Review on Official Languages 2018-2019

Prepared by: Eddie Rutanga

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

 

Minister responsible:

The Honourable Navdeep Bains

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

 

Deputy Head:

Francis P. McGuire

President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

francis.mcguire@canada.ca / Tel.: 506-851-6128

 

Name of the person responsible for official languages (Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (OLA)):

Jean Aucoin

Director, Centre of Expertise, Human Resources

jean.aucoin@canada.ca / Tel.: 506-851-2135

 

Ginette LeBlanc

Senior Advisor of Official Languages, Employment Equity and HR Planning, Human Resources

ginette.leblanc@canada.ca / Tel.: 506-851-6508

 

Name of the national coordinator or contact person responsible for the implementation of section 41 (Part VII) of the OLA.:

Gerry Morrissey

Manager, Communities and Inclusive Growth

gerry.morrissey@canada.ca / Tel.: 506-378-1179

 

Eddie Rutanga

Program Officer, Communities and Inclusive Growth

eddie.rutanga / Tel.: 506-874-9605

General Information

Context

In accordance with section 44 of the Official Languages Act (OLA), the Minister of Canadian Heritage must submit an annual report to Parliament on matters relating to official languages under her mandate.

The Minister of Canadian Heritage must report on the implementation of Part VII of the OLA by federal institutions.

The information provided by your institution through this questionnaire will be used to evaluate your performance and to produce the 2016-2017 annual report on official languages of the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Instructions

Please return this completed document to us in both official languages no later than May 31, 2017, to: pch.portail41-gateway41.pch@canada.ca

For more information, please contact the Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability Directorate at Canadian Heritage (819-994-3577).

A copy of this document must be sent to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and to both Parliamentary Standing Committees on Official Languages. You will find their addresses below:

 

Ms. Ghislaine Saikaley

Acting Commissioner of Official Languages

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

30 Victoria Street

Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0T8

comm@clo-ocol.gc.ca

 

Ms. Christine Holke

Committee Clerk

House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages

House of Commons of Canada

131 Queen Street, 6th Floor

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

lang@parl.gc.ca

 

Mr. Kevin Pittman

Clerk

Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages

Senate of Canada

Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4

ollo@sen.parl.gc.ca

 

Federal institutions are responsible for communicating the results of their Review regarding the implementation of Part VII of the OLA to the various community stakeholders (e.g., the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (info@fcfa.ca) and the Quebec Community Groups Network (info@qcgn.ca)).

 

All federal institutions must answer all of the questions. Partners of the Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 must identify one initiative that is included in the Action Plan, and if applicable, another initiative that is not part of the Plan.

Part VII of the Act

Development of official language minority communities and promotion of English and French in Canadian society

 

Ongoing Dialogue

1. How does your institution ensure that it is aware of the priorities and needs of French-speaking communities outside Quebec and English-speaking communities within Quebec, and that it takes them into account?

Please specify:

a) methods used;

b) organizations/communities with whom you were in contact;

c) how you took the priorities and needs of these communities into account.

 

1a) ACOA stays abreast of the priorities and issues facing the Atlantic region’s Acadian and French-speaking communities through its ongoing involvement with key community stakeholders in official language minority communities (OLMCs).

This involvement ranges from providing core operational funding and direction to organizations with a regional or province-wide mandate to working with individual organizations to address more localized issues on a project-by-project basis. Ongoing networking with key Acadian and Francophone organizations, whether project-based or not, is essential to ensure an awareness of the needs and priorities of OLMCs.

The Agency’s physical presence in the Atlantic region includes its head office in Moncton, its New Brunswick (N.B.) regional office in Fredericton, its Nova Scotia (N.S.) regional office in Halifax, its Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) regional office in Charlottetown, and its Newfoundland and Labrador (N.L.) regional office in St. John’s as well as numerous satellite offices throughout the region. Some of these satellite offices are strategically located in French-speaking rural areas. ACOA representatives live and work in the OLMCs and are well aware of their needs and priorities in terms of economic development.

ACOA officials routinely work with clients to reinforce their understanding of the Agency’s obligations and to ensure that project planning and budgets reflect linguistic considerations.

In pursuing opportunities or evaluating funding applications, ACOA officials frequently consult with other official language stakeholders in undertaking a due diligence review of potential and existing projects, and keep abreast of developments within French-speaking communities. As a result, ACOA is able to identify how it can address OLMCs’ priorities and needs. These stakeholders might include federal partners, such as Canadian Heritage, and appropriate provincial and municipal governments. ACOA officials address the developmental needs of both urban and rural regions, composed of French- and English-speaking populations.

ACOA maintains a Part VII, Section 41 Regional Coordinators Committee. The committee is a forum for discussion on delivering programs and services to the OLMCs and for sharing challenges and best practices. It also serves as a mechanism to evaluate OLMC-related projects. The members of the committee report on the results of their conversations with OLMCs in their regions.

Members’ active participation in this committee helps achieve strong results under the Economic Development Initiative (EDI), in part by fostering close co-operation among the parties involved as well as an exchange of information.

Aside from its value as a best practice, the most important aspect of this committee is its impact on the delivery of services to the public.

ACOA maintains close ties with economic development stakeholders in the OLMCs through its joint Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDÉE) — ACOA committee. This committee, which normally meets twice a year, is an excellent example of groups working together to share information. It fosters ongoing dialogue with the OLMCs and creates opportunities for discussion on economic development initiatives.

In addition to the formal model of the committees, informal relationships between ACOA staff and OLMC representatives in the Atlantic region reflect the close ties between the Agency and the communities. ACOA views itself as part of the OLMCs.

b) In addition to the four Atlantic RDEEs, ACOA has been in contact with the following organizations during the last fiscal year. These prominent organizations and communities work to advance economic development in the OLMCs:

c) Projects funded through the EDI are vetted through ACOA’s Regional Coordinators Committee to ensure that they fit the program criteria and to discuss potential synergies or opportunities in other Atlantic provinces.

All organizational and community priorities and associated initiatives brought to ACOA’s attention through its programs are vetted against its policies and programs to determine eligibility and the merits of an ACOA investment. Projects or initiatives not deemed a good fit with ACOA programs are directed to other funding sources for consideration.

Tangible Support

2. Did your institution provide support for projects or initiatives that contributed to the development of official language minority communities and/or to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society? If yes please :

a) describe these projects or initiatives;

b) identify the type(s) of support (funding or other forms of support)

c) explain the impact of the project or initiative on the development of official language minority communities and/or on the promotion of English and French in Canadian society

 

1a) ACOA works to create opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada by helping businesses become more competitive, innovative and productive, working with communities to develop and diversify local economies, and championing the strengths of Atlantic Canada.

ACOA has numerous local offices throughout Atlantic Canada. It has also created partnerships with federal, provincial and municipal governments and agencies as well as with regional organizations, such as Community Business Development Corporations, to support it in the delivery of economic development services.

b) ACOA provides support through financial non-repayable contributions to OLMCs in the Atlantic region. These contributions are provided through the Agency’s various funding programs and initiatives, which are all of interest to the OLMCs. These programs and initiatives include ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP), the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Program, the Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) and the EDI. ACOA provides financial support to Acadian or Francophone clients who are located in the OLMCs or offer services or products to them. This is especially true in N.B., the only officially bilingual province in Canada, which has a significant Acadian and Francophone population.

All organizational or community priorities and associated initiatives brought to the Agency’s attention are vetted against its policies and programs to determine the eligibility and the merits of an ACOA investment. Projects or initiatives not deemed a good fit with ACOA programs are directed to other funding sources for consideration.

c) ACOA focuses its community development efforts and strategies on improving infrastructure to attract and retain investments and labour, building and maintaining partnerships, and developing skills and conducting strategic planning for the economic development of communities, regions and sectors.

ACOA develops and delivers programming that meets the unique economic development needs of rural areas in Atlantic Canada and contributes to a stronger region.

ACOA approved $36.8 million in funding to 130 community development projects that are well aligned with the economic priorities and distinct needs of the various communities.

ACOA ensures that clients located in areas where there is significant demand promote the equal status and use of English and French in Canadian society. For pan-Atlantic projects, ACOA encourages clients to provide services and promote the equal status and use of English and French. For example, depending on the nature of the project, ACOA ensures that clients:

Key Collaborations

3. Did your institution collaborate with other federal institutions or partners (municipalities, provinces, territories, private sector) as part of a program, project or other initiative intended to develop official language minority communities and/or promote English and French in Canadian society? If yes please :

a) describe each of these collaborations and partnerships;

b) indicate who your partners were;

c) identify the tangible results relative to the development of official language minority communities and/or the promotion of English and French in Canadian society.

 

ACOA collaborates with the private sector, other levels of government, other federal government departments, educational institutions, not-for-profit organizations and communities to leverage support, coordinate economic development, identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities, and react to economic challenges across the region. This requires a flexible approach based on the realities of a given community’s capacities, strengths and challenges.

The following are some examples of key collaborators and organizations with whom ACOA works in Atlantic Canada:

1a) ACOA is an active participant in the Comité atlantique sur l’immigration francophone (CAIF), a formal mechanism for collaboration among the main stakeholders in Francophone immigration in the Atlantic region. The CAIF’s five-year plan fosters partnerships and resource sharing with a view to working on issues of common concern and speaking with one voice in order to promote francophone immigration in minority communities. The CAIF promotes and raises community awareness of Francophone immigration. Thanks to its position and the visibility of its members in the national and international Francophonie, the CAIF can promote the Atlantic region as a welcoming destination for new French-speaking immigrants. It is a forum for sharing public awareness practices in the Atlantic provinces and promotes the benefits and importance of Francophone immigration for the vitality of official language minority communities.

b) CAIF members include:

c) Tangible results for the development of official language communities include the opportunity to enter into dialogue, create partnerships, share resources, work on issues of common concern and speak with one voice to encourage Francophone immigration in Atlantic Canada.

2a) In P.E.I., the principal forum for consultation with representatives of the OLMC is the Francophone Resources Development Committee (FRDC) and its standing committees on Community Economic Development and on Linguistic Vitality and Human Resources Development. The mandate of the FRDC is to facilitate the exchange of information on development strategies pertinent to the Acadian and Francophone community and to provincial and federal policies, programs and services. The committee supports the growth and development of the Acadian and Francophone community of P.E.I. by promoting the Acadian and Francophone lens or perspectives when developing or modifying programs and services. In addition to ACOA’s role on the main steering committee, the Agency is an active member of the FRDC’s standing committee on Community Economic Development. The standing committee is mandated to facilitate community economic development and entrepreneurial development within P.E.I.’s Acadian and Francophone population.

b) The FRDC is co-chaired by the vice-president of ACOA’s regional office in P.E.I. and the president of the Collège Acadie Î.‑P.‑É. As a tripartite committee, members represent the federal government (ACOA, Canadian Heritage and Service Canada), the provincial government (the Acadian and Francophone Affairs Secretariat and the Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning, including SkillsPEI), and the OLMC (RDÉE Î.-P.-É., Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É. and the Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin).

c) The work of the FRDC has led to the development of new projects and initiatives, including tourism product development in the Evangeline region, the development of a new community governance model to promote the efficient use of existing resources, and the development of a community asset map to be used as an investment attraction tool. The co-operation of the federal and provincial governments and the community has been key to the success of the FRDC’s work. The tripartite approach ensures ongoing communication between government and the community and allows government to proactively address opportunities and challenges of P.E.I.’s Francophone and Acadian communities.

Tangible Results

4. If your institution had to highlight key initiatives (at least two) that contributed to the development of official language minority communities, what would those be?

a) Please describe these initiatives.

b) What are the tangible results of these initiatives on/in the official language minority communities?

c) What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

 

1a) In N.S., ACOA approved a contribution of $100,000 to assist the Municipality of Clare with upgrades to a former schoolhouse turned into a community services hub. Significant upgrades were made to the interior and exterior of the century-old building, including landscaping and new signage.

b) The newly upgraded building houses not-for-profit organizations that are crucial to the Acadian cultural identity and to the overall safety of the community.

Tenants include :

c) This project represents a strategic investment in community infrastructure for the Municipality of Clare. The determining factor for long-term success will be the continued involvement of the municipality as a partner and landlord.

2a) In N. B., the Conseil économique du Nouveau‑Brunswick (CENB) received $844,890 from ACOA under the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) to implement a program aimed at enhancing business productivity. The CENB is a network of Francophone businesses in New Brunswick with more than 1,000 members. It represents the interests of its members at the various levels of government. Through the RDÉE NB, the CENB took on a three-year project aimed at implementing a support program for 15 Francophone businesses in the province in order to foster a culture of process improvement in their organizational strategy. This strategic initiative is intended primarily for manufacturing companies in all sectors. It involves applying productivity improvement principles while ensuring effective and sustainable knowledge transfer.

b) The main objective is to apply productivity improvement principles in collaboration with the owners, directors and employees of the participating businesses, enabling the businesses to change their daily management processes, develop tools and adopt performance improvement practices.

c) The project will enable participating businesses to have a qualified consultant take a critical look at their operations in order to identify problems and explore or find opportunities for improvement. The project is perceived as being a key step in the adoption of state-of-the-art manufacturing technologies.

3a) In P.E.I., the Coopérative d’intégration francophone de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard (CIF) initiated a pilot program to support the integration of Francophone newcomers and Francophiles by creating reference materials and providing training for business owners and not-for-profit organizations to help attract and retain Francophone and bilingual employees. The project is supported under the EDI ($60,000).

b) The project will result in the enhancement of communications and support the inclusion of newcomers into P.E.I.’s existing francophone community. In preparation for this project, the CIF compiled research and input from various community and business stakeholders to determine the needs and challenges to create a strong, more integrated Francophone community. This work also included researching best practices in other jurisdictions across Canada before creating an action plan and guide. Key stakeholders were engaged for review of the plan, and the guide was rolled out in the fall of 2018, along with two training sessions. The CIF will continue to provide support to organizations and businesses in the adoption of the plan.

c) The project aims to familiarize the business community with hiring and retaining French-speaking staff and integrating them into the community as a whole.

4a) In N.L., ACOA provided $25,000 under the EDI to RDÉE TNL toward the Bilingual Postsecondary Career and Entrepreneurship Conference, to be held in two locations for the first time. This youth-oriented conference aimed to highlight critical information on entrepreneurship, innovation and bilingual career options for Francophone and French‑immersion secondary students in N.L.

While the conference had been held in the St. John’s region for the past five years, reaching over 500 students each year, the 2018 conference was held in two locations: Torbay (on the east coast) and Stephenville (on the west coast). In total, 753 students from secondary schools across the province attended the conference, a significant increase in participation from previous years.

b) The impact is that participants gained a more comprehensive understanding of the many career possibilities in some of Canada's most innovative sectors, especially those in which entrepreneurship and bilingualism play a significant role. While this project was approved in 2018-2019, its positive impact will be felt for a number of years as students make important career decisions.

c) The key determining factor for the success of this project is the partnerships that RDÉE TNL has established with key stakeholders, including:

These collaborations and partnerships have been critical to the project’s success.

 

5. If your institution were to highlight key initiatives (at least two) that contributed to the promotion of English and French in Canadian society, what would they be? (Please do not confuse with obligations related to Parts IV and V)

a) Please describe these initiatives.

b) What are the tangible results of these initiatives in Canadian society?

c) What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

 

1a) In 2019, the sixth edition of the Congrès mondial acadien (CMA) will take place from August 10 to 24 in southeastern N.B. and P.E.I. The CMA is an international event held every five years. It brings together Acadians from Atlantic Canada and other parts of the world with the objective to build strong ties among the Acadian population. This event is of significant importance for Francophones in Canada and around the world. ACOA is contributing $1.5 million through the ICF toward the coordination, strategic marketing and programming of CMA 2019. The 2014 edition of the event generated $28 million for the local economy.

b) The objective of the event is to attract many local and international Acadians and Francophones, as well as Indigenous groups, Francophiles and potential immigrants to the event. The CMA is anticipated to be a major tourism draw for the region. One of the marketing strategies for CMA 2019 is to promote some of the region’s key tourist attractions. The marketing strategy includes significant outreach efforts to local Acadians, as well as the Acadian population in Quebec, New England, Louisiana and France. The total number of unique participants in the overall event is estimated at 125,000 people. Of these, approximately 50,000 people are expected to be tourists from Quebec, New England, Louisiana and France, and 75,000 people would be local participants (Atlantic Canada), resulting in an economic impact of approximately $40 million in the region.

c) The expected outcome of the sixth CMA is to contribute to the reinforcement of the strong ties that unite Acadian communities, to create new partnerships as a result of the event and to attract new visitors to the region. It will also be an opportunity to showcase the whole Acadian community and allow Acadians around the world to express their pride.

2a) ACOA approved a contribution of $166,962 toward the upgrading of equipment at Telile, the Isle Madame community television station. Telile is replacing its current suite of aging and failing analogue television equipment with leading-edge digital technologies – recording, production and broadcasting equipment.

b) Telile has been experiencing challenges with the outdated analogue equipment with respect to parts replacement, efficiencies, communicating with other networks, and the regularity and quality of broadcast reception. The proposed upgrades will enable Telile to continue to provide its viewers with a wide range of bilingual programming, musical concerts, health and education programming, human-interest stories, municipal council meetings and community events.

c) The determining factors for the success of this project will be the successful adoption of new technologies and associated staff training, resulting in increased organizational capacity and stabilized revenue streams (advertising, bingos, etc.) for the community television station.

3a) La Société éducative de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard Inc. (doing business as Collège de l’Île) has recognized the need to recruit beyond the local market to sustain its programs and train students for the P.E.I. labour force. The College will specifically target the development of a professionally executed recruitment program into Mexico aimed at Francophone students. This project was supported under the EDI ($22,500).

b) Recruiting and retaining international talent and developing high-demand skills is an essential and increasingly important component of a growing economy, particularly in P.E.I., which has evolved substantially in the knowledge-based sectors. Delivering the college’s programming abroad, as well as recruiting and retaining international students to the college’s P.E.I. campuses, has the potential for significant impact on the province’s trade and investment relationships with foreign countries.

c) La Société éducative de l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard Inc. will develop an in-depth analysis of the Mexico City area for student recruitment and negotiate a partnership arrangement with a suitable local institution.

4a) In N.L., ACOA provided $75,620 under the EDI to RDÉE TNL to restructure and enhance its tourism website (www.tourismetnl.ca) and to produce a new edition of the French-language tourism guide for the province.

b) The guide is available in hard copy, and a digital version is available on RDÉE TNL’s website, which serves to promote French in Canadian society. By providing French-language tourism resources that promote the province as a tourist destination to the Francophone market, the project will foster the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society. As such, the project is expected to attract more Francophone tourists and enhance their tourism experience.

c) One of the key determining factors of success is RDÉE TNL’s partnership with the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, whereby the guide is distributed free of charge through the provincial visitor information centres. This collaboration is critical to the project’s success.

 

6. What is the “key achievement” with a regional impact (progress or results in official language minority communities or for the promotion of English and French in Canadian society) that your institution would like to highlight?

 

1a) In N.B., the CENB received $63,015 from ACOA under the BDP to organize a forum for Francophone youth at the Grade 12 and post-secondary levels. The fifth forum (second pan-Atlantic forum) took place in Moncton on February 22 and 23, 2019. It included participants from all of the Atlantic provinces, as well as from Quebec (Lower St. Lawrence, Gaspé and other regions). The forum was intended for post-secondary, college and university students in all fields, all faculties and all schools.

b) This type of event is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and providing networking opportunities for young Francophones across the province. In all, 178 students from N.B., N.S., N.L. and QC participated in the event. Thirty teachers, speakers and partners participated in Éveil PME. The panel of entrepreneurs included three women and one immigrant.

c) The event was aimed at helping participants acquire new knowledge and the tools needed to start a business, develop entrepreneurial skills, exchange information and share best entrepreneurial practices, as well as promoting entrepreneurship as a key tool for rural economic development. In addition to attending conferences and participating in workshops, participants were able to visit information booths about government programs and other initiatives that could help them start a business.

2a) In N.S., ACOA awarded $1,150,986 (over a three-year period) to the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle‑Écosse (CDÉNÉ) to deliver enterprise development activities in OLMCs in rural areas. Core activities include working with current and aspiring entrepreneurs to further grow the region’s economy and promote entrepreneurship among youth. This typically involves assisting with business and marketing plans and providing general business counselling.

b) The tangible impact on Canadian society of CDÉNÉ’s efforts are twofold. Their efforts support the ongoing struggle of OLMCs in rural areas to develop and prosper, and support Acadian and Francophone communities in their ongoing struggles to combat the growing threat of assimilation.

c) The determining factors for the ongoing success of this initiative will be the continued support of governments of all levels for CDÉNÉ’s efforts as well as the further promotion of CDÉNÉ’s services to OLMCs in N.S.

3a) In P.E.I., ACOA is working with the Francophone community to enhance service by maintaining regular weekly hours in the Rural Action Centre (RAC) in the Evangeline region. One day per week and additionally as requested, a bilingual ACOA PEI staff member meets with Francophone business and community clients and groups to discuss available programs and services, and to advance projects in the region.

b) Holding hours at the RAC allows collaboration between the various government departments and organizations that have permanent and satellite offices in this location. The Agency, in collaboration with the Province of P.E.I., funds the operations of the RAC model in Wellington to serve the Francophone community.

c) As a result of this partnership and support, one of five annual investments for 2018 from the Province’s Ignition Fund – aimed at supporting start-ups in P.E.I. – has been allocated to the Francophone community, allowing entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in French. This initiative was supported under the BDP (ACOA contributed $66,000).

50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2019

7. The 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2019 is a unique opportunity for federal institutions to contribute to the development of official language minority communities and to promote official languages.

a) Will your institution take part in the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act?

b) If yes, please describe the activities planned.

c) Please identify the expected results.

 

While ACOA has not identified a specific activity or initiative for the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act, projects are being considered. Within its range of grants and contributions programming, the Agency has the ability to fund such projects to support the development of OLMCs and to promote official languages for the 50th anniversary.

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