Objective 8
Ensure that the language requirements of positions to be staffed are established objectively based on the duties to be performed under Parts IV and V of the OLA.
Table 7.6
Expected Outcome Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
The language requirements of the Department’s positions are established consistently and objectively Identify language requirements of all positions in the Department in accordance with the Directive on Language Requirements of Positions and the Staffing of Bilingual Positions. Managers Ongoing
Monitor the implementation of the Directive on Language Requirements of Positions and Staffing of Bilingual Positions. HRB Bi-annually
Revise the Directive on Language Requirements of Positions and Staffing of Bilingual Positions. HRB 2017-2018

7.7 OLA – Part VII – Promotion of English and French (implementation of section 41)

Office of primary interest
Official Languages Directorate (OLAD)
Remarks

The implementation of section 41 is mandatory for all federal institutions (under subsection 41(2) of the OLA). Pursuant to subsection 77(1) of the OLA, Part VII can be the object of federal court remedies in cases of non-compliance with Part VII by federal institutions (see also section 2. “Context”).

As part of the Departmental Action Plan for Official Languages, the Department will continue to incorporate section 41 into its organizational culture. To that end, the OLAD, in cooperation with members of Network 41 (see section 4. “Official languages governance – Departmental roles and responsibilities” and Appendix B), will direct its efforts toward informing the entire Department about the specific issues pertaining to the development of official-language minority communities as well as the issues involved in promoting English and French in Canadian society. The regional program and policy coordinators who are members of Network 41 will also help maintain ties between the Department and OLMCs as part of their usual responsibilities.

The Department of Justice will continue to work at strengthening its leadership among stakeholders from legal and community organizations. The Department will periodically analyze how the context is likely to influence its policies and programs in order to take positive measures to implement section 41. To that end, the Department will regularly hold consultation sessions with various stakeholders, particularly OLMCs, and will document the process followed to take into account OLMC needs and to incorporate these needs, as fully as possible, into its policies and programs, according to government's priorities.

Consideration
The Department takes positive measures to implement the government’s commitment to enhancing the vitality of English and French linguistic minority communities and supporting and assisting their development and fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.
Objective 9

Ensure implementation of section 41 of the OLA by:

  • creating awareness among Justice employees of their obligations under section 41;
  • integrating section 41 into the Department’s organizational culture; and
  • collaborating and consulting with partners, particularly OLMCs, as well as other federal institutions and other levels of government, in matters pertaining to the development and application of positive measures.
Table 7.7
Expected Outcomes Activities Lead Timeline/Progress
Employees of the Department of Justice Canada are aware of the obligations under section 41 of the OLA, namely the obligation to take positive measures to implement the Government of Canada’s commitment to the development and vitality of official-language minority communities and the promotion of English and French in Canadian society Regularly publicize the Department’s official languages obligations. OLAD Ongoing
Disseminate the Departmental Action Plan for Official Languages through various means of communication (web pages, Justice in Official Languages newsletter, official communications, social media, etc.). OLAD / Communications Once this Action Plan is adopted
Provide training and support to Department employees on issues pertaining to the implementation of section 41: OLAD / Network 41 Ongoing
Offer information sessions, annually or on request, to program and policy employees, including disseminating key policy directions from agencies responsible for OLA implementation (PCH, TBS, etc.). OLAD / Network 41 Annually or on request
Make the Department of Justice Canada’s Annual Review on Official Languages available to employees and the general public, including OLMCs (online posting). OLAD / Communications Annually
Regularly update Department of Justice Canada web pages to ensure that employees and members of OLMCs are aware of the Department’s key OL priorities and initiatives. OLAD / Communications Ongoing

Departmental Network of Coordinators Responsible for the Implementation of Section 41 of the OLA

Periodically review the network’s operation in order to maximize its effectiveness:

  • Develop an empirical knowledge base on OLMCs: data screening and update of the SharePoint platform to facilitate the transition to the new digital workspace in order to contribute to innovation initiatives.
  • Develop a Reference Guide for members of Network 41.
  • Conduct, upon request, presentations to other sectors of the Department about obligations related to Part VII of the OLA.
OLAD 2017-2022

Support to promote the development and to enhance the vitality of Official Language Minority Communities:

  • Integrate government priorities into the management of the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund (e.g. those that could be set out in the federal Action Plan for Official Languages – 2018-2023).
  • Update the study entitled "Environmental Scan: Access to Justice in Both Official Languages (2003)."
OLAD 2018-2022

Promotion of English and French in Canadian society

Publish the Annotated Language Laws of Canada: Constitutional, Federal, Provincial and Territorial Laws:

  • Launch the book in the context of Canada 150.
  • Progressively download on CanLII associated laws and case law (over 1000 laws and 1000 judgments).
  • Disseminate the book via the Open Government Portal (see References section).
  • Provide annual updates and website traffic statistics.
OLAD 2017-2022

Promotion of English and French in Canadian society

Charter checklist (including language rights):

  • Disseminate on the Department of Justice Canada’s website.
  • Provide quarterly updates of the Charter checklist.
OLAD 2017-2022
Section 41 is an integral part of the Department’s organizational culture Take positive measures with OLMCs and promote English and French in Canadian society. All sectors Ongoing
When the federal Crown is a party to civil proceedings before a provincial or territorial tribunal where the use of either official language is permitted, the representatives of the Attorney General of Canada, if possible, use the official language chosen by the other party (subject to the practice of representing employees involved in a provincial court in the official language of their choice). NLS / ADAG Ongoing
Representatives of the Attorney General of Canada file the factum in both official languages in cases under appeal, when appropriate, where the public or the media have significant interest in the case. NLS / ADAG Ongoing
Manage a Department-wide Network of Coordinators for the Implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act (Network 41), made up of representatives from regional offices as well as from program and policy sectors. OLAD / Network 41 Ongoing
Network 41 holds an annual meeting and teleconferences throughout the year. OLAD / Network 41 Ongoing
Involve employees designated as "Coordinators 41" in Network 41 activities. Network 41 /  Policy Sector Ongoing
Ensure that the Department’s regional offices are represented within Network 41 by coordinators responsible for liaising regionally with OLMCs and other federal institutions, among other responsibilities. Network 41 / Any other sector concerned Ongoing
When analyzing funding applications under transfer payment programs, Justice employees take into consideration the impact of departmental policy actions and decisions on OLMCs. All sectors concerned Ongoing
When conducting program or expenditure reviews or audits, Justice employees take into consideration the impact of departmental decisions on OLMCs. All sectors concerned As needed
As needed, Web pages and promotional or informational materials describing transfer payment programs include a reference to section 41. OLAD / Communications Ongoing
Collaborate, organize and promote Linguistic Duality Day (September) and Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (March).

HRB / OLAD / Champion/ Regions

Annually
The Official Languages Directorate’s name appears as the Department of Justice Canada’s national coordinator for Part VII of the OLA, and this information is communicated to central agencies and OLMCs. OLAD Ongoing

Complete the implementation of the Protocol on Legal Advisory Services in Official Languages Law:

Centralize within OLAD legal advisory services that are provided directly to client departments on official languages law.

OLAD 2017-2019
The Department of Justice Canada establishes productive partnerships and consults, communicates and collaborates with its partners, namely OLMCs, other federal institutions and other levels of government, on matters pertaining to OL when developing or implementing positive measures Establish a dialogue with key stakeholders (OLMCs, post-secondary education institutions, PCH, TBS): OLAD – Advisory Committee Ongoing
Consult with OLMC national representatives and other civil society representatives on key departmental official languages initiatives to find out what their concerns are and what issues are affecting them. OLAD – Advisory Committee As needed
Organize an annual meeting in partnership with representatives of OLMCs and other civil society organizations OLAD – Advisory Committee Annually
Represent the Department of Justice at PCH conferences and meetings of section 41 national coordinators. OLAD Ongoing
Collaborate with any other federal or Canadian institution on initiatives, actions or projects pertaining to OLMCs and official languages. OLAD As needed
Date modified: