Summary of Evaluation of the Official Languages Support Programs - 2013-2014 to 2016-2017

The Official Languages Support Programs (OLSPs) represent the most important federal initiative in official languages. It’s funding is $349 Million annually and is divided as follows:

  • $231 Million or 66 percent for the Development of Official-Language Communities
  • $117 Million or 34 percent for the Enhancement of Official Languages.

Under these two streams are the four following components:

  1. Community Life that has a funding envelope of $53 Million or 15.3 percent;
  2. Minority-Language Education; and
  3. Second-Language Learning which combined have a funding envelope of $278 Million or 79.8 percent of the budget; and
  4. Linguistic Duality that has a funding envelope of $4.2 Million or 1.2 percent of the funding.

The department of Canadian Heritage administers the different components of the OLSPs whereby all the provinces and territories participate as well as a panoply of community and non-profit organizations.


What is working well: The OLSPs are aligned with government priorities: the activities of the OLSPs are aligned with federal priorities and PCH strategic outcomes.

The OLSPs are aligned with federal roles and responsibilities: The OLSPs reflect Canada’s obligation with respect to Part VII of Article 41 in the Official Languages Act.

The OLSPs continue to be responsive to needs: Canadians have a generally favorable perception of linguistic duality and this has grown over the last decade, even if the level of bilingualism within the general population has remained low.

Temporal evolution of Canadian’s perceptions of official languages

The chart below indicates the level of agreement of Canadians that official languages are an important part of Canadian identity, on a scale of 0 to 10, over the last decade.

Respondents 2005 2012 2016









Source: Canadian Heritage (2016). Comparative analysis of trends in Canadian public opinion on Official Languages. Gatineau, p. 9.

There is a slight upward trend for Francophone respondents, the same trend was observed for Anglophone respondents but lower than for Francophones.

Ability to hold a conversation in the two official languages within the linguistic majority

By provinces and territories and their corresponding percentages.
Source: Statistics Canada. Population Census (2011).

  • Newfoundland and Labrador (4 percent);
  • Prince Edward Island (10 percent);
  • New Brunswick (7 percent);
  • Quebec (40 percent);
  • Ontario (8 percent);
  • Manitoba (6 percent);
  • Saskatchewan (3 percent);
  • Alberta (5 percent);
  • British Columbia (6 percent);
  • Yukon (10 percent);
  • Northwest Territories (7 percent); and
  • Nunavut (3 percent).

Challenges: Nevertheless, there are challenges for English-speaking communities of Quebec. There is a decrease of 5.1 percent in the number of primary and secondary school English-speaking students. In comparison with Francophone communities in a minority situation, English-speaking communities of Quebec possess a relatively less developed community network.

Recommendation: take appropriate measures to maximize the OLSP’s contribution to support the vitality and development of Quebec’s English-speaking communities.

Effectiveness - Development of Official Language Communities

“Minority-Language Education” component

What is working well: This component supports the provision of programs and activities of the provinces and territories allowing OLMCs access to their respective scholastic network, an important pillar upon which their continued existence rests.

Challenges: The Francophone and Anglophone OLMCS are faced with different challenges and have different needs:

  • English-speaking OLMCs: challenges in terms of decreasing numbers (‐ 5.1 percent in the number of students; ‐ 1.3 percent overall)
  • Francophone OLMCs: challenges in terms of growth (+ 3.8 percent in the number of students; ‐ 0.3 percent overall)

“Community Life” component

What is working well: This component allows partners to work together (government and community organizations) in order to contribute to the provision to OLMCs access to services and community infrastructure that they need to develop and to be vital, but cannot accommodate all needs.

Challenges: Many organizations are greatly dependent upon OLSPs in order to operate, the funds allocated to organizations has remained stable since 2014.

The system of allocation tends to support existing organizations, and yet it is difficult for a new organization to add itself to the institutional network if it depends on OLSPs to get there.

Recommendation: take the necessary steps to maximize the contribution of funding offered under the Cooperation with the Community Sector sub‐component along with the community sector for the development and vitality of OLMCs (while taking into account other sources of funding as well as the priorities of the OLMCs).

Effectiveness - Enhancement of Official Languages

“Second-Language Learning” component

What is working well: The activities funded by this component allow the provinces and territories to implement their plan for second-language learning.

Note: On the French immersion side, the number of registered students has increased more than 10 percent, the demand is greater than the existing capacity.

Challenges: The number of Anglophone students outside of Quebec registered in second-language programs has decreased by 4 percent.

”Promotion of Linguistic Duality” component

The relevance and performance of this component is mitigated:

What is working well: This component allows organizations to undertake activities to encourage youth to become familiar with and to improve their second language skills in a very specific way by reducing the associated costs of interpretation or translation.

Challenges: The sub‐component of Promotion of Bilingual Services, is not contributing in a conclusive way to the outcomes associated with this component; its restricted annual budget, a small number of funded projects, as well as the extent to which these projects contribute to the promotion of bilingual services remains tenuous.

Recommendation: clarify the anticipated outcomes of the Promotion of Linguistic Duality component so that the specific impact of this component may be demonstrated.

Effectiveness ‐ Long term impacts of OLSPs

The Ultimate Results of the OLSPs are:

  • The viability of OLMCs in Canada;
  • Canadians share, express and value their Canadian identity; and
  • A diversified society that encourages linguistic duality and social inclusion.

Challenges: Limited use of the Performance Measurement Strategy (PMS) led to challenges in measuring these results.

Recommendations: Revise and support the implementation of the PMS and undertake a targeted impact study of the OLSPs.


Challenges in meeting the Departmental service standard with respect to notification of decision in which the departmental target is 80%.

The following are the sub-components of the OLSPs, subject to a service standard as well as their percentages achieved in terms of service standards for the three fiscal years from 2013-2014 to 2015-2016.

Standards 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016

Community Collaboration




Community Cultural Action Fund




Strategic Funding




Cooperation with the non-government sector (ML)




Appreciation & Rapprochement




Support for Interpretation & Translation




Promotion of Bilingual Services




Cooperation with the non-government sector (SL)




Source: OLSP administrative data from the GCIMS system, exported to an Excel database and approved by the Centre of Expertise.

The Community Cultural Action Fund made the 80 percent target in 2013-2014, Strategic Funding made the target in 2014-2015, Support for Interpretation & Translation achieved the target in 2015-2016 as well as Promotion of Bilingual Services in both 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

Recommendation: Put the necessary measures in place to achieve the Department’s service standard objectives and to improve services provided to recipients.

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