Summary of the Evaluation of Interdepartmental Coordination (in relation to section 42 of the Official Languages Act) 2013-14 to 2017-18
Evaluation Services Directorate
March 3, 2021
On this page
- List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Profile of the coordination function
- Interdepartmental coordination mechanisms
- Main OL interdepartmental coordination mechanisms by region
- Evaluation scope
- The mechanisms for coordination between IRAD and the regional section 42 coordinators were effective but could be strengthened
- Mechanisms for interdepartmental coordination in the regions were effective even if needs, challenges and areas for improvement were identified
List of acronyms and abbreviations
- Gender-based analysis plus
- British Columbia Federal Council – Official Languages Committee
- British Columbia Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages Coordinators
- Evaluation Services Directorate
- Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages Coordinators of Alberta
- Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability Directorate
- Manitoba Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages
- Official languages
- the Act
- Official Languages Act
- Official Languages Branch
- Official Languages Interdepartmental Network (Quebec)
- Official language minority communities
- Ontario Official Languages Interdepartmental Network
- Department of Canadian Heritage
- Prairie Official Languages Committee
- Quebec Federal Council – Official Languages Committee
- Saskatchewan Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages
Summary of the Evaluation of Interdepartmental Coordination in relation to section 42 of the Official Languages Act (2013-14 to 2017-18) [PDF version - 812 KB]
Profile of the coordination function
Under section 42 of the Act, the Minister of Canadian Heritage encourages and promotes interdepartmental coordination of the federal government’s commitment to:
- enhance the vitality of the English and French minorities in Canada and support their development;
- foster the full recognition and use of English and French in Canadian Society.
This mandate is given to the Interdepartmental Relations and Accountability Directorate (IRAD) and to section 42 coordinators in the 5 PCH administrative regions. Together, IRAD and the section 42 coordinators make up the PCH network of coordinators (Network 42).
Interdepartmental coordination mechanisms
Network 42 creates opportunities for dialogue and promotes the development of ties between federal institutions and official language minority communities (OLMC).
IRAD and section 42 coordinators oversee, equip and support section 41 coordinators at federal institutions, nationally and in the regions. In addition, it participates in communities of practice and coordinates or chairs a wide range of consultation mechanisms.
Main OL interdepartmental coordination mechanisms by region
The main interdepartmental coordination mechanisms in each PCH administrative region studied in the context of the evaluation and related to the Network 42 are the following. In the Western region comprised of Yukon, British Columbia and Alberta, there is the British Columbia Federal Council Official Languages Committee (BCFCOLC) and the Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages Coordinators of Alberta (INOLCA). In the Prairies and Northern region, there is the Saskatchewan Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages (SINOL) and the Manitoba Interdepartmental Network of Official Languages (MINOL). In the Ontario region, there is the Ontario Official Languages Interdepartmental Network (OOLIN). In the Quebec region, there is the Quebec Federal Council – Official Languages Committee (QFCOL). In the Atlantic region, there is the Atlantic Section 41 Network. No interdepartmental coordination mechanism was identified for the Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Yukon.
The evaluation examined the effectiveness of the interdepartmental coordination mechanisms, particularly the work done by and with PCH regional offices. The objective was to identify strengths, challenges, needs, possible improvements and the individual characteristics of interdepartmental coordination mechanisms with and within PCH regional offices.
The evaluation was guided by two questions. The first question focused on the work done within Heritage Canada, more specifically between IRAD and Section 42 coordinators. The second question focused on the work done between Heritage Canada and other federal institutions, more specifically between Section 42 coordinators and Regional section 41 coordinators.
The mechanisms for coordination between IRAD and the regional section 42 coordinators were effective but could be strengthened
Meetings help develop a sense of belonging, ensure the coordination of actions, exchanges and updates.
Most section 42 coordinators and IRAD members indicated that they were satisfied with Network 42.
The frequency of face-to-face meetings was stable, and the participation rate was high:
- 82% for meetings via teleconference or WebEx;
- 100% for face-to-face meetings;
- During the interviews, most section 42 coordinators indicated satisfaction with the resumption of bilateral meetings between the IRAD and section 42 coordinators (2018).
Challenges, needs and areas for improvement
Asymmetry and variations in the coordination function from one region to another:
- Roles and responsibilities of section 42 coordinators;
- Time and resources dedicated to coordination;
- Structure of interdepartmental coordination mechanisms;
- Context and challenges specific to each region.
Limited influence of section 42 coordinators:
- Mainly program officers who assume the coordination role part-time and who must rely on support from PCH senior management to raise awareness and mobilize federal institutions.
Better tell the story of interdepartmental coordination:
- Better disseminate results and impacts of activities.
Need to increase proactive sharing of information between headquarter and the regions.
Develop tools for section 42 coordinators in their interdepartmental coordination work.
Need to strengthen training for section 42 coordinators:
- More formal and systematic approach would better support and equip them.
Mechanisms for interdepartmental coordination in the regions were effective even if needs, challenges and areas for improvement were identified
Generally seen as good platforms for sharing information and best practices; help to encourage members to organize or take part in other activities or events related to official languages.
A survey of regional section 41 coordinators showed that respondents were satisfied with the interdepartmental coordination:
- 69% agreed that these interdepartmental coordination mechanisms in the regions were effective;
- 75% agreed that the interdepartmental coordination mechanism in their region fostered collaboration among federal institutions to implement the commitments set out in section 41 of the Act;
- 70% agreed that the interdepartmental coordination mechanism in their region made it easier to establish ties between federal institutions and OLMC at the provincial/territorial level;
- 88% said that their needs were considered by the interdepartmental coordination mechanism in their region.
Challenges, needs and areas for improvement
The potential for interdepartmental coordination is constrained by:
- A lack of support, commitment and awareness among senior management at some federal institutions regarding Part VII of the Act;
- A high turnover rate among section 41 coordinators as well as a lack of communication and information sharing between national and regional section 41 coordinators at some federal institutions;
- A lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of section 41 coordinators at some federal institutions;
- Have more tools related to Part VII of the Act to be able to share them with the regional section 41 coordinators. Up-to-date tools providing concrete examples and adapted to the reality of each region.
The evaluation recommends that the Assistant Deputy Minister, Official Languages, Heritage and Region:
- Implement concrete actions to strengthen interdepartmental coordination in the regions and to increase awareness among regional senior management of federal institutions about their roles and responsibilities regarding Part VII of the Act.
- Conduct an exercise to develop measurable expected results to better tell the story of the results of the work carried out by Network 42 members and to show their impact over the years.
- Equip and provide training to section 42 coordinators to better support them in their work.
©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2021
Catalogue number: CH14-52/2-2021E-PDF
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