Review on Official Languages 2019-2020

2019-2020 achievements for the implementation of section 41

Part VII of the Official Languages Act

Prepared by: Nafissa Dramé Dia

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Minister responsible:
The Honourable Mélanie Joly
Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Deputy Head:
Francis P. McGuire
President of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
francis.mcguire@acoa-apeca.gc.ca / Tel.: 506-851-6128

Name of the person responsible for official languages (Parts IV, V and VI of the Official Languages Act (OLA)):
Stéphane Lagacé
Vice President, Finance and Corporate Services
stephane.lagace@acoa-apeca.gc.ca / Tel.: 506-851-6438

Ginette LeBlanc
Senior Advisor of Official Languages, Employment Equity and HR Planning, Human Resources
ginette.leblanc@acoa-apeca.gc.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@acoa-apeca.gc.ca / Tel.: 506-378-1179

Nafissa Dramé Dia
Program Officer, Communities and Inclusive Growth
nafissa.dramedia@acoa-apeca.gc.ca / Tel.: 506-961-1249

General Information

Context

The Official Languages Act (the Act) requires the President of the Treasury Board to submit an annual report to Parliament on the status of programs in federal institutions relating to parts IV, V and VI. It also requires the Minister of Canadian Heritage to submit an annual report to Parliament on the implementation of Part VII (particularly section 41) of the Act by federal institutions.

The specific responsibilities of the Minister of Canadian Heritage with respect to Official Languages are currently assumed by the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

The Treasury Board Secretariat and the Department of Canadian Heritage are working together to coordinate the collection of information required to prepare our annual reports to Parliament.

Instructions

This year, your institution will not need to submit a Review for Parts IV, V and VI of the Act. However, given the mandate of your institution, as well as its positive impact on the development of official-language minority communities and/or the promotion of official languages, Canadian Heritage requires your institution to complete the Review for Part VII every year. Your duly completed review for this year must be returned electronically to: pch.portail41-gateway41.pch@canada.ca by September 18, 2020. The Treasury Board Secretariat will also use your statistical data, which will be obtained through the Position and Classification Information System as of March 31, 2020.

Federal institutions are responsible for communicating the results of their Review regarding the implementation of Part VII of the Act to the various community stakeholders (the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (info@fcfa.ca) and the Quebec Community Groups Network (info@qcgn.ca), amongst others) as well as to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages and to both Parliamentary Standing Committees on Official Languages.

Part VII of the Act

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

Tangible Results

All federal institutions must answer these 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.

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?

  1. Please describe these initiatives.
  2. What are the tangible results of these initiatives on/in the official language minority communities?
  3. What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

ACOA collaborates with its clients to contribute to the development of official language minority communities (OLMCs) throughout the Atlantic region by financing several high impact projects. Hereafter are two examples:

  1. In Prince Edward Island, 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 FRDC is co-chaired by the Vice-President of ACOA’s regional office in Prince Edward Island and the President of the Collège de l’Île. 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 Education and Lifelong Learning, including Skills PEI), and the OLMC (RDÉE Î.-P.-É., Collège Acadie Î.-P.-É., and the Société Saint-Thomas-d’Aquin).

    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 Prince Edward Island by promoting the Acadian and francophone lens or perspectives when developing or modifying new 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 the Acadian and francophone population of Prince Edward Island. 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 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 the Island’s francophone and Acadian communities. The project was supported under the Economic Development Initiative (EDI) (ACOA contribution $7,000).

  2. NB Association of CBDCs – Support the development and delivery of the New Brunswick Business Growth Summit 2019.

    The project supported the development and delivery of the New Brunswick Business Growth Summit 2019 series held in six locations across NB (Bathurst, Edmundston, Saint John, Caraquet, Fredericton and Moncton) and was supported by the Agency with assistance of $350,000 ($171,467 from the EDI). It was organized by the New Brunswick Association of CBDCs, which supports businesses, enables connections, promotes awareness and provides businesses with opportunities to network and share tools they need to overcome challenges and barriers to growth. Enabling access to essential skills advances automation, leading to increased productivity and connections necessary to compete on the global stage. The event raised awareness and encouraged actions around the key drivers for business growth. This initiative was supported and co-led by federal, provincial and local partners, providing simplified access to the key information and support that SMEs need to thrive. From the outset, the emphasis was on creating one single event that encompasses both the federal and provincial governments to meet the companies’ needs so to better support them in their growth journey.

    Information sessions on the following themes were delivered by experts during the event and addressed many of the challenges SMEs are facing while trying to pursue growth: 1) Advanced Manufacturing and Digitization: Using automation to address labour-market challenges and integrating new technology into manufacturing and business processes is critical for the development and production of value-added products, scale-up operations, and the pursuit of new export opportunities. 2) Sales, Market, Expansion and Export: Atlantic Canadian markets are relatively small, which implies that in order to grow their business, SMEs have to start expanding their markets and exporting sooner than their counterparts in other regions or countries. Exporters who are knowledgeable and prepared save time and money by decreasing the risks associated with exporting, which involves a higher degree of risk compared to domestic sales. 3) Product Innovation: Atlantic Canadian companies that innovate with speed and precision will thrive. Innovation is vital to Atlantic Canada’s prosperity and a key priority at ACOA. 4) Productivity: Consistency in quality is increasingly sought after and customers require system indicators to ensure consistency. Increasing production costs are among the factors that stimulate businesses to react and implement waste elimination processes. 5) Human Resources, Talent and Immigration: Labour shortages can prevent companies from expanding or force them to cut back on products and services. The changing demand for skills and the need to improve workforce utilization have been identified as needs among NB SMEs that prevent them from pursuing growth. In order to make informed decisions regarding human resource challenges while making full use of the region's existing workforce, it is important to equip SMEs and stakeholders with the tools necessary to plan and execute.

    During each summit, 16 Knowledge Forums were offered and divided into four major themes: talent, productivity, innovation and sales. All panelists/presenters were geared toward highlighting solutions to help those core areas and to promote investments in best practices by sparking new ideas. In total, 56 panelists provided Knowledge Forum presentations. A total of 177 companies along with 254 attendees were registered for the growth series, with an average of 42 business owners and leader-managers attending each summit.

  3. La Coopérative d’intégration francophone de l’Île-du-Prince-Edouard Ltée (CIF) - Support the consolidation of Francophone immigration services.

    La Coopérative d'intégration francophone (CIF) proposes to consolidate all Francophone immigration services in PEI within one organization over the next 12 months. It will establish the Centre d'aide au nouveaux arrivants (CANA), which will combine the immigration support services of CIF and RDÉE Î.-P.-É. inc. into a single one-stop-shop for Francophone newcomers and employers.

    CIF is an organization that provides services to the community to aid in the immigration and integration of Francophones from within Canada and abroad. Some of these services for newcomers include: pre-departure preparation; welcome and orientation; social, educational, and cultural integration; and advice, referrals, and support. Some services are offered in co-operation with RDÉE Î-P.-É. for employment and investment services. The typical newcomer clientele of CIF includes: permanent residents; families and refugees (sponsored by the government and private sector); holders of temporary work permits; participants in the working holiday program; and international students.

    CIF is also involved in promoting and financially supporting various community activities and initiatives carried out in French. These activities include: education and awareness activities; initiatives that represent CIF's vision; mission and mandate; and support to teachers and auxiliary staff for educational and extracurricular .activities.

    At present, immigration services to the Francophone community are disjointed and can be confusing to the newcomer and employers, as these services are currently split between the RDÉE and La Cooperative integration francophone de l’Île (CIF). RDÉE provides business establishment services to newcomers and/or assistance with employment searches, while CIF provides newcomer orientation and community integration services to Francophones. The two organizations (and their Boards) have agreed to transfer responsibility of these services under a single new entity (CANA) to simplify program and service delivery for Francophone newcomers, allowing more inclusive and comprehensive Francophone immigration services for both employers and immigrants.

If your institution had 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)

  1. Please describe these initiatives
  2. What are the tangible results of these initiatives in Canadian society?
  3. What do you think is the determining factor for the success of these initiatives?

Projects promoting English and French in Canadian society are well represented among ACOA activities your text here:

  1. In Newfoundland and Labrador, ACOA provided $58,655 under the EDI to Réseau de Développement Économique et d’Employabilité de Terre-Neuve et Labrador (RDÉE TNL) to produce a French-language tourism guide for Newfoundland and Labrador and to enhance its tourism website (www.exploretnl.ca) to meet market demand.

    The tourism 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.

    One of the key determining factors for success is RDÉE TNL’s partnership with the Provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, through which the tourism guide is distributed free of charge via the provincial Visitor Information Centres. This collaboration is critical to the project’s success.

  2. ACOA invested $51,630 in La Co-operative Radio Richmond Limitée (also known on air as CITU 104FM) to replace the current suite of aging and failing radio equipment with leading-edge digital technologies – recording, production and broadcasting equipment.

    La Co-operative Radio Richmond Limitée was created in 2000 to support the advancement of the French language by creating and broadcasting artistic, cultural and community events. The community radio station also broadcasts English content to a listening audience that spans from Johnstown, Richmond County to Larry’s River, Guysborough County. The tangible results of this project will be the ongoing delivery and promotion of radio programming in both of Canada’s official languages to rural communities in Richmond and Guysborough counties and beyond.

    The digital equipment upgrade will improve overall operational efficiency, improve broadcast quality, support continued programming, and hopefully increase market potential. The determining factor for success will be ongoing support from the local communities for the radio station.

  3. ACOA approved a contribution of $84,675 to assist the Municipality of Clare to engage expertise to assist them to develop strategic infrastructure development plans for five tourism sites located within the municipality. The exercise will also include re-examining the municipality’s signage design and branding. The sites in question are Parc Joseph-et-Marie-Dugas, Clare Veterans Centre, Cape Saint Mary Lighthouse Park, Mavillette Beach Provincial Park and Smugglers Cove Provincial Park.

    The Municipality of Clare is the largest Acadian region in Nova Scotia and it will co-host, along with the Municipality of Argyle, the seventh World Acadian Congress in 2024. The theme of the 2024 congress is Venez vivre votre Acadie (Come Experience Your Acadia). Up to 100,000 participants from Canada, the USA and beyond are expected for the event.

    The Municipality of Clare is one of the few municipalities in Nova Scotia that offers bilingual services and the only one that holds its regular council meetings in French. This project represents some of the initial preparations needed to welcome visitors and participants for the upcoming Congress. It will be crucial to the success of the Congress, as it is for tourism in general in the Municipality of Clare, that visitors are able to experience the region and its culture in both of Canada’s official languages.

    The Municipality of Clare is a very inclusive community and its economy benefits greatly from the tourism industry. The determining factors for the success of this initiative will be the development of strategic infrastructure plans that will maximize the tourism potential of each site. The branding and signage exercise, in addition to needing to produce something unique and reflective of the region, will need to inform and educate visitors equally in both official languages.

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

In terms of regional impact, ACOA has some key achievements to share.

  1. The Agency supported Commission du Tourisme acadien du Canada atlantique’s (CTACA) product development and marketing efforts with $496,020 under Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI). Established in 2001, the CTACA is a non-profit organization with representation from private-sector Acadian tourism operators in three of the four Atlantic Provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. It was formed to bring together tourism industry stakeholders offering an Acadian product with the goal of creating, establishing and growing a uniquely Atlantic Acadian tourism product. Its mandate and mission is to develop and market experiential travel products contributing to the tourism brand known as "Experience Acadie." This project will implement key activities included in the CTACA's operational plan, which includes product development and marketing to support the Acadian tourism brand "Experience Acadie." This project should ultimately increase visibility, knowledge and notoriety of Acadian destinations in Quebec, Ontario, the New England States and Louisiana, which will be measured through social media and website tracking.

    The project supports the CTACA's mandate to develop and market experiential Acadian travel products, supporting the tourism operators and ecosystem in the Acadian regions. The CTACA represents six clusters in the Maritime provinces, which now include: 1. Acadie of the Land and Forests (northwest NB); 2. The Acadian Peninsula and Chaleur Bay (northeast NB); 3. Cultural Coast of New Brunswick (southeast  NB); 4. Evangeline Region (PEI); 5. L’Acadie du Cape Breton Island (Chéticamp, Louisbourg, Isle Madame, NS); 6. Yarmouth and Acadian Shores (southwest NS).

    According to the Atlantic Growth Strategy (AGS), tourism contributes more than $5 billion annually to the Atlantic Canadian economy, which is why it is one of the key priority pillars of the Strategy. Through the AGS, ACOA and the provinces have been able to develop a strategic and collaborative approach to tourism marketing, product development, training and capacity-building initiatives with national and provincial programs/priorities to increase industry's reach into international markets and improve industry's knowledge, professionalism and overall performance. A pan-Atlantic collaborative approach is being encouraged more than ever, which this project will support. The implementation of the project will contribute to the cultural development of the OLMCs in Atlantic Canada, as well as the continued promotion and use of the French language in Canadian society.

  2. In order to enhance service to the francophone community, ACOA PEI & Tourism maintains 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. Holding hours at the RAC also 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 PEI, funds the operations of the RAC model in Wellington to service the Francophone community. Because of this partnership and support, one of five annual investments for 2019 from the Province’s Ignition Fund (aimed at supporting start-ups in PEI), was allocated to the francophone community. This initiative was supported under the EDI (ACOA contribution $27,682).

50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2019

The 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act in 2019 was a unique opportunity for federal institutions to contribute to the development of official language minority communities and to promote official languages. Did your institution take part in the 50th anniversary of the Official Languages Act?

  1. If yes, please describe the activities.
  2. Please identify the results.

Although you may have previously provided information to PCH during the year, it is important that we have text approved by senior management for possible use in the 2019-20 Annual Report on Official Languages.

  1. ACOA approved a contribution of $25,000 to assist the Conseil de développement économique de la Nouvelle-Écosse toward the costs of hosting an economic summit in Halifax on September 11, 2019. The summit focused on current topics such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, circular economy, immigration and tourism. At ACOA’s insistence, the summit also included a session to mark the 50th anniversary of Canada’s Official Languages Act. A presentation was given by the Commissioner of Official Languages Representative for Atlantic Canada (Mylène Thériault), followed by a discussion with the approximately 70 people in attendance.

    The discussions were mostly centred around Ottawa’s commitment to review and revise the Official Languages Act and take into consideration the many changes in society and technology since its adoption 50 years ago.

    This session served to raise awareness of the importance of the Official Languages Act in our daily lives, and in particular, of its importance to the protection of OLMCs in rural Canada.

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